GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) - Clayton Kershaw is steadily working his way toward his first opening day start for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Things aren't going quite as smoothly for first baseman James Loney.
Kershaw allowed one hit and struck out three in four scoreless innings, helping the Dodgers beat the Cincinnati Reds 2-0 Saturday.
The left-hander, who will start on opening day against San Francisco, walked one in his second spring start. He gave up one run and two hits while striking out three in three innings against the Chicago White Sox on Feb. 28.
``I still need to build up my arm strength and get ready to go,' Kershaw said.
Loney missed the game to have an MRI exam on his left knee after experiencing stiffness following Friday night's game, the first injury of camp. Team doctors reviewed the MRI and said the swelling in Loney's knee should go down in the next few days.
``He says the knee feels tight,' manager Don Mattingly said. ``We'll give Loney a couple days off.'
Loney should return to hitting and throwing on Monday, and if he continues to improve as expected, he could run on Tuesday and start in a game on Wednesday.
Loney said he didn't feel any pain on Friday after the sensation first occurred during stretching on Thursday. Russell Mitchell started at first on Saturday, and Mattingly indicated he was the primary backup. Other options include Jay Gibbons, Marcus Thames and Casey Blake, who could move over from third base as he has done before.
The Dodgers' offense was minimal for the third straight game.
Matt Kemp doubled into left field in the fourth inning and Trent Oeltjen singled through the hole at shortstop in the eighth for their only runs.
The Dodgers stopped a four-game skid and won for just the third time in nine games under Mattingly.
``We threw the ball pretty good today. So did they,' Reds manager Dusty Baker said. ``One area of improvement we need to make, we need to keep the ball off the ground. We hit into three double plays and it could have been four. That's what they want you to do.'
Reds starter Bronson Arroyo gave up one hit in three innings.
``I felt a little stronger than last time. This spring it's a little different, maybe I'm a little more relaxed,' he said. ``My location with my fastball, in and out on both sides of the plate, is as good as it's ever been. Hopefully, the velocity is getting better as I'm feeling stronger.'
NL MVP Joey Votto struck out twice in two at_bats for the Reds.
NOTES: Reds RHP Edinson Volquez will travel to the Dominican Republic on Sunday to pick up his work visa and is expected back on Tuesday before making his first spring start Wednesday against San Diego. ... Dodgers LHP Hong-Chih Kuo tossed 20 pitches in a live batting practice session as part of a careful schedule to protect his troublesome elbow. ... The teams split their two meetings of the spring.
The Associated Press News Service
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