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Austin Barnes battling elbow soreness, limited to DH duties for first week of games

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers-Workout Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

PHOENIX — Elbow soreness will limit Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes to designated hitter for the first week or so of Cactus League games, which start on Friday afternoon against the White Sox at Camelback Ranch.

“We just have him on a throwing program,” manager Dave Roberts said Thursday. “Blocking, catching pens and all that stuff is good, but to get him in a game and try to throw a runner out potentially we just wanted to be cautious.”

Barnes said he injured his elbow in late January while throwing.

“I probably threw too much on my own,” he said. “I was just trying to iron some things out.”

After meeting with trainers, Barnes was put on a reduced throwing program, though he has still been able to do just about everything else. Barnes caught Kenta Maeda throwing live batting practice during workouts on Thursday, and had no issues throwing the ball back to his pitcher.

Barnes said he feels no discomfort anymore in his elbow, and the injury was never serious enough to get an MRI.

“They are just being a little bit precautionary,” Barnes said. “I could play in a game today.

“As a group we decided we would go a little slower. It sucks but what are you going to do about it? It’s better to take it slow right now than re-aggravate it and be out longer with the season coming up.”