Kershaw comfortable with spring progress

Dodgers' ace goes five solid innings vs. White Sox

Kershaw comfortable with spring progress

PHOENIX -- It was just coincidence that after facing the Chicago White Sox, of all teams, on Saturday, Clayton Kershaw brought his child into the clubhouse.

No controversy here. With cute 1-year-old Cali in his arms on Family Day, Kershaw discussed his five solid innings in a 4-2 win, during which his four strikeouts and no walks were more indicative than the two runs charged to him.

"I felt better today than when I pitched against Colorado," Kershaw said, comparing to his five scoreless innings in his previous start. "More than anything, I was able to make better pitches today. At one point or another, I used all of my pitches effectively, but not at the same time. I gave up few hard hits and some bloopers found holes. Overall, I feel like I'm on a decent progression."

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One highlight was a first-inning duel between Kershaw and Chicago slugger Jose Abreu, an 11-pitch marathon that ended with a sharp ground out to first base.

"That was pretty impressive," Kershaw said. "We don't get to see him a lot. I don't know if he's under the radar, but he's one of the top five or 10 best hitters in the game. I made some pretty quality pitches he was able to foul off. That base hit the next at-bat, that ball was pretty much on his hands and he had no problem getting inside of it. Just a really impressive at-bat by him."

While the game focus was on the featured matchup of Kershaw and White Sox starter Chris Sale, reliever Louis Coleman followed Kershaw with another perfect inning in his longshot bid to make the Dodgers' bullpen.

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Coleman, signed at the start of Spring Training, has been close to perfect since then, with six scoreless innings, nine strikeouts and no walks.

He doesn't throw as hard as Pedro Baez or Yimi Garcia, but he's en route to wresting somebody's relief job because of his funky delivery, and the fact that he's out of options and would likely be claimed by another club if the Dodgers tried to send him to the Minor Leagues.

Coleman, who will be 30 years old on Opening Day, steps toward third base as he brings his throwing arm across his body in a delivery that manager Dave Roberts said, "is a bad visual for right-handed hitters and even for the lefty with the angle the ball is coming in from.

"You stand in on a guy during bullpens, it's a bad visual. He's getting swings and misses and missing barrels, so his goal was to come in here and open eyes and be productive and that's what Louis is doing. Right-handed hitter, the ball seems to be coming from behind you. And lefties are not used to seeing the ball come from third base."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.