GLENDALE, Ariz. – Wearing Mexican red-and-green instead of Los Angeles Dodgers' blue, Adrian Gonzalez knew the games were about to get a lot more significant for this time of year.
Gonzalez was playing for Mexico on Wednesday in its final exhibition game for the World Baseball Classic, facing the Dodgers, his major league team.
"Today was more of a tuneup than anything else," Gonzalez said after Mexico lost 10-2.
Andre Ethier hit a two-run homer in the first inning and Dee Gordon a two-run double in the second to lead Los Angeles, which was without Zack Greinke. The right-hander was scratched from his start because of flu-like symptoms. Greinke missed a bullpen session Sunday because of tightness in his right foreman. He would have been limited to 45 pitches had he pitched Wednesday.
Instead, Stephen Fife filled in and pitched three scoreless innings before giving up a home run to Mexican shortstop Ramiro Pena in the fourth.
Mexico opens the WBC on Thursday with a game against Italy in Scottsdale, the Arizona Diamondbacks' spring training complex.
Due to a tight schedule, Mexico played the Diamondbacks last night, winning 1-0, and Gonzalez thinks that had something to do with the poor performance.
"It was a night-day turnaround," Gonzalez said. "Today was just a day when the hitters got a chance to work on their timing. None of our pitchers really threw."
Philadelphia Phillies reliever Rodrigo Lopez, a right-hander from Mexico City, is expected to start against Italy. The Italians have few major leaguers on their team.
"But we've got to treat them like they're one of the best teams," said Mexico manager Rick Renteria, whose club faces the United States on Friday at Chase Field in Phoenix. "I think we're very anxious about it. Today and Tuesday, we were hoping that with every play we had another opportunity to come together.
"It's quick. It's about timing. You want your catchers and pitchers working together as quick as you can," Renteria added. "I like to use a horse racing analogy. The catcher is the jockey and the pitcher is the horse. If we can get them working together as quickly as possible, I think we've got a chance.
Matt Kemp was 0 for 3, but had two RBIs on a fielder's choice in the first and again in the second. Kemp, who is coming off shoulder surgery, has yet to get a hit this spring. He is 0 for 11.
NOTES: Dodgers OF Carl Crawford has been cleared to resume hitting Thursday. He missed six days because of a nerve irritation in his left elbow. He underwent surgery on the elbow last August. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said Crawford hasn't felt any irritation for three straight days. Mattingly said Crawford's work will be monitored. It's expected that Crawford will initially hit balls off a tee. "The biggest thing is that we want to be cautious," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "We don't want this thing to flare up." It's not known when Crawford will appear in a spring training game or whether he'll be ready by opening day. . A swarm of bees descended on the parking lot on the first-base side of Camelback Ranch in the late innings Wednesday. The exit on that side of the park was closed until exterminators got rid of the bees.