Dodgers 5, San Diego Padres 4: Julio Urias debuts, and the Dodgers hold on for a win.

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The story of the game was Julio Urias, the 17-year-old prodigy who needed 14 pitches to mow down the San Diego Padres’ first three batters. Mike Brito, the scout who signed Urias, had a cigar hanging from his mouth as he walked the Dodgers’ clubhouse after the game.

Don Mattingly said Urias will be in the rotation by May “at the latest”: “For me, with young guys, you know it’s going to be a little while. You have to build him up. He hasn’t thrown that many professional innings. To me, you can like him all you want but you really need to grow up, and part of that is the expectation for a 17-year-old. You’re always going to get a lot better. Well, he has to get a lot better, right?

“I had a kid a couple years ago in the (Arizona) Fall League who was a can’t-miss, can’t do anything (wrong) and he’s still not in the big leagues,” Mattingly continued. “I think it’s just easier to let him grow up. He looked really good. For 17, 18, 19 or 20 he looked really good, but I still think we have to let him grow up.”

So we shall. The game that followed Urias’ debut was a good one for a number of Dodgers. Dee Gordon tripled, scored a run, and laid down a bunt for a base hit. He also stole his ninth base (in nine tries). Miguel Rojas went 2 for 3, raising his average to .440. Hanley Ramirez singled, stole second base and scored on an RBI single by Adrian Gonzalez.

The major-league portion of the Dodgers’ bullpen had no trouble. Javy Guerra, J.P. Howell, Kenley Jansen and Chris Perez combined to throw three scoreless innings.

San Diego rallied for four runs in the eighth inning off minor-league right-hander Romulo Sanchez. Sanchez got out of his own bases-loaded jam by striking out former Dodgers farmhand Alex Castellanos to end the inning.

Mattingly said after the game that Guerra, and possibly Jansen and Howell, would pitch in tomorrow’s game against the Colorado Rockies.

The box score is here.

There’s another game here starting in 80 minutes.

Some notes and observations:

Mike Baxter had a busy day in the field. He played right field, center field and first base in the game. He hasn’t played first base to this point in spring training but he told me that he played the position in college (Vanderbilt) and has been taking ground balls with the other infielders throughout camp.

• Gordon’s bunt hit was not a drag bunt, just a 10-footer between home plate and the mound that made the Padres scramble. He beat the throw by a step.

• The Dodgers drew seven walks in the game. Andre Ethier had two.

Carl Crawford went 0 for 3, lowering his Cactus League batting average to .138. More from the bad batting average department: Joc Pederson (0 for 1), .192; Hanley Ramirez (1 for 4), .229; Tim Federowicz (0 for 3), .077.

• I wonder which can’t-miss prospect Mattingly was referring to. Could it have been this guy?

Seventeen-year-old Dodgers starter Julio Urias: ‘I was not nervous at all.’

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Julio Urias‘ first appearance in a major-league game Saturday was practically over before it started.

The 17-year-old lefty threw 14 pitches in a 1-2-3 first inning against the San Diego Padres at Camelback Ranch. He struck out Will Venable swinging after falling behind 3-0 — all on fastballs — then got Chris Denorfia to ground out and struck out Yonder Alonso swinging on a slider. Three up, three down, 14 pitches, nine strikes.

Urias threw all three of his pitches for strikes. His fastball was clocked in the 93-96 mph range; his curveball in the 75-80 range and his changeup in the 75-79 range.

“I felt really happy. I was under control and not nervous at all,” Urias said through an interpreter.

With his father, Carlos, and an uncle in attendance, Urias garnered as much attention as anyone from the announced crowd of 13,232.

“It’s always been a dream of mine,” Urias said. “I’m happy to be with the Dodgers.”

Sam Demel was originally listed as the starting pitcher for the game. Urias was informed Saturday morning that the plans had changed. That only made him more comfortable; Urias started each of the 18 games he pitched last season for Low-A Great Lakes. By starting instead of reliving he had a full bullpen session before the game to get loose.

Dodgers scout Mike Brito, who signed Urias as a 16-year-old in August 2012, said the plan calls for Urias to begin the regular season at High-A Rancho Cucamonga. Based on the early returns, Urias might not need to be in the California League for long.

“I was not surprised,” Brito said. “He was very impressive.”

Brito, who also signed Fernando Valenzuela as a teenager, doesn’t think it will take long for Urias to be ready for the major leagues. Valenzuela debuted at 19 years old.

Urias said he’d like to be in the majors by the end of the season. The Dodgers have only suited up six 18-year-olds in their history and two 17-year-olds, none since Charlie Osgood in 1944. Urias turns 18 on August 12.

Josh Beckett, Dodgers to square off against Chicago Cubs.

MESA, Ariz. — Josh Beckett is expected to throw roughly four innings and 65 pitches today against the Chicago Cubs, in what’s expected to be a showcase of his fastball and changeup.

Beckett has been dealing with a finger blister for some time that affects him more when he throws curveballs. There’s a decent chance Beckett would have devoted today to curveballs if he were at full health; he focused his first spring start on the changeup and his second on the fastball.

Yasiel Puig, has been batting leadoff quite a bit in the Cactus League season. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly touted Puig’s virtues at the leadoff slot again this morning, saying “the thought process is who do you want to get the extra at-bat. He hasn’t shown that he can drive in runs yet and we’ve got guys who can do that.” Today might be an audition of sorts for Puig in the number-three slot. Dee Gordon is batting leadoff.

Jose Dominguez, Javy Guerra, Paco Rodriguez, Chris Withrow and Jamey Wright all made the trip to Cubs Park.

Minor league position players suiting up today include IF Brendan Harris (#35), C Chris O’Brien (#70), RHP Steve Edlefsen (#83), IF Darnell Sweeney (#84), RHP Justin Souza (#87), OF Jon Garcia (#88), OF Trayvon Robinson (#89), IF Corey Seager (#90), C Jose Capellan (#91), IF O’Koyea Dickson(#95), IF Jamie Romak (#96), RHP Romulo Sanchez (#97).

Outfielders Joc Pederson and Mike Baxter, infielder Alex Guerrero and catcher Drew Butera are also on the travel roster.

Here are the starting lineups for both teams for the 1 p.m. game:
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Chone Figgins, Justin Turner in Dodgers’ lineup against the Cincinnati Reds.

Tim Wallach will manage the Dodgers for a second straight day with Don Mattingly away, and two non-roster invitees are in the lineup against the Cincinnati Reds: Justin Turner and Chone Figgins.

In the next three days, the Dodgers will have to make a decision on their travel roster for Sydney, Australia. By extension, the 25-man roster will have to be mostly settled. It’s telling that Turner (at first base for the first time in a Cactus League game this spring) and Figgins (in center field) are in the lineup, and Alex Guerrero is not, with Dee Gordon starting at second base.

If the Dodgers wanted him to get at-bats in order to prepare for a fast-approaching season, Guerrero would probably be in the lineup. Instead, the not-so-early indication is that Figgins and Turner have the inside track on utility roles, Gordon is the Opening Day second baseman, and Guerrero might not be ready for major-league duty in the eyes of the organization (a view held by several evaluators I’ve spoken to before and since Guerrero arrived in camp).

There haven’t been any formal indications about any of this from within the organization, but we won’t have to wait long to find out.

Outfielder Matt Kemp was scheduled to play in a minor league intrasquad game for the second straight day at 12:30 p.m. on the back fields of Camelback Ranch. Kemp had six at-bats and played in the field for the first time yesterday in a minor league intrasquad game and ran the bases.

Minor league players suiting up today include: RHP Red Patterson (#78), LHP Fu-Te Ni (#83), RHP Juan Gonzalez (#94), C Kyle Farmer (#92), INF Darnell Sweeney (#84), INF Ozzie Martinez (#87), INF Daniel Mayora (#88), INF Jamie Romak (#90), OF Jon Garcia (#89), OF Trayvon Robinson (#91) and OF Aaron Bates (#95).

Here are both lineups for the 1 p.m. game:
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Arizona Diamondbacks 9, Dodgers 2: D-Backs’ ‘B’ team batters Dodgers.

The sticker shock of the quality of the Arizona Diamondbacks’ lineup quickly wore off, then reversed course.

With a lineup slim on quality major-league talent — Didi Gregorius batted third and Mike Jacobs, who’s played 20 major-league games since 2009, hit cleanup — the Diamondbacks scored nine runs in six innings en route to a win in their last meeting with the Dodgers before Opening Day.

Zack Greinke allowed three runs, Zach Lee allowed four (three were earned) and Chris Perez allowed two runs in two-thirds of an inning out of the bullpen. J.P. Howell, Chris Withrow, Kenley Jansen and minor-leaguer Romulo Sanchez combined to throw 3 ⅔ scoreless innings of relief.

A two-run double by Andre Ethier off Arizona right-hander Mike Lee accounted for the Dodgers’ scoring.

Dodgers’ Zack Greinke throws two innings, ‘still a ways to go’ before he’s ready for a real game.

Zack GreinkeZack Greinke‘s right calf is not at full strength and his arm is in its typical early-spring shape. That is, poor.

His honesty is in midseason form, and the 30-year-old pitcher reserved the most brutal of his honesty Wednesday for simulated games. He doesn’t like them.

“Those are awful,” Greinke said. “It’s not the same. You make a mistake, they miss those. You make a mistake in the game, they hit those harder.”
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Matt Kemp makes progress in Dodgers’ minor-league game, major-league games still a ways off.

Matt Kemp

Matt Kemp played one inning in center field in a minor-league intrasquad game Wednesday. (Associated Press photo)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — For as much progress as he made Wednesday, Matt Kemp‘s measured thoughts after his latest minor-league rehab game proved just how long a journey he faces before he’s able to play for the Dodgers.

Kemp took a big step forward by playing one inning in center field against a group of Dodgers minor leaguers, something he hasn’t done in any kind of competitive environment since Sept. 27, 2013. Three weeks after that, he had a major microfracture surgery performed on the talus bone in his left ankle.
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Dodgers 7, Royals 5: Minor leaguers clobber the Kansas City bullpen, Van Slyke homers, Haren pleased with results.

Scott Van Slyke

Scott Van Slyke hit a home run that cleared the 400-foot marker in center field at Surprise Stadium on Tuesday. (Getty Images)

SURPRISE, Ariz. — There’s a good reason not to take spring training statistics seriously, a reason that was on full display Tuesday at Surprise Stadium.

Louis Coleman made 27 appearances out of the Kansas City Royals’ bullpen last year. He allowed just two runs, posting a puny 0.61 earned-run average for the season. The right-hander has 117 career appearances and has only once allowed more than three runs to score in a single inning.

But in the ninth inning against the Dodgers, Coleman was pulverized by several players who have never made a major-league at-bat. Alex Guerrero hit a triple off the top of the center-field fence, roughly 400 feet from home plate. Joc Pederson walked and Noel Cuevas (surprise!) followed with a three-run home run. Aaron Bates (who has 11 career major-league at-bats) and Trayvon Robinson singled. The inning ended on a diving catch of a Mike Baxter line drive to right field.

That’s how the Dodgers (5-6-4) rallied from their second deficit of the game to beat the Kansas City Royals 7-5.

Scott Van Slyke hit a two-run home run to deep center field in the eighth inning, his second Cactus League home run. In another spring anomaly, Dodgers right-hander Javy Guerra was the winning pitcher in his worst outing of the year. He allowed two runs (one earned) in the eighth inning, as well as two hits and a walk.

Dodgers starter Dan Haren allowed seven hits, all singles. Haren issued a walk, he said, on an experimental cut fastball that missed the corner to Lorenzo Cain. It was one of 11 walks in the game.

“He’s down and still under control,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said of Haren. “Looks like he’s controlling the strike zone for the most part. The guy was fairly tight behind the plate, we thought, but both ways. He was consistent, but a lot of those balls were good throws that were down in the zone, just not getting them.”

Haren was pleased with the results, too.

“Last year, beginning of the year, I was haunted by the home run, just leaving too many balls up out over the plate,” he said. “Second half, I was keeping the ball down and getting results more like today — a lot of ground balls.

“It’s more of just a mindset, more of an execution thing. Making sure when I miss, I miss down in the zone like I did today. Trying to work to get ground balls and in big spots not trying to do too much. If I have to walk a guy, I walk a guy. … The split is more of a waste pitch, but last year at the end of the year, I threw any pitch in any count.”

Haren said he felt well enough to throw another inning, but is a bit more tired than usual for this point in spring. The Dodgers still haven’t decided whether or not Haren will be on the flight bound for Sydney on Sunday.

If Haren isn’t on the plane, he hopes that “maybe (I can) take an extra day or two where I can back off a little bit because I’ve pushed it hard to this point.”

The box score is here. Some more notes and observations:

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Dodgers tie Oakland, trim camp roster by five.

Matt Magill

Pitcher Matt Magill was optioned to the minors on Monday, one of five players cut from the Dodgers’ major-league camp roster. (Associated Press photo)

The Dodgers trimmed their camp roster by five after tying the Oakland A’s on Monday.

There were no surprises on the list: Pitcher Matt Magill was optioned to the minor-league side, and non-roster invitees J.C. Boscan, Carlos Frias, Brendan Harris and Clint Robinson were reassigned to the minor-league side.

Magill, the only player of the group on the 40-man roster, pitched 5 ⅔ innings, allowing three hits, one run, walking two and striking out six. The only run came on a solo home run March 5 by Cincinnati Reds prospect Neftali Soto. Magill, a 24-year-old right-hander from Simi Valley, was not a candidate to make the major-league rotation.

Of the four non-roster invitees, Harris had the most realistic chance of earning a major-league roster spot, if only because of the Dodgers’ needs on the bench and at second base. He needed a good camp to prove that he was not the same player who registered -2.3 WAR (baseball-reference.com version) since 2009. Harris didn’t have a good camp. He batted 3 for 19 (.158) with three walks.

Boscan, a 34-year-old catcher with 30 major-league plate appearances to his credit, went 1 for 4 with a pair of walks.

Frias made four Cactus League appearances and allowed five runs, including three Monday without recording an out in the Dodgers’ 8-8 tie. The 24-year-old right-hander advanced as high as Double-A last year and could earn a promotion to Triple-A at some point this season.

The 29-year-old Robinson showed why the Dodgers signed him to a minor-league deal in the off-season, batting .348 (11 for 23) with a solo home run. Robinson batted .292 at Triple-A Omaha last year and is expected to start at first base this year for Triple-A Albuquerque.

The Dodgers have 41 players on their camp roster, not including pitcher Scott Elbert (on the 60-day disabled list) and infielder Erisbel Arruebarruena, who is still awaiting his U.S. work visa. The roster must be down to 28 — 25 players who are eligible to play the two games in Sydney, Australia, plus another three designated as inactive — by 7 p.m. March 21.

Clayton Kershaw, Yasiel Puig, Corey Seager active for Dodgers’ tilt with San Francisco Giants.

Opening Day starter Clayton Kershaw will try to lower his 18.00 earned-run average today before a sold-out crowd at Camelback Ranch.

Manager Don Mattingly announced Sunday morning that Kershaw will take the ball March 22 in Sydney, Australia. The 25-year-old left hander will only have one Cactus League start after today before the regular season begins.

Yasiel Puig bats third today after leaving the team to attend to a personal matter Saturday.

Infield prospect Corey Seager is in uniform for the game, wearing number 91. So are minor leaguers Ozzie Martinez (#87), OF Jeremy Hazelbaker (#89), OF Scott Schebler (#90 and OF Noel Cuevas (#92). Minor league right-handers Steve Edlefsen (#84) and Justin Souza (#88) will back up Kershaw, Javy Guerra and Red Patterson.

Here are the lineups for today’s game:

Giants:
Angel Pagan CF
Juan Perez LF
Brandon Belt 1B
Buster Posey C
Pablo Sandoval 3B
Joaquin Arias SS
Brandon Hicks 2B
Tyler Graham RF
Edwin Escobar LHP

Dodgers:
Chone Figgins CF
A.J. Ellis C
Yasiel Puig RF
Adrian Gonzalez 1B
Justin Turner 3B
Mike Baxter LF
Alex Guerrero 2B
Miguel Rojas SS
Clayton Kershaw LHP