Dodgers notebook: Clayton Kershaw ready to move past back questions

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error GLENDALE, Ariz. >> Clayton Kershaw’s back no longer pains him. Questions about his back, however, do.“Yeah, all good,” he said dismissively Saturday when the inevitable question came up after his first outing of the spring.Kershaw threw 12 pitches to retire the three batters he faced, striking out one of the Chicago White Sox, then he went to the bullpen to throw the equivalent of another inning.“It was OK,” Kershaw said of his day’s work. “Fastball command wasn’t as good as I wanted it. That’s probably the most important thing first time out, getting your fastball command to be what you want it to be. Everything else kind of works off that. “I got behind every batter today but the results were OK. I got three outs. I’ll take it for today and get ready for the next one.”Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has also been dismissive about any lingering effects from Kershaw’s back injury last season. There has been nothing this spring to reminder anyone of the 75 days he spent on the DL.“No. Clayton and I and the training staff communicated all winter so there’s no surprise for us where he’s at now,” Roberts said. “ If we didn’t know his history of last year, we wouldn’t think anything of it. He looks great. He obviously adjusted some of his offseason workouts but he looks great.”History is not something Kershaw gives much weight. With Hall of Fame credentials already building, he comes to spring training with the same mindset every year.“I never want to take for granted it’ll be there when the season starts,” he said Saturday. “So when something doesn’t work in spring I’m going to stress out about it and worry about it until I fix it. I’m not going to say, ‘Oh, I’ll figure it out at some point’ even though that might be the case. I feel like I have to harp on it and stress on it until I get it where I want it to be.center_img “Sometimes it doesn’t happen in spring but most of the time I feel pretty good coming out of it. I feel like I’m on the right track so far.”Top manNewly-acquired second baseman Logan Forsythe took the Dodgers’ first at-bat of the spring, batting leadoff in their Cactus League opener on Saturday. Roberts mentioned Andrew Toles and Andre Ethier as left-handed options to bat leadoff but said he does like Forsythe at the top of the order.“I do. Throughout his career, he’s got a DNA of getting on base,” Roberts said of Forsythe, who had a .333 on-base percentage as the Tampa Bay Rays’ primary leadoff hitter last season. “I’ve known Logan for a long time and vs. right, vs. left he conducts an at-bat, he gets on base. So I like him up there somewhere at the top. And also his ability to run the bases, go first to third and things like that.”To make sure he’ll be able to do “things like that” all year long, Forsythe received an injection of Synvisc in his left knee earlier this week. Synvisc is a lubricating fluid that supplements the fluids in joints affected by arthritis or cartilage deterioration.The treatment is not uncommon. Third baseman Justin Turner (who had microfracture surgery on his left knee following the 2015 season) also gets them and right-hander Zack Greinke got the lubricating injections in his pitching elbow during his days with the Dodgers.“It’s just precautionary,” said the 30-year-old Forsythe who had surgery on that knee in high school. “I asked (the Dodgers’ medical staff) if there was anything I could do to stay ahead of it.”Forsythe spent the past three years playing on the hard surface of Tropicana Field. Even though he was an infielder “it’s still a concrete slab right underneath (the dirt) and with all the defensive shifts we used I spent more time on the turf than you’d think.”He said his knee would “act up” occasionally “but I never missed a game because of it.”last_img read more

Guardiola warns defeat against Liverpool will mean title race is ‘over’ for City

first_imgThe former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss added: “We won a lot of games but unfortunately we lost two and we have a rival (Liverpool) who at the moment is the best team in Europe, or in the world.“That’s why it’s a challenge for us next Thursday, to try and win and sustain this position as far as possible to arrive at the end of the season fighting for the title.”– ‘Know what we have to do‘ –City may again be without Kevin de Bruyne against Liverpool because of the influential playmaker’s muscle problem, but Guardiola rejected suggestions that a defeat of Southampton had sent a message to Jurgen Klopp’s Liverppol side.“We’re not here to send a message,” he said. “Liverpool know what they have to do, we know what we have to do next Thursday. I know the distance is big, seven points, especially because they’re so solid and consistent, but we’re at home.“Hopefully our people at the Etihad can help, they can support us. Not just for the game, but these players deserve it. What they have done in the last 14 or 15 months, how they defend this club, is incredible, it’s massive,” Guardiola added.Southampton had hoped to contain City and to an extent it worked, as Hojbjerg robbed Oleksandr Zinchenko before equalising.But Ward-Prowse’s unlucky deflection of Raheem Sterling’s shot between goalkeeper Alex McCarthy and the near post and Aguero’s unchallenged header from Zinchenko’s cross effectively settled the match before the interval.“First 20 minutes we had no chance, they were very dominating,” Saints manager Ralph Hasenhuttl said. “But suddenly you saw that they are not perfect.“They take a lot of risks and if we are sharp we can maybe win the ball and score and we did, a fantastic goal by Pierre. That gave us the hope that we can spring a sensation.“But two horrible mistakes before the break and we gave it away in a way that was too easy. That changed everything.”Share on: WhatsApp Southampton, United Kingdom | AFP | Pep Guardiola has warned his Manchester City side a failure to beat Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday will effectively mean their title challenge is “over”.Reigning champions City revived their bid to retain the Premier League trophy with a 3-1 win away to Southampton on Sunday that followed shock defeats by Crystal Palace and Leicester.Victory at St Mary’s, however, still left City seven points behind leaders Liverpool and for a while it seemed Guardiola’s side might drop more points on the south coast.David Silva put City ahead after 10 minutes but they then squandered several chances and gifted Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg a 37th-minute equaliser.But the uncertainty that crept into City’s play was ended by a James Ward-Prowse own goal and a Sergio Aguero header just before half-time that left City 3-1 up.Saints’ frustrations boiled over with a red card for Hojbjerg after a wild challenge on Fernandinho late in the game.“We knew it, that with the position of Liverpool, if we drop points then it is over, it (the title race is finished,” Guardiola said.“It would be almost impossible. Of course they are going to drop points but not too many. If you want to be there as far as possible until the end we have to remember what happened last season and this as well –- apart from the last few days,” the City manager added.Guardiola was adamant he had not lost confidence in his side, despite the Palace and Leicester reverses.“How can I doubt them?,” he said. “Football is like this. We make 30 exceptional minutes again, especially without the ball, we create chances to go 2-0 or 3-0, we concede one goal.“Against Crystal Palace and Leicester they were happy with 1-1 and they found a second one, I always judge our intentions of the game and always our intentions are to try.”last_img read more