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Pablo Fernandez pitches 2 scoreless innings in U.S. professional debut for Dodgers

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Pablo Fernandez made his U.S. professional debut on Thursday night in Arizona.
Pablo Fernandez made his U.S. professional debut on Thursday night in Arizona.
Photo: EasyScout on YouTube

LOS ANGELES -- In a day that saw the Dodgers commit over $40 million in adding 14 minor league players to the organization, the focus Thursday night was on another high-priced addition from earlier this year. Dodgers right-handed pitcher Pablo Fernandez made his U.S. professional debut on Thursday night, throwing two scoreless innings for the Arizona Rookie League Dodgers at Camelback Ranch in Arizona.

Fernandez, signed to a minor league contract with the Dodgers with an $8 million bonus on May 19, retired all six batters he faced on Thursday against the AZL Brewers. The 25-year-old right-hander got a fly out then two swinging strikeouts in the first inning, then induced three ground outs in the second.

Fernandez pitched in multiple roles in his seven years in La Serie Nacional in Cuba, but the Dodgers plan to stretch him out as a starter. He has been at the Dodgers facility in Arizona since signing, but was briefly slowed by a setback.

"He was getting ramped up but had a little bit of shoulder stiffness so we backed him off. He's now thrown live batting practice. His last session was against Carl Crawford and some other guys," Dodgers senior vice president of baseball operations Josh Byrnes said on Thursday. "He's getting close to getting ready to go out to an affiliate."