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Dodgers notes: Chris Taylor nearing return, Julio Urías starts Friday in New York

Los Angeles Dodgers v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES — Dodgers utility man Chris Taylor could be activated off the injured list on Friday, when the team opens a nine-game road trip with a series against the Mets at Citi Field in New York, about three weeks after landing on the injured list with right knee soreness.

Taylor played five innings in left field in the Arizona Complex League on Friday, and had a single and walk in his three plate appearances. The Dodgers’ ACL team doesn’t play again until next Thursday, but the plan is for Taylor to bat in simulated situations through this weekend.

“He’ll have an All-Star break, like everyone,” manager Dave Roberts said. “He’ll get some at-bats, some simulate things we’ll put together, but as far as games, I don’t think he needs any more.”

It will be interesting to see the corresponding roster move when Taylor is activated. Roberts on Friday said of the possibility of the slumping Miguel Vargas getting optioned, “I think everything should be on the table.” But there’s also utility infielder Yonny Hernández, whose only appearance in the last six games came on the mound, pitching at the end of last Sunday’s blowout loss in Kansas City.

On the mound

Julio Urías will start Friday in the series opener against the Mets, but the rest of the rotation order is to be determined.

Saturday, July 15 is the first day Clayton Kershaw is eligible to return from the injured list. Kershaw, who was placed on the IL Monday with left shoulder soreness, has thrown this week, but only a handful of pitches off of a mound. Roberts said he didn’t yet know whether Kershaw would pitch against the Mets, and that the left-hander won’t need to face hitters before getting activated.

“He’ll just take his break, and see what we do from there,” Roberts said.

Emmet Sheehan, who started Tuesday against the Pirates, and Bobby Miller, who started on Wednesday, each faced hitters in a simulated inning on Saturday as a final send-off before the All-Star break.

Sheehan faced Vargas and Hernández.

“His stuff is electric. He has a live fastball,” Roberts said. “He sort of had his way with our hitters.”

Following Sheehan on the mound was Miller, but rather than face any active Dodgers, instead he pitched to hitting coach Aaron Bates and Roberts. Neither swung the bat, by design, though Roberts insisted beforehand that he hadn’t yet decided whether or not to swing.

Roberts used David Peralta’s batting helmet and Austin Barnes’ bat while hitting.

A reporter quipped, “No wonder you didn’t swing,” alluding to Barnes’ 10 hits in 96 at-bats this season, hitting .104/.194/.125 with a minus-5 wRC+.

“I’ll leave that one alone,” said a diplomatic Roberts.