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Dodgers returning to health, face Royals

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

PHOENIX -- Alex Wood gets the start for the Dodgers on Thursday afternoon against the Royals at Camelback Ranch.

Named the fourth starter by manager Dave Roberts on Thursday morning, Wood is expected to pitch four innings or roughly 60 pitches after getting scratched from his Saturday start with left forearm soreness. That may be a little ambitious, depending on how his bullpen session went, but one would figure at least three innings out of Wood on Thursday.

Also scheduled to pitch for the Dodgers aside from Wood on Thursday are J.P. Howell, Chris Hatcher, Pedro Baez, Kenley Jansen and Louis Coleman.

Ross Stripling is also listed but given the sheer volume of pitchers on Thursday either his innings will be limited or he might have to get some work on the minor league side.

Kris Medlen starts for the Royals, making Camelback Ranch a Braves Throwback Thursday of sorts on the mound.

Various Dodgers are returning to health slowly but surely. Carl Crawford, out a couple days with back soreness, starts in left field, batting leadoff. He last played on Saturday. a Alex Guerrero gets the call at third base after being limited to hitting in his last two appearances. Guerrero, who missed eight days' worth of games dealing with left knee soreness, last played in the field on March 3.

Justin Turner will be back at third base on Friday when the Dodgers battle the Diamondbacks at Salt River Fields, his third game of the week, and Howie Kendrick will start at second base on Friday after dealing with right groin soreness for nearly two weeks.

Austin Barnes gets the call at second base again for the Dodgers, the second time in three days the catcher has started at second.

"Austin gives us a lot of roster flexibility, to be able to catch, to play second, maybe some third base, he gives us some options," Roberts said. "We wanted to put eyes on him."

Minor leaguers in uniform for the Dodgers on Thursday are pitchers A.J. Vanegas (No. 90) and Josh Sborz (91).