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Miguel Vargas is swinging the bat now, and sees results right away

Doubled in his first at-bat Thursday

MLB: Spring Training-Los Angeles Dodgers Photo Day Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It turns out, having six position players from the active roster away for a week or so is detrimental to the offense. Runs have been at a premium the last two days for the Dodgers, who have scored two runs in the last two days. None came Thursday in a 1-0 loss to the A’s.

But there was one glaring positive for Dodgers hitters in this one.

Miguel Vargas swung at seven of the 13 pitches he saw on Thursday, and nobody could blame him for doing so, as this was the first game he’s been allowed to swing all spring training, while dealing with a hairline fracture in his right pinkie.

Vargas on Thursday did damage right away, doubling in the left center field gap off A’s starter Adam Oller in the first inning.

Before Wednesday, Vargas played in six spring training games and even though opponents knew he wouldn’t be swinging, the Dodgers second baseman still managed to draw four walks in his 12 plate appearances with the bat all but glued to his right shoulder. Davy Andrews at FanGraphs had an entertaining look at Vargas and his approach while not being allowed to swing.

Vargas had one of only six hits by the Dodgers offense on Thursday.

He fouled three pitches off, missed with two of his swings, and put two in play on Thursday, going 1-for-3 with a popout and strikeout. Vargas swung at four of the five pitches in his first at-bat, which ended with his double.

“I was so excited to come here today,” Vargas told Kirsten Watson during the SportsNet LA broadcast. “I’m glad I am back, swinging.”

For starters

Ryan Pepiot continued his impressive start to spring training, striking out four in his three scoreless frames. His 55 pitches are the most by a Dodgers pitcher in a single outing this spring. Pepiot worked around a double and two singles. He also walked one, his only free pass in six innings this spring, to go with nine strikeouts.

The walk was to A’s first baseman Ryan Noda, who was selected from the Dodgers in the Rule 5 Draft in December. It’s been a three-true-outcome spring for Noda, who hit .259/.395/.474 with a 120 wRC+, 25 home runs, 20 stolen bases, and a team-leading 92 walks for Triple-A Oklahoma City last season. Noda also walked against Victor González Thursday, and this spring has 11 strikeouts, seven walks, and a home run, accounting for 19 of his 26 plate appearances (73 percent).

Pepiot has allowed only one run in six innings this spring, and he’s not alone among Dodgers starting pitchers in the early going. Julio Urías, Tony Gonsolin, Dustin May, and Noah Syndergaard — who were expected rotation members to start the season — plus Pepiot and Michael Grove have combined to allow four runs in 30⅔ innings so far in spring training, good for a sparkling 1.17 ERA.

Dodgers starting rotation this spring

Urías 6.7 5 1 1 0 5 1.35 0.750
Grove 6.0 2 1 1 0 5 1.50 0.333
Pepiot 6.0 7 1 1 1 9 1.50 1.333
Syndergaard 5.0 1 0 0 0 4 0.00 0.200
May 4.7 3 1 1 3 6 1.93 1.286
Gonsolin 2.3 3 0 0 2 2 0.00 2.143
Totals 30.7 21 4 4 6 31 1.17 0.880
Through March 9

Up next

Clayton Kershaw will join that starting group Friday, making his 2023 Cactus League debut against the Angels at Camelback Ranch (12:05 p.m. PT, SportsNet LA). Kershaw last pitched Sunday in a B game, throwing three innings on the backfields against the White Sox.