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Notes: Urías shaken by HBP; Opening Day news

@kengurnick
March 8, 2020

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Julio Urías not only hit Willie Calhoun in the face with a fastball in the first inning of Sunday's 9-8 loss to the Rangers, he hit former teammate Willie Calhoun in the face. The 95-mph pitch struck Calhoun near the mouth, missing the helmet and ear flap.

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Julio Urías not only hit Willie Calhoun in the face with a fastball in the first inning of Sunday's 9-8 loss to the Rangers, he hit former teammate Willie Calhoun in the face.

The 95-mph pitch struck Calhoun near the mouth, missing the helmet and ear flap. He went down into a crouch near the plate, bleeding from the mouth, but never lost consciousness. After being assisted by trainers, Calhoun was carted off and sent to a Phoenix hospital.

It was later confirmed by the Rangers that Calhoun suffered a fractured jaw. Urías waited 10 minutes on the mound, visited by manager Dave Roberts, and was obviously shaken when play resumed.

“In the second inning, I really had a hard time and I didn’t feel like myself out there,” said Urías. “I’ve never been in a situation like that. It was really hard. I just really didn’t feel like it was me out there.”

As Urías came off the field after the second inning, he crossed paths with Rougned Odor and asked for Calhoun’s cell number, which Odor sent to the Dodgers clubhouse.

“We’ve known each other since we were in the Minor Leagues together,” Urías said of Calhoun. “He was always one of the teammates I had a good relationship with, him and Alex Verdugo.

“I recognize he’s a really good hitter and a good fastball hitter. That early in an inning, you want to go inside and when they ask you to go inside, you have to go inside. Unfortunately, what happened, happened. I pray he’s OK.”

Urías regrouped emotionally and finished off his three scoreless innings, striking out three with a hit and walk, which he considered significant improvement from his first start.

“After the second inning, I kept praying for him,” Urías said. “He was in my thoughts. I went out for the third inning and I have to continue my job. I trust in God, put it in the hands of God and go out and focus on pitching. I felt it was a good three innings. My pitches were working a lot better than last time.”

Calhoun was the Dodgers’ No. 3 prospect in 2016, according to MLB Pipeline, before becoming the key piece in the Yu Darvish trade in the summer of 2017.

Betts feeling better
Mookie Betts missed his third game after a case of food poisoning, but was able to return to the field for Sunday workouts and Roberts said the hope is to have Betts in the lineup as designated hitter on Monday.

Opening Day starter news soon
Roberts said he would announce his Opening Day starter on Monday and, based on the rotation during Spring Training, all indications are it will be Clayton Kershaw. If so, it will be the 10th consecutive season Kershaw has been named the Dodgers’ Opening Day starter, although he had to be replaced last year by Hyun-Jin Ryu because he began the season on the injured list with a sore shoulder.

Kershaw is 23-12 with a 1.74 ERA in his career against the Giants, the Opening Day opponent. The last time that Kershaw wasn’t named the Opening Day starter was 2010, when Vicente Padilla got the call and Kershaw started the second game of the season.

Kershaw is expected to be followed by Walker Buehler, David Price, Urías and Alex Wood.

Bellinger scratch a 'mix-up'
Cody Bellinger was a scratch from Sunday’s lineup, but Roberts said the reason was a scheduling mix-up and Bellinger was not injured. Roberts added that he wanted Bellinger to face the Padres and by playing on Sunday, he would have played in three consecutive games, which was not necessary.

Kolarek struggles again
Lefty Adam Kolarek (15.43 ERA) struggled again on Sunday, and is in danger of not making the bullpen staff, while Dennis Santana again got his batter out. Santana has 10 strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings.

Pederson eyeing return
Joc Pederson saw his first game action, taking five at-bats in the Minor League game, and Roberts said he could see Cactus League action by next weekend. He’s been out with a right hip injury.

Nelson returns to the mound
Jimmy Nelson returned to the mound on Sunday for a 17-pitch bullpen session that was erratic, but Roberts said he came out of it healthy. Nelson has been injured the past two years and slowed this spring by groin and lower back issues. Making the Opening Day roster appears to be an impossibility for him at this point.

Up next
Wood starts for the Dodgers on Monday against the Padres in Peoria. Third baseman Justin Turner, who flew to Los Angeles to support wife Kourtney’s run in Sunday’s Los Angeles Marathon, is expected back in the lineup. Fans can watch the game via MLB Network or MLB.TV or listen via Gameday Audio.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.