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Kershaw: Koufax 'cares for us as a team'

MLB.com @kengurnick

PHOENIX -- Clayton Kershaw threw live batting practice for the first time in camp on Saturday, but Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax wasn't watching.

Kershaw, however, said the fact that Koufax is no longer special assistant to the chairman and no longer in uniform during Spring Training hasn't changed the relationship between the greatest lefty in club history and the next greatest, a friendship that bridges a 53-year age difference.

PHOENIX -- Clayton Kershaw threw live batting practice for the first time in camp on Saturday, but Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax wasn't watching.

Kershaw, however, said the fact that Koufax is no longer special assistant to the chairman and no longer in uniform during Spring Training hasn't changed the relationship between the greatest lefty in club history and the next greatest, a friendship that bridges a 53-year age difference.

"Whether or not he's officially here, he's still around," Kershaw said of Koufax, who has ended his three-year stint in the front office but visited the club on Friday. "I don't think it will change much for me. Sandy cares about us as a team, and I think he will be around when he can, and he'll watch our games."

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Kershaw, like Koufax a former MVP and multiple Cy Young Award winner, pitched two innings on Saturday to teammates -- among them Chase Utley, Howie Kendrick and Joc Pederson. But it was hard to call it batting practice, as batters tracked most pitches with only an occasional swing. Nonetheless, Kershaw shouted at himself when a couple of his 41 pitches weren't where he wanted them.

He was reminded it's still February.

"I'm still competitive, no matter what," he said.

Also throwing to hitters were Joe Blanton, Kenley Jansen, J.P. Howell, Chris Hatcher, Luis Avilan, Carlos Frias, Yimi Garcia, Adam Liberatore and Matt West. Alex Wood and Brandon Beachy threw to hitters on Friday. The first exhibition game is Thursday.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Clayton Kershaw