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Buehler lights up radar gun in first spring start

MLB.com @kengurnick

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- In his first Cactus League start, Walker Buehler added two scoreless innings on Friday to the one he pitched on Saturday.

The Dodgers' top prospect has already been sent to the Minor Leagues, and management is hoping to keep him fresh for late-season starts. It attempted the same thing last year with Julio Urias, but he blew out his left shoulder pitching at Triple-A and needed surgery.

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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- In his first Cactus League start, Walker Buehler added two scoreless innings on Friday to the one he pitched on Saturday.

The Dodgers' top prospect has already been sent to the Minor Leagues, and management is hoping to keep him fresh for late-season starts. It attempted the same thing last year with Julio Urias, but he blew out his left shoulder pitching at Triple-A and needed surgery.

View Full Game Coverage

When pressed for details about his upcoming schedule, Buehler said it's above his pay grade.

"I'm 23 and I feel good with where I'm at and what I'm trying to accomplish," said Buehler, who was on a two-inning/40-pitch limit. "Hopefully it all works out, and the biggest thing is this team is winning. And if I'm a part of that, great, and if not, they've got some good guys out there."

Video: LAD@ARI: Buehler discusses facing D-backs

Buehler struck out two, walked one and threw a wild pitch in Friday's 4-1 loss the D-backs at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. He didn't allow a hit and touched 99 mph on the radar gun, needing 38 pitches (20 strikes) when facing much of Arizona's regulars.

"I thought he threw well," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "He got ahead of some guys and didn't put them away as efficiently as he'd like. Velocity was really good. It's amazing what comes out of the body and that arm. The next piece, with the swing-and-miss pitches, is to put hitters away. But a lot of good stuff."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Decisions to be made
The Dodgers have four players on the 40-man roster that are out of options this spring.

Left-handed reliever Tony Cingrani, acquired from the Reds for the stretch run last year, is a bullpen lock. Tom Koehler, signed as a free agent to help fill the void left by the departure of free agent Brandon Morrow, sprained his shoulder capsule and will open the season on the disabled list.

Wilmer Font, last year's Pacific Coast League pitcher of the year, has a decent shot at the final bullpen spot, despite allowing three runs in two innings on Friday. His toughest competition is probably Yimi Garcia, who is coming off Tommy John surgery.

"The second inning was considerably better than the first inning," Roberts said of Font. "His velocity ticked up, he was striking with the breaking ball. He'll have a few more outings. It's good to see a little growth."

Trayce Thompson, whose promising career was sidetracked by two fractured vertebrae in 2016, is a long shot in the crowded outfield. He has a .310 average this spring with little power. Thompson, Joc Pederson and Alex Verdugo are battling favorite Andrew Toles for the final outfield spot, assuming Matt Kemp is on the club.

Camp battle
Kemp started in left field and went 0-for-3 with a strikeout. Utility man Kyle Farmer finished 1-for-2 as designated hitter in his bid for a bench spot.

Game highlights
Cody Bellinger homered -- his second of the spring -- for the Dodgers' lone run. In addition to Buehler's start, ambidextrous pitcher Pat Venditte continued his long-shot run with a scoreless inning, lowering his ERA to 0.96.

Video: LAD@ARI: Bellinger launches solo shot to right-center

Injury Update
Corey Seager started his first Cactus League game on defense, fielding both grounders hit his way and throwing on target to first. Seager said his elbow, which he injured last year and slowed his spring progression, felt fine.

Dylan Baker (side strain) made his first appearance since Feb. 27, allowing one run in the eighth inning.

Up Next
Hyun-Jin Ryu starts for the Dodgers at 1:05 p.m. PT on Saturday against Miguel Gonzalez and the White Sox at Camelback Ranch. Watch live on MLB.TV.

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

Los Angeles Dodgers, Walker Buehler