PEORIA, Ariz. — Clayton Kershaw‘s spring debut was quick and efficient.
“I felt good. It’s good to get back out there,” Kershaw said. “I felt better doing this one than I did in bullpens or stuff like that. With the crowd, facing a different team, it helps a little bit. Glad to get back out there. Even though it was just one inning, it felt good to get back out there.”
Kershaw was pitching for the first time since a four-inning relief stint in the Dodgers’ 5-1 loss to the Houston Astros in Game 7 of the World Series on Nov. 1.
The lefty, who will turn 30 during spring training, went 18-4 with a 2.31 ERA in the regular season and then 3-1 in his five postseason starts. He was the Game 1 winner in the World Series, but he blew a four-run lead and didn’t make it out of the fifth inning of Game 5, which the Astros won 13-12 in 10 innings.
Even before his bullpen session on the first official day of workouts, Kershaw had already been tabbed by manager Dave Roberts to make his Dodgers-record eighth start on opening day.
“Very positive for Clayton,” Roberts said. “Fastball command good; threw some strike curveballs, which was good to see. Everything he wanted out of this outing, he got.”
Kershaw said pitching coach Rick Honeycutt likes to add on an inning in the bullpen after spring starts.
“It seems like a good segue into your next start,” said Kershaw, who has won the National League Cy Young Award three times as well as the NL MVP Award in 2014.
The Mariners won 2-0.
Also Sunday, the Seager brothers, Corey and Kyle, faced each other for the first time in their big league careers. Corey was the Dodgers’ designated hitter, while Kyle, who at 30 is seven years older, played third base for the Mariners.
“It’s really cool,” Corey Seager said. “It’s hard to think about just because it’s him. You’ve been around him all your life, watched him play a ton. It’s still weird. You still kind of feel like a fan in the stands watching, even though you’re in the dugout. It’s a really cool moment.”
When the lefty-hitting Corey Seager batted in the first inning, the Mariners put on a shift, opening a big hole at third.
Asked if he thought about dropping in a bunt or something past his brother, he said: “You’ve got to save your free knocks during the year, right, when they count. You catch them off guard when they count, not now.”
Corey Seager said it has been “bad timing, I guess” that the brothers hadn’t faced each other in spring training before, usually because one of them had the day off when their teams played.
This was the only time the teams will play each other this spring.
The Mariners and Dodgers last played in the regular season in April 2015. Corey Seager made his big league debut Sept. 3 that year.
The Dodgers will play at the Mariners Aug. 17-19.
Corey Seager, the 2016 NL Rookie of the Year, said the siblings’ parents weren’t able to come out from North Carolina for this game, but they will for the series in Seattle.
“That one’s already on the schedule. They’ll make it out for that one, for sure,” he said. “There will be a lot of people there, actually, probably.”
Kyle Seager, who made his big league debut in July 2011, said this was the second time he saw his younger brother play since Corey was 11. The other time was when the Dodgers were in the World Series this past fall.
Corey Seager said he still considers his older brother a role model.
“I still ask him for help, I still ask him about things,” he said. “I don’t think I really ever will stop asking him. He always will be and still is.”
Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa admits he didn’t know extra-inning rule
Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa is under the microscope again.
Hendriks had double-switched into the game in the bottom of the ninth inning, taking the No. 5 spot in the batting order, which made the last out in the top of the frame. Per MLB rules, as extra innings begin, the spot in the order to make the last out in the previous inning becomes the baserunner at second base. However, if that spot is occupied by a pitcher, the team has the option to use the preceding player in the batting order as the runner. In this case, it would have been Jose Abreu.
“I didn’t know that,” La Russa said after the 1-0 loss. “We all thought Liam was going to be the runner. I wasn’t aware Abreu could have run. I thought it was the guy that made the last out or the spot in that order.”
Besides the obvious injury risk to a player who has run the bases once in his entire career, the choice to run Hendriks impacted the inning. While he was on third base with one out, Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart didn’t hesitate to throw to second base to nail Leury Garcia, who was trying to steal — despite the potential winning run at third. Barnhart knew Hendriks likely wasn’t going to go home on a double-steal attempt.
“[Garcia] can run,” La Russa said. “We wanted to be aggressive. They threw him out.”
Even in talking out the White Sox strategy, the team was concerned with Hendriks’ safety. La Russa said he was hoping for an easy sacrifice fly or another way for Hendriks to score that wasn’t stressful. It didn’t matter after Billy Hamilton struck out to end the inning.
“We were going to try and avoid any kind of contact at home plate,” La Russa said.
La Russa admitted he wasn’t aware of the rule until hearing it read by a reporter in the postgame Zoom session.
“I’m guessing you know the rules better,” he said. “Now I know.”
The White Sox named La Russa their manager in October.
Joey Votto of Cincinnati Reds suffers broken left thumb after being hit by pitch
Votto is not expected to need surgery but could miss up to a month.
Kyle Farmer is among the options at first.
“We’ll figure it out,” manager David Bell said.
Votto was hit by a Dallas Keuchel pitch in the fourth inning. He remained in the game, but in the sixth was replaced at first base by Farmer.
“I knew I was in pain,” Votto said after the game, according to MLB.com. “I thought I was being a baby. I just wanted to stay in the game, but I didn’t think I could grip the bat and I was having a hard time putting my glove on. I could run and I was moving well, and I thought, ‘Just give it some time, it should shake at some point. Maybe it’s just one of those [where] your thumb gets jammed in a door or something like that and it just goes away.’ It broke, what are you going to do?”
Keuchel expressed regret.
“It’s a joy to pitch against him,” Keuchel said. “You never want that to happen. I wish him well.”
Votto is hitting .226 with five home runs and 17 RBIs.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
Longtime Baltimore Orioles pitching coach Ray Miller dies at 76
“His legacy will forever be enshrined in our organization’s history, having guided some of the greatest Orioles pitchers,” the team said in a statement. “… We send our deepest condolences to his beloved family and his many fans throughout our great game.”
Miller served three stints as a coach with the Orioles, including two seasons as manager in 1998 and 1999, when he compiled a 157-167 record. He also served as manager of the Twins during parts of the 1985 and ’86 seasons, going 109-130.
The Orioles listed Jim Palmer, Mike Flanagan, Scott McGregor, Steve Stone and Mike Boddicker as just some of the pitchers Miller coached during his time with the team, which included the 1983 World Series title and the 1979 American League pennant.
He also served as pitching coach of the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1987 to 1996.
“Ray Miller was a beloved member of the Pirates organization for 10 seasons whose passion and dedicated played an instrumental role in the team’s three straight postseason appearances from 1990-92,” the Pirates said in a statement. “He was respected not only as a pitching coach by players in the Pirates organization, but also throughout the entire game of baseball.”
He was enshrined in the Orioles Hall of Fame in 2010.
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