GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Rich Hill is tough on himself even when things go well, so he sure wasn't holding back on Thursday, when he retired only one of eight Royals batters in a 14-8 Dodgers loss on a windy day.
"Pitching like that is not fun," said Hill. "It's unacceptable. The wind had nothing to do with the pitches. I didn't execute. A disappointing day. To get those results is tough. I've got to sit there for five days with that. You feel like you ought to go back out there tomorrow and pitch. Got to move forward."
Hill allowed a home run, triple, two doubles and three singles. The only out was a strikeout. After being removed from the game, he went to the bullpen and pitched four more simulated innings.
"His fastball command was there. First time we've seen that all spring," said manager Dave Roberts. "The wind blowing out, some plays that should have been made, some went out of the ballpark that maybe shouldn't have. We didn't help him at all on the defensive side."
Catch this:Austin Barnes has struggled in Cactus League play, batting .100 in eight games, while James Farmer, the Dodgers' No. 25 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, is batting .476. But Barnes is still expected to share catching duties this year with Yasmani Grandal.
"I thought he took a couple good at-bats yesterday," said Roberts. "He had a great season last year, and we don't want him to be pressing. Mechanically, he's been working through some things."
It hasn't been an easy spring for Barnes, who took over the starting job late last season and was the primary catcher through the postseason.
He reported with a sore elbow from overthrowing during the offseason, which prevented him from catching in a game until last week. He missed three additional games when he was one of the 26 Dodgers afflicted by the norovirus that swept through the clubhouse.
Meanwhile, after an 0-for-11 start, Grandal is 8-for-19, including his fourth homer Thursday, so there doesn't appear to be room for Farmer.
"Kyle's done a great job," said Roberts. "We like Yasmani and Austin, but a guy I have complete confidence in is Kyle, and it's great to have such strength at that position."
Report from the back fields: In a Minor League game, Kenta Maeda allowed three runs in 4 2/3 innings, with seven strikeouts and 62 pitches.
Reports were favorable on how he looked.
Camp battle:Alvin Toles started in left field Thursday and went 1-for-4 with a double, a steal of third and two strikeouts. He had trouble running down a wind-blown double in the first inning.
Meanwhile: Joc Pederson started in center field and went 0-for-2 with a walk and run scored, and also made a diving catch; Trayce Thompson went 0-for-3 with a strikeout; and Alex Verdugo came off the bench and went 1-for-2 with an RBI single.
Rotation scramble:Hyun-Jin Ryu is expected to start Saturday. Clayton Kershaw will pitch Sunday, but Roberts said it hasn't been decided whether he will pitch in one of the split-squad games or a back-field game. Manny Banuelos will start one of the split-squad games. The juggling is intended to set up Kershaw to start Opening Day on regular rest.
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All's well: Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, out of camp to attend to a personal matter, is expected to return Friday. Bullpen coach Mark Prior has served as the interim pitching coach.
Up next:Walker Buehler, sent to the Minors earlier this week, will be brought back to the big league camp to start Friday against Matt Koch and the Diamondbacks at Salt River Fields. Game time is 1:10 p.m. PT, and the game can be viewed on MLB.TV. Wilmer Font also is expected to pitch.
Buehler is inserted into the rotation to continue his experience vs. Major League batters, and because the Dodgers need a starter with Sunday's split-squad doubleheader coming up. Buehler is in line to be the first starting pitcher called up when one is needed.