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Maeda to begin prepping for bullpen role

Kenta Maeda will be used out of the bullpen to prepare for postseason

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego Padres Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES —— During today’s pregame media scrum, manager Dave Roberts went over some of the Dodgers plans as they start their preparations for the postseason.

The first bit of news was about a change of roles for right-handed pitcher Kenta Maeda.

“Well Kenta is, he is available out of the pen today,” Roberts said, “With him, I have no problem pitching him in leverage to finish out a game, so there is a situation where we could see him following Walker tonight and finishing the game out. Kenley is down tonight, Pedro is down tonight, and we’ll see what happens going forward.”

“Could he make another start, yes, but for the time being we will see Kenta out of the pen just to prepare him for leveraged innings in the postseason.”

In relation to this move, Roberts said that left-handed pitcher Julio Urías will start on tomorrow against the Rockies. Urías was reinstated from the restricted list today after he had served his 20 game suspension under Major League Baseball’s Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy.

“It is great to have Julio back, obviously going through the suspension and learning from what had happened and learning from his mistakes,” Roberts said, “he’s definitely learned from it, so on the off-field stuff, very contrite, on the on-field, he’s done a great job keeping his body and his mind focused on playing and I know he is excited about being back here with his teammates and helping us win baseball games.”

Roberts said Urías will start tomorrow [Tuesday] and he’ll be three innings/45 pitches situation.

Updates on Dustin May and Rich Hill

Roberts spoke about the status of pitchers Dustin May and Rich Hill today.

The news was encouraging about Dustin May, who had been struck by a line drive in the head on Sunday.

“So I think there is another concussion test today but in talking to him, doctors, he’s in a good place,” Roberts said, “there’s a little soreness with the neck, I think that is more of a byproduct of hitting the ground, kind of being in a mini car accident but as far as the ball off of the head, kind of the glove/head, just a little bit of soreness, but he’s fine, played catch today. So we’ll figure out when we get him back.”

Rich Hill continued to prepare for a return to the Dodgers with some more pitching today.

“Rich threw about 35 pitches today, fastball, curveball, he did an up and down, which is good,” Roberts said, “so I think the next progression is for him to face some hitters here and that will be on Friday possibly Saturday, but our goal we’re shooting for Friday and it will be up and down, face some hitters and see where he goes from there.”

Dodgers will use A.J. Pollock in corner outfield positions this month

“The thought of that is as you look and understand that Cody could play more centerfield going forward,” Roberts said, “and there’s a workload part of it where we played him a lot at first place just to kind of manage him being out there nearly every day.”

“But if you look at the middle towards the end of September, postseason, there’s a good scenario, where we could see Cody as far as the most range out there in centerfield, play centerfield, and to have Max potentially at first base.”

“To then now, A.J. keeping him in the lineup, to move him over to leftf ield, and to give him repetitions over there,” Roberts said, “makes sense. To pivot down the road and to not do it without giving A.J. repetitions out there, I don’t think is very responsible so we’re going to do that. A.J.’s on board, which is no surprise, he’s all about whatever it takes to help us win games.”

Max Muncy and Alex Verdugo progressing

Roberts said that outfielder Alex Verdugo is scheduled to start tonight at Ogden as he begins his rehab assignment with the Dodgers Rookie League affiliate. He hopes to have Verdugo join the team in Baltimore next week.

Max Muncy had not begun swinging a bat prior to today’s media scrum but Roberts is again hopeful that Muncy will join the team in Baltimore next week.

Roberts also said that Muncy’s injury did open the door for Gavin Lux to start playing for Los Angeles as it gave him a runway to get some playing time.

“With Max, we”re hopeful to get him back, not miss a beat,” Roberts said, “but when you are talking about a fracture in the wrist, there’s no guarantee, to give Gavin the opportunity to take at-bats, which he’s earned, makes sense.”

Gavin Lux to start against right-handed pitchers for now

There will be more on Gavin Lux’s first day later but for now, Roberts said that while he will use Chris Taylor and Kiké Hernández also at second base this month, his current plan is to have Lux start against right-handed pitching.

Turner getting a day-off will be back in the lineup tomorrow

Matt Beaty got the start today at third base, Roberts said this just an example of roster management.

“Justin, five days in a row, he’ll be down today, available off the bench,” Roberts said, “Matt’s played a good amount of third base throughout his entire career, so to give him an opportunity over there and get Justin back in there for the next two is our thought.”