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Julio Urías uses his slurve, more zeroes for Jimmy Nelson

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Plus notes on Muncy, Betts, and many, many doubles

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

Julio Urías continued to stretch out, building toward what will almost certainly be a spot in the starting rotation to start the season. On Friday the left-hander tossed four scoreless innings with three strikeouts.

He also talked about a change in style to his curveball, one he made midway through the 2020 season.

“I kind of got rid of the overhand, 12-to-6 curveball, made it a little bit more of a slurve,” Urías said through an interpreter on Friday.

On average, Urías’ curve last season had the most horizontal movement vs. average in the majors, per Baseball Savant. Perusing the game logs at Brooks Baseball, it looks like during or after his August 19 start in Seattle, Urías’ ditched the vertical (12-to-6) movement in favor of a pitch that moved in a more sweeping horizontal manner.

Eno Sarris and Alex Fast demonstrated the changes visually last week, showing the old curve from Urías, followed by his slider, then the newer slurve, which is more of a hybrid of the two.

“It’s something that gets guys off the fastball. He can strike it. I like the shape of it,” manager Dave Roberts said. “He can put that ball on the ground if he wants to. I like it, and his changeup has really come on since the middle of last year, too.”

Half Nelson

Jimmy Nelson pitched two more scoreless innings, giving him a 0.00 ERA in seven frames this spring, allowing only one unearned run. He’s been so effective that Roberts told Kirsten Watson on SportsNet LA that Nelson on Friday “wasn’t as sharp as he was in previous outings, but still good.”

Nelson hasn’t pitched more than two innings in a game this spring, but Roberts said the non-roster invitee will pitch three innings in his next outing.

“He doesn’t need to be a starter to make our club,” Roberts said after the game.

Notes

  • Mookie Betts doubled and scored in the first inning, but only played two innings in right field before being replaced. He is not injured. “Yesterday was a big day. He was on the bases running around a lot,” Roberts said. “Today was the hottest day we’ve had, and for him to take two at-bats I thought that was good. He’s in a good place with his mechanics, and I just wanted to get him off his feet.”
  • The Dodgers hit eight doubles Friday, including two each by Edwin Ríos and Chris Taylor.
  • Max Muncy was 3-for-3 against Texas, matching his spring total in 27 at-bats entering Friday. “Max, when he’s going to the middle of the field, to the big part of the field, he’s at his best. When he starts to get too aggressive to the pull side, then he’s not so great,” Roberts said. “To see him use the big part of the field today I thought was really good.”
  • Dustin May starts for the Dodgers on Saturday in Peoria against the Padres.