GLENDALE, Ariz. — The White Sox fell to 1-1 in Cactus League play after three-time Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw breezed through the first two innings and six other pitchers did the rest in a 6-1 Dodgers victory.
Outfield prospect Courtney Hawkins, the Sox’ No. 1 pick in 2012, homered deep to center field in the ninth inning against Jeremy Khert to account for the only Sox run. Hawkins was 2-for-2. The Sox were held to five hits: Hawkins’ pair and singles by Jose Abreu, Tim Anderson and Alexei Ramirez.
“You see the power he possesses, there’s not too many guys that have that kind of stuff,” Ventura said of Hawkins. “For him, it’s good for him to get up here and get some at-bats, see some pitching that he probably doesn’t see, he hasn’t seen yet. For us, you get these young kids, you give them a little taste of that.”
Kershaw’s big curve ball looked to be in midseason form as he struck out Micah Johnson, Abreu and Conor Gillaspie over two perfect innings.
Anderson, the Sox’ first-round pick in 2013, committed two errors on ground balls at shortstop.
“I think bat-wise, he’s probably further ahead than he is defensively but again he’s got good tools,” Ventura said. “So I think for him it’s always going to be something to work on and we feel he’s got the ability to work on it, because he’s got some tools.”
John Danks pitched two innings and was satisfied, allowing one run in his first start of the spring. He also got an eye full of Kershaw.
“I wish I could throw that curve ball,” Danks said.
On deck: Carlos Rodon, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 draft, gets his first start for the White Sox against the Padres in Peoria (3:05 p.m.). Rodon, the No. 15 prospect in baseball according to Baseball America, is starting in place of Chris Sale, who suffered an avulsion fracture on the lateral side of his right foot last week.
“You just want the kid to relax and go out and pitch,” Ventura said. “We know he’s got talent and it’s about him going out there. I’m sure he’s somewhat nervous, the first time you go out there and do this either in a spring training crowd or your own teammates. There are jitters to it, so you just want him to be relaxed.”
Sale, Ventura said, was able to work his arm a little bit Wednesday.
“[Sale] threw against the wall a little bit yesterday, but nothing close to even being off the mound or anything like that,” Ventura said. “Light stuff, the ball bounced back to him and things like that. I found out about it this morning. Herm’s [trainer Schneider] got him on a program. He’s kind of off my radar now until he gets a little closer.”