Spring Training Preview: Dodgers Host Royals In Split-Squad Action
Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers improved to 5-1 in Cactus League play after Clayton Kershaw, Sergio Romo and the offense carried them to a victory over the Cleveland Indians. Friday brings about one of the true aspects of Spring Training, split-squad games.

Los Angeles hosts the Kansas City Royals, with first pitch set for 12:05 p.m. PT at Camelback Ranch. Five minutes later, another Dodgers team will take the field against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Salt River Fields.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and pitching coach Rick Honeycutt are making the trip to Scottsdale, Ariz., to watch Brandon McCarthy make his 2017 debut. Bench coach Bob Geren will manage the Dodgers in their home game.

Rich Hill takes the mound for his second start, looking to build on a strong showing in his 2017 debut. The veteran southpaw spun two scoreless frames against the Milwaukee Brewers, issuing just walk, but picking off the lone baserunner allowed, and collecting two strikeouts.

After signing a three-year, $48 million deal with the Dodgers in the offseason, it solidified the return of the club’s top-three pitchers from the 2016 rotation. Hill is defying the odds with his stellar performances at the age of 36 (37 on March 11), as he staves off Father Time.

Luis Avilan, Grant Dayton, Josh Fields and Ross Stripling are among the pitchers scheduled to appear in relief against the Royals.

Kansas City sends Ian Kennedy to the bump for his spring debut. The veteran right-hander is entering his second season with the Royals. Kennedy was connected to the Dodgers in trade rumors last July, which also included Wade Davis.

Kennedy went 11-11 with a 3.68 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 184 strikeouts in 195.2 innings pitched (33 starts) last season. He faces a Dodgers lineup on Friday that features Justin Turner back at third base, Chase Utley starting at second base, and Yasmani Grandal behind the plate.

Designated hitter Franklin Gutierrez is still searching for his first hit with the Dodgers. The 34-year-old enters play 0-for-8 with five strikeouts in three games.

Dodgers lineup:

2B: Chase Utley
C: Yasmani Grandal
3B: Justin Turner
RF: Yasiel Puig
DH: Franklin Gutierrez
SS: Kiké Hernandez
CF: Brett Eibner
1B: Cody Bellinger
LF: Tyler Holt

Royals lineup:

1B: Whit Merrifield
2B: Cheslor Cuthbert
RF: Paulo Orlando
LF: Jorge Soler
DH: Peter O’Brien
C: Brayan Pena
3B: Hunter Dozier
SS: Christian Colon
CF: Bubba Starling