Thursday, February 27, 2014

Spring Is in the Desert

PHOENIX--The Dodgers have always been a team of "firsts." The club was the first National League team to play a night game, the first team to broadcast a game on television, the first  to sign an African American and the first to make a trans-continental move to a new home.
On Wednesday, the Dodgers were the first team to play a spring training game in 2014 and they will be the first team to play a set of games in Australia later next month against Arizona.
In their exhibition game against the Diamondbacks, Clayton Kershaw, the Cy Young Award Winner and richest pitcher in baseball, got the start and threw 40 pitches in three innings. He gave up a pair of triples that led the D'Backs to a 4-1 Cactus League victory.


add Kershaw: The 25-year-old southpaw was effective, though, with his curve ball, especially his big, breaking rainbow pitch, as announcer Vin Scully likes to describe it. It remains to be seen whether Kershaw will make the long trip to Australia. It is being speculated that the Dodgers would prefer to leave him home to rest up for the opening-game of a series in San Diego. The 17-hour flight from Sydney to Los Angeles coupled with jet lag is bound to make most of the players tired.


add spring training: Even though the Dodgers and Diamondbacks are National League teams, both clubs used the designated hitter in Wednesday's opener. The general feeling before the game was that an extra bat in the lineup would benefit  everybody. Last season, the Dodgers played 36 exhibition games but this year only 19 are on the schedule. The reduced number is because of the Australia trip.

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