Carlos Frias postgame interview.

Pitching his fifth major-league game Sunday, 24-year-old right-hander Carlos Frias gave up a home run to the first batter he faced, Carlos Gomez, then retired the next 12 Milwaukee Brewers in order.

“That was the first time I’d seen him relax and take a breath, let the ball work,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “After he gives up the home run to Carlos, I talked to him between innings. I wanted to challenge him that he was in a nothing-nothing game and pitch. I wanted to see him pitch. We saw three innings of zeroes where he used the sinker, used the ball down where he should be. When kids come up, everything’s hard-hard-hard-hard-hard, instead of pitch. These guys can hit.

“You can’t just keep firing these balls in waist-high. If you’re a sinker-ball pitcher, you’ve got to sink the ball, you’ve got to change speeds a little bit. The last three innings were real good.”

Frias gave one interview after the game (to LosDodgers.com) and it was in Spanish. Hat tip to Daniel Arreola for the translation:
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Checking in on former Dodger Elian Herrera.

Not to rub salt in an open wound for Dodgers fans, but …

Brewers manager Ron Roenicke was still gushing about the defense of his shortstop Friday, former Dodger Elian Herrera. In the seventh inning Herrera made a brilliant play to dive and catch a line drive by Matt Kemp, then shovel the ball to second base to double off Adrian Gonzalez.

It was only the fifth game Herrera has played at shortstop this season. Roenicke said that Herrera has been “better than OK. He’s really done a nice job.”

Herrera hasn’t made an error in 31 innings at shortstop. In fact, he hasn’t made an error at any of the six positions he’s played this season.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly didn’t use Herrera much at shortstop the last two seasons — just three innings total. Herrera saw more time at all three outfield positions, and second and third base, as a Dodger. As a result, Roenicke said he wasn’t really sure how Herrera would fare as Jean Segura‘s backup.

Besides his defense, Herrera is batting .275/.292/.324 in 45 games this season.

A brief note on Roberto Hernandez and the Brewers.

Roberto Hernandez

Roberto Hernandez has already made two starts in Miller Park this season. (Getty Images)


MILWAUKEE — Roberto Hernandez has faced the Milwaukee Brewers twice already this season. When he starts for the Dodgers today, as is expected, it will be his third start in Miller Park this season. Yet it’s hard to know what to expect.

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Daily Distractions: Qualifying offers trickling in, Elian Herrera claimed by Milwaukee Brewers, etc.

Hiroki Kuroda

Former Dodgers pitcher Hiroki Kuroda received a qualifying offer worth $14.1 million from the New York Yankees today. (Getty Images)

It’s been a busy day for qualifying offers around the majors. Among the names reported today to have received the $14.1 million offers for 2014: Robinson Cano, Hiroki Kuroda, Curtis Granderson, Jacoby Ellsbury, Stephen Drew, Mike Napoli, Carlos Beltran, Ubaldo Jimenez, Brian McCann and Kendrys Morales.

All those players could be off the market by tomorrow if they accept the qualifying offer.

If they don’t, and certainly not all will, the Dodgers and 28 other teams are faced with a choice: Sign the player as a free agent, or sacrifice a 2014 first-round draft pick. For a team like the Dodgers, who have a handful of high-level prospects but not many more tradeable assets in their farm system, that’s a difficult and expensive signing to justify. Cano is arguably the only elite player on that list and the Dodgers aren’t expected to make a run at him.

The others — some of whom made my short list of players to watch — just made themselves a little less attractive to the Dodgers.

A few bullet points for a Panamanian Flag Day:
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Zack Greinke (elbow) out; Hyun-Jin Ryu will start for Dodgers against Brewers.

Zack Greinke

Zack Greinke will fly to Los Angeles today to have his right elbow examined by team Dr. Neal ElAttrache.

The team said that Greinke experienced “mild irritation” in the back of his elbow while throwing on Sunday and “does not feel 100 percent comfortable” in the elbow. He threw a full bullpen without pain Friday.

Hyun-Jin Ryu, who was scheduled to relieve Greinke against the Milwaukee Brewers, will start instead. The game is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.

Update: Don Mattingly said that an MRI on Greinke’s elbow came back clean and the pitcher said he could make his scheduled start if he wanted to. “If something serious was going on,” Mattingly said, “it’d be a shocker.”

Update 2 (2:38 p.m.): Dr. ElAttrache confirmed the diagnosis of inflammation in the back of the right elbow. Greinke received an injection of platelet-rich plasma and anti-inflammatory medication. He will rest for 2 to 3 days and then return to a progressive throwing program.

Brewers 9, Dodgers 4; Dodgers 6, Cubs 3.

Tempers flared in a loss to the Brewers in Glendale, and the Dodgers rapped out 11 hits to beat the Cubs in Mesa, in the team’s final day of split-squad action in spring training.

Both benches were warned in the sixth inning of a 9-4 loss to Milwaukee after Dodgers starter Chris Capuano threw a pitch behind Ryan Braun. That followed a series of hit batters –one (Norichika Aoki) by Capuano and two (Jerry Hairston Jr. and Juan Rivera) by Milwaukee pitchers earlier in the game.

That was the end of the drama, however, and the Brewers scored eight runs over the final three innings to erase a 4-2 deficit.

Capuano allowed two hits, one (earned) run on a solo shot by Braun, walked one and struck out seven in six innings. His Cactus League ERA stands at 2.75. Matt Guerrier relieved him in the seventh inning and gave up a 3-run home run to the first batter he faced, Brooks Conrad, in his first game since March 11.

Guerrier was actually pitching his third game in five days, including minor-league games, and afterward declared himself free of any back pain and healthy to start the season.

“As far as I am concerned, (the injury) was over a week ago,” he said.

The Brewers’ Carlos Gomez hit a three-run home run off losing pitcher Jamey Wright in the seventh inning. Todd Coffey gave up three hits and four runs — none earned, thanks to a Jake Lemmerman error –in two-thirds of an inning. His spring ERA ballooned to 7.71.

Andre Ethier doubled and homered in four at-bats, giving him 15 extra-base hits among his 18 this spring.
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Dodgers 7, Brewers 6.

The Dodgers got three hits from Dee Gordon, two from Mark Ellis and Matt Kemp, and overcame a rocky start before an announced crowd of 6,348 at Camelback Ranch. [box score]

Starter Chad Billingsley pitched 4 2/3 innings and allowed five hits, three runs (all earned), walked two and struck out four. He also issued a wild pitch and left with the score tied 3-3. He threw 86 pitches — more than any Dodgers starter this spring — and 57 went for strikes.

The right-hander served up a two-run home run to Brooks Conrad in the second inning on a curveball, though Billingsley said the pitch was otherwise working well for him. “I was executing pitches, missing some of them,” he said. “You win some, you lose some.”

Andre Ethier hit his second home run of the spring, a two-run blast in the fifth inning, giving him 10 extra-base hits among 11 this spring. He is hitting .440. Ellis’ sixth-inning double down the left-field line drove in the Dodgers’ sixth and seventh runs.

A few more notes:
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