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Julio Urías, Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman all sharp heading into World Baseball Classic

Dodgers ace pitches 4 scoreless innings in second start of spring

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

Several big-name Dodgers will leave within a day or two to join their respective World Baseball Classic teams. But on Sunday, the biggest trio of WBC-bound Dodgers all shined in am 8-4 win over the White Sox.

The Dodgers haven’t officially announced their opening day starter, but it would be a surprise if it isn’t Julio Urías. Especially after last year’s third-place Cy Young finish and Game 1 start in the NLDS, and how manager Dave Roberts has referred to Urías as his staff workhorse who is expected to lead the team in innings.

To that end, Urías is the most built-up among Dodgers pitchers, including four scoreless innings on Sunday. He worked around three singles, only one of which left the infield, and struck out one. That Urías threw even 49 pitches was thanks in part to White Sox second baseman Lenyn Sosa fouling off six pitches in a 12-pitch at-bat to open the third inning.

Urías likely has three more exhibition starts remaining, the first of which is expected to be next Saturday in Mexico’s opening game of the World Baseball Classic. That leaves ample time to be ready to pitch deep on March 30, when the Dodgers open the regular season against the Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium.

Right behind Urías on the readiness scale is Clayton Kershaw, even though he has yet to appear in a Cactus League game. But Kershaw, who won’t go to the WBC as originally planned, on Sunday morning pitched three innings in a B game on the backfields at Camelback Ranch.

Mookie Betts is also headed to the WBC this week for Team USA, and had a nice showing on both offense and defense on Sunday.

He homered to lead off the game, just as he did Wednesday against the Rangers in Surprise. Both of Betts’ hits this spring are home runs. After his Sunday blast, off Lucas Giolito, Betts was interviewed immediately in the Dodgers dugout by Kirsten Watson of SportsNet LA.

“I just saw a white thing coming over the plate, and I decided to swing at it,” Betts said. Luckily I hit it.”

Betts played his second game in a row at second base, and even robbed former Red Sox teammate Andrew Benintendi of a base hit with a diving stop and a force play in the fourth inning.

Freddie Freeman hit a two-run home run in the fifth inning, his team-leading third of spring training. Earlier Sunday, the first baseman was decked out in Team Canada gear in the Dodgers clubhouse.

Up next

The Dodgers have one more game before their first off day of the spring. On Monday they host the Padres (SportsNet LA, 12:05 p.m. PT), with Noah Syndergaard on the mound to start things off.