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Dodgers shut out by Cubs in first spring loss

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Jimmy Nelson throws to a Chicago Cubs batter during the first inning of a spring training baseball game Thursday, March 4, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Dodgers pitcher Jimmy Nelson throws to a Chicago Cubs batter during the first inning of a spring training game Thursday, March 4, 2021, in Phoenix. (Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press)

Cubs 7, Dodgers 0 (seven innings)

ON THE MOUND: Jimmy Nelson, who sat out 2020 because of lower-back surgery and missed all of 2018 and most of 2019 because of shoulder and elbow injuries, yielded an unearned run, one hit and struck out one in a one-inning start. “It was a lot of hard work, long days and sacrifices,” said Nelson, who mixed a 94 mph fastball with a nice slider. “It was nice to get back out there and come out of it healthy. This is the best I’ve felt since 2017.” Blake Treinen and Victor González each struck out two in one-two-three innings. Top prospect Josiah Gray struck out two in a scoreless second before giving up a solo homer to Michael Hermosillo to cap a nine-pitch at-bat in the third. Edwin Uceta was roughed up for four runs and seven hits, including homers by Austin Romine and Ian Happ, in two innings that were rolled over.

AT THE PLATE: The Dodgers’ first loss of the spring did not feature much offense. Corey Seager, AJ Pollock, Edwin Rios, Zach McKinstry and Sheldon Neuse were the only starters who had hits, all singles. Leadoff man Mookie Betts struck out twice — one looking, one swinging — in two plate appearances.

EXTRA BASES: Center fielder Cody Bellinger, who is recovering from surgery on his right (non-throwing) shoulder, is hitting on the field and participating in defensive and baserunning drills. He is yet to face live pitching but is “progressing really well,” manager Dave Roberts said. … Left-hander David Price, who is returning after opting out of the 2020 season, threw live batting practice Wednesday and will complete another bullpen workout before pitching in a game, most likely early next week.

UP NEXT: Clayton Kershaw is scheduled to throw two innings in his spring debut against Kansas City at Surprise Stadium at noon PST. Right-hander Brad Keller will start for the Royals. TV: SportsNet LA. Radio: AM 570 and AM 1020.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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