PHOENIX — Clayton Kershaw isn’t sure why he’s off to a rough start in spring training, but he’s not happy about it.
“Not fun to deal with,” the Los Angeles Dodgers ace said, looking glum in the clubhouse Monday after his outing against the Athletics.
Kershaw allowed five runs on two hits and three walks during Oakland’s 7-3 victory. He was unable to get an out in the third inning.
The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner gave up three runs and five hits in two innings last Wednesday in his first start of the spring. He looked strong in his first two innings Monday, retiring the A’s in order, but opened the bottom of the third with back-to-back walks to Daric Barton and Derek Norris.
Sam Fuld and Nick Punto had run-scoring hits, with another walk in between, and Kershaw’s day was done. He struck out two.
The A’s scored all seven runs in the inning and sent 12 batters to the plate.
Asked if he is concerned, Kershaw said there is always concern for him when he struggles. The left-hander signed a $215 million, seven-year contract in the offseason, the richest ever for a pitcher.
“Physically, feel great. I don’t have any excuses,” he said. “Searching for answers right now. I know it’s spring training and it doesn’t matter, but it matters to me. So I’ve got to figure it out.”
Dee Gordon drove in the Dodgers’ first two runs with a triple in the second off starter A.J. Griffin. Andre Ethier added two hits and an RBI.
Los Angeles committed four errors and walked nine.
“It was one of those games you like to forget,” manager Don Mattingly said. “It tells you that we’re not ready, so we’ve got to keep on working. Just tells us we’re not there yet.”
Dodgers: Kershaw was relatively short with the media after his outing and clearly is unhappy with how his spring has gone so far. He said even his bullpen sessions haven’t been up to his standard.
“I don’t believe you come in to get ready. You’re supposed to be ready every time you pitch,” he said. “Hopefully I’ll figure it out here pretty quick.”
Athletics: Griffin gave up two runs and four hits in two innings, striking out two.
“First time out, I thought he threw the ball well. I thought his breaking stuff was really good,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said.
Dodgers right-hander Zack Greinke won’t pitch in the team’s season-opening series against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Australia, Mattingly said. Greinke’s schedule has been thrown off by a calf injury and he won’t be ready to throw the planned 90 pitches in a game by March 22, when the Dodgers open a two-game series Down Under.
Right-hander Ross Stripling, a top prospect, left the Dodgers to return to Los Angeles for an MRI on his right elbow. He has thrown two innings in spring training games but might need major surgery for ligament damage.
Gordon is the leading contender to open the season at second base for Los Angeles should the club decide untested Alex Guerrero is not ready. Gordon helped his cause with a two-run triple in the second inning. A shortstop most of his career, the 25-year-old Gordon has long been known for his speed more than his bat. He hit .234 in 38 major league games last season and .228 in 87 games in 2012.
A’s center fielder Billy Burns, a prospect acquired in an offseason trade with Washington, drew a walk, scored a run, singled and stole a base as he pushes for a roster spot. He has five stolen bases in spring training.
Punto, a key reserve and fill-in starter for the Dodgers last season, stung his former club with a two-run single off Kershaw. Punto played third base, shortstop and second base for Los Angeles last season and started at second for Oakland on Monday.
“We got him for a reason and he’s a great fit here,” Melvin said.
The Dodgers send reliever Brian Wilson to the mound to start against Seattle on Tuesday. Wilson takes the place of Greinke. Left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu makes his second spring training start Wednesday against Cincinnati.
The A’s have split-squad games Tuesday against Milwaukee and the Chicago Cubs, with right-hander Dan Straily going against the Brewers, and left-hander Tommy Milone facing the Cubs.