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Kenta Maeda sharp in 3rd spring start

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MLB: Spring Training-Texas Rangers at Los Angeles Dodgers Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

PHOENIX — Kenta Maeda struck out four in his three innings of work on Friday in the Dodgers’ 6-4 win over the Royals at Camelback Ranch.

After allowing a leadoff home run to Whit Merrifield, Maeda scattered a walk and two singles but was otherwise unscathed for the rest of his outing. He pitched a fourth, simulated inning in the bullpen.

“It was a little rough around the edges in the first inning but I got my feel back and it was pretty good afterwards,” Maeda said.

Friday was the third start of the Cactus League for Maeda, who has a 2.45 ERA with eight strikeouts and two walks in 7⅓ innings. In his start against Kansas City Maeda said he was working particularly on his changeup, a pitch he threw 8.7% of the time in 2017.

“It was awesome,” Maeda said. “It felt great coming out of my hand.”

Muncy sidelined

Non-roster utility man Max Muncy is sidelined with a mild oblique strain, first reported by Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, and is expected to miss a few more days.

“It’s disappointing for him and for us because he was really having a good camp,” Roberts said. “He can do a lot of things on both sides of the field. Like him in the batters box obviously.”

Muncy last played on March 2, and is 4-for-14 with two doubles and a triple this spring. He hit .309/.414/.491 with 20 doubles and 12 home runs in 109 games for Triple-A Oklahoma City in 2017. The left-handed batter played mostly third base (48 starts) and first base (19 starts) last year but also saw time at second base, right field and left field.

So far this spring Muncy has played 16 innings at third base, 16 innings at first and four innings at second base.

“The position I like most is hitting,” Muncy said earlier in camp. “As long as they get me out there in the field it doesn’t matter where I’m at.”

Up next

Rich Hill starts for the Dodgers on Saturday night against the Cubs, a 6:05 p.m. PT start at Camelback Ranch. Old friend Luke Farrell starts on the mound for Chicago.

With Hyun-jin Ryu slotted for Sunday, the Dodgers rotation order looks pretty much set for the beginning of the year, with Hill and Ryu following Clayton Kershaw, Alex Wood and Maeda. The caveat is that there are still two off days remaining in camp (March 13 and March 21) so there is still time for maneuvering before the regular season opens on Thursday, March 29.