Broxton struggles in Dodgers' 8-2 loss to Padres

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly wants closer Jonathan Broxton to believe that one inning — the ninth — belongs to him.

"That's the plan," Mattingly said.

The plan looked as if it were still on the drawing board Thursday when Broxton struggled in the sixth inning of an 8-2 loss to the San Diego Padres.

"I've watched some of the best get beat up in spring training," said Mattingly, who remembered spring games when Goose Gossage got battered around when both were with the New York Yankees.

Broxton, who struggled late last season, gave up a tying home run to Padres second baseman Jarrett Hoffpauir, who led off the sixth by launching a 0-1 pitch over the left field wall.

Broxton, 1-1 in spring training, faced five San Diego batters but didn't retire one. He allowed three hits, walked one and put another batter, center fielder Curtis Maybin, on base when he hit him with a pitch.

After minor-league pitcher Stuart Pomeranz relieved Broxton, Maybin scored on a three-run homer by right fielder Curtis Hunter, who launched a 1-2 punch on to the picnic area that overlooks right field.

Padres right-hander Simon Castro, who spent last season with Double-A San Antonio, picked up the win in relief of starter Wade LeBlanc, who worked four innings, allowing four hits and striking out two.

Before the Dodgers fell to 5-9 in Cactus League play, Mattingly talked about how he wanted Broxton to develop a mentality that he would take over in the ninth.

"I want him to have success," Mattingly said. "But nothing, outside of injury, is going to happen right now. This is just about getting guys ready."

Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw continued to pitch as though he'll be ready for his Opening Day start against the San Francisco Giants on March 31.

Through 11 1-3 innings of work in three Cactus League appearances, Kershaw has allowed only two unearned runs, the second coming in the first inning Thursday.

But the numbers mean little to Kershaw. In the spring, he says he doesn't look at them. Instead, Kershaw looks at the hitters.

"I look to see how they react," he said. "That's a good way of evaluating how you're doing with each pitch."

So far, those hitters must be impressed with what they've sees from Kershaw.

"Overall, it was OK," said Kershaw, who was happy with the early command of his fast ball.

Mattingly expects Kershaw to get a lot a better.

"He is going to be handful for anybody he faces," Mattingly said.

Notes: Former Dodgers manager Joe Torre visited his old club Thursday. The stop was all business in Torre's new role as MLB executive vice president for baseball operations. Torre is on tour of all 30 camps in Arizona and Florida. There was only one difference Thursday. The Dodgers were his only stop, unlike Friday's schedule, which includes the Padres, Mariners and White Sox. "I didn't want a time limit, because there a lot of people here I care about," said Torre, who said he stayed in touch with Mattingly since he left the Dodgers. ... RHP Chad Billingsley is scheduled to start for the Dodgers Friday against Oakland at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. LHP Gio Gonzalez is Oakland's probable starter. ... The Padres are at home Friday at the Peoria Sports Complex against the Giants. Padres RHP Mat Latos is the scheduled starter. The Giants plan to start Tim Lincecum.