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Buehler resumes throwing, may have 'pen soon

February 17, 2019

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dodgers pitcher Walker Buehler resumed playing catch on Sunday, and manager Dave Roberts said his first bullpen session of Spring Training could be on Wednesday.:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::Buehler has had a slow start to camp, by design, because of last year's innings

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dodgers pitcher Walker Buehler resumed playing catch on Sunday, and manager Dave Roberts said his first bullpen session of Spring Training could be on Wednesday.
:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::
Buehler has had a slow start to camp, by design, because of last year's innings spike. The Dodgers have been mindful of the wiry Buehler's health ever since selecting him in the first round of the 2015 Draft and discovering he needed Tommy John surgery. He reported to camp last spring with a sore back and opened the season at Triple-A.
Buehler's innings total jumped from 98 in 2017 to 177 in 2018 and many of those were high-stress innings, such as the Game 163 National League West tiebreaker, Game 7 of the National League Championship Series and Game 3 of the World Series.
He had already thrown four bullpen sessions before reporting to camp. By Wednesday, other Dodgers pitchers will have thrown three bullpens.
Verdugo's immediate future not set
• Roberts conceded top outfield prospect Alex Verdugo has "nothing else he has to prove" at Triple-A, but Roberts was non-committal about Verdugo's immediate future.
"Right now, fortunately, we don't have to make a decision," Roberts said. "I just encourage Alex to go play and play well because there is nothing else he has to prove at the Minor League level. No one's going to argue that. But there are a lot of players that have performed at this level too. There's needed growth in routine and the consistency part of it. Right now, I just want Alex concentrating on the preparation part of things."
Roberts plans for A.J. Pollock to play center field and Cody Bellinger to handle right field almost every game, leaving left field for left-handed hitters Joc Pederson and Verdugo, or right-handed hitters Chris Taylor or Enrique Hernández.
"We expect Cody out there every day and A.J. in center," Roberts said. "Look at left field, the last few years Joc production-wise has done a great job against right-handed pitching. Baseball is competition. You can't diminish what Joc has done on the Major League level."
Dodgers tidbits
Ross Stripling is expected to be back in full action on Monday. The right-hander was held back for a third day on Sunday because of an upper respiratory condition. He did play catch Saturday and Sunday, but the medical department preferred to keep him quarantined for the protection of teammates.
David Freese reported late Saturday, leaving Andrew Toles as the only player who hasn't checked in with position players due to report by Monday. The first full-squad workout is scheduled for Tuesday.

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