Dodgers Report: Nelson Cruz

Kershaw rises to the occasion, such as it was

March, 9, 2012
3/09/12
4:06
PM PT
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- What happens in spring training stays in spring training. Not that it's all that salacious or interesting. Just that it will mean absolutely squat once teams pack up and leave here in a few weeks, and that no one will remember any of it anyway. We know this because we have the ability to reason and think logically.

Still, there is a small part of us, the fan in us, that wants to make more out of what happened in the first three innings of the Los Angeles Dodgers' Cactus League game on Friday, a 9-0 victory over the Texas Rangers before 6,221 at Surprise Stadium.

Clayton Kershaw, the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner, made what was officially his first start of the spring -- unofficially, it was his second -- against what essentially was the everyday lineup for the Rangers, the two-time defending American League champions and one of the best offensive teams in the game.

And Kershaw basically had his way.

In becoming the first Dodgers pitcher to go three innings, Kershaw shut out the Rangers on three hits with one walk and didn't allow a runner past second base. He also made a beautiful stab of a comeback liner by Adrian Beltre, catching it an inch off the ground, and picked Nelson Cruz off first base with his characteristically deceptive move.

It might not have meant much in the proverbial grand scheme. But to the paying customers, for whom spring-training baseball is mostly a potluck venture, it was like hitting the jackpot.

"With the exception of (catcher Mike) Napoli, they had everybody in there,'' Kershaw said. "It's always good to start out against one of the best teams.''

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Yasiel Puig
BA HR RBI R
.296 16 69 92
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Gonzalez 27
RBIA. Gonzalez 116
RY. Puig 92
OPSY. Puig .863
WC. Kershaw 21
ERAC. Kershaw 1.77
SOC. Kershaw 239