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Brandon Morrow to open regular season in minors

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Dodgers paid RHP a retention bonus on Tuesday

MLB: Spring Training-Los Angeles Dodgers at Texas Rangers Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

PHOENIX — Relief pitcher Brandon Morrow won’t make the Dodgers opening day roster, but the right-hander will remain with the organization in the minors to start the season.

Manager Dave Roberts said on Tuesday that the veteran will stay with the Dodgers for the Freeway Series against the Angels, but will start the season in the minors, almost certainly in Triple-A Oklahoma City.

“It’s huge that Brandon wants to be here,” Roberts said. “To have him on our roster is a huge luxury for us.”

Morrow had a productive spring as a non-roster invitee, throwing consistently in the mid-90s with a sharp slider, in his healthiest spring in two years.

“I think I’ve been throwing the ball really well. I’m showing that I’m healthy, and that I can be a weapon in a one-inning situation,” Morrow said last week. “That’s what I came here to do.”

As a major league free agent who signed a minor league contract, Tuesday was the deadline per the collective bargaining agreement to either add Morrow to the active roster, release him, or pay him a $100,000 retention bonus to remain in the minors.

Morrow has an opt-out date of June 1, per Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times.

The Dodgers had 23 different pitchers pitch in relief in 2016, including 12 different pitchers appear at least 20 times in relief.

“He made the point that he’s a major league pitcher, and we expect him to throw some innings for us,” Roberts said.