GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Except for an ambush home run by the first batter he faced, Kansas City's Whit Merrifield, Kenta Maeda was on his game Friday, striking out four in three innings of the Dodgers' 6-4 win."A little rough around the edges in the first inning, but I got my
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Except for an ambush home run by the first batter he faced, Kansas City's Whit Merrifield, Kenta Maeda was on his game Friday, striking out four in three innings of the Dodgers' 6-4 win.
"A little rough around the edges in the first inning, but I got my feeling back and felt pretty good after that," said Maeda. "To be able to go three innings and be able to work on my changeup, that's what I was working on. The changeup felt great coming off my hand."
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Maeda was followed to the mound by Thomas Stripling, who pitched two innings and allowed a solo home run to former Dodger Andrew Butera.
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Maeda said he's looking forward to finally batting in a game in his next start. He homered in his first Major League game in 2016 and hasn't homered since, but hinted that the drought might end.
"A year is a little too long," he said. "I think a miracle is going to happen soon."
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Dodgers No. 1 prospectWalker Buehler, restricted to the slow lane this spring because of a back injury suffered in January, is scheduled to make his first Cactus League appearance on Saturday night against the Cubs. Buehler pitched in a "B" game on Monday and struck out the side.
The rodeo is in town (literally, in Scottsdale), and the Dodgers scored passes for 10 players. To mark the occasion, Oklahoman Matt Kemp and Justin Turner collected contributions from fellow veterans to outfit the rookies for a cowboy fashion show, which was won by Yusniel Diaz, who edged DJ Peters. The outfits will be worn to the rodeo, even the pink western shirts.
Kemp started in left field and went 1-for-2 on Friday; Joc Pederson started in center and went 0-for-3 with a strikeout; Trayce Thompson started in right and went 1-for-3 with a run scored and a strikeout; Alvin Toles came off the bench to go 2-for-2 with a double, an RBI single, a run scored and was caught trying to steal second; Alex Verdugo came off the bench and went 0-for-1 with a strikeout.
This spring, Toles is hitting .409 with four extra-base hits and a 1.218 OPS coming off major knee surgery.
James Farmer, in a longshot bid to make the club as a utilityman with a power right-handed bat, homered. It was his second of the spring and he's 8-for-16 with two homers, two doubles and six RBIs.
"I lost a lot of weight, came in trying to get my body in position to play any position they wanted," said Farmer, who has trimmed 17 pounds since last spring.
Non-roster invitee Player Page for Max Muncy has been sidelined with a mild oblique strain. The utility man said the injury is responding to treatment and he hopes to ease back into baseball activity next week. He said he knows this one is mild because he had a serious oblique pull at the end of the season several years ago.
Reliever Josh Fields, held back for a variety of minor issues (most recently back stiffness), could make his Cactus League debut early next week. Despite the setbacks, Fields still could make the Opening Day roster or be an early callup.
Rich Hill makes his second Cactus League start on Saturday when the Dodgers face the Chicago Cubs at Camelback Ranch. The 6:05 p.m. PT matchup will be available live on MLB.TV.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001. Listen to his podcast.