3/16/2014 2:20 A.M. ET
Withrow benefits with aggressive approach
By Tyler Emerick / MLB.com
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Expected to make the trip to Australia on Sunday evening, Dodgers right-hander Chris Withrow is happy to be leaving Arizona with two consecutive sharp outings under his belt following a shaky start to the spring.
In his first three Cactus League appearances, Withrow allowed four runs (three earned) on three hits and six walks over 4 1/3 innings. Recently, the righty attacked the zone more, resulting in a perfect inning of work on Wednesday against the D-backs followed by another clean frame on Friday vs. the Cubs.
"It's always good to get a couple good outings in a row," Withrow said. "Early on, you're trying to work on a few things, but after that it's good to kind of get on a roll before the season starts up so maybe you can continue and carry that on."
Withrow, who compiled a 2.60 ERA in 26 relief appearances for the Dodgers last year, has labored to limit his walk rate throughout his six seasons of pro ball and despite issuing seven free passes so far this spring, the 24-year-old flame-thrower believes he's making steady strides with his command.
"It's something I've struggled with my whole career, so it comes down to being more aggressive," Withrow said. "I have to make them put the ball in play. I've been feeling good and hopefully, I continue to improve."
Kershaw wraps up uncharacteristic spring
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dodgers Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw wrapped up a weird Spring Training with another frustrating start Saturday night.
"Obviously, I don't want a nine ERA (actually 9.21) in the regular season," said Kershaw, who starts Opening Night in Australia on March 22.
Kershaw made 86 pitches, which he said puts his count where it needs to be. Other than that, is he ready to face the Diamondbacks at Sydney Cricket Ground?
"I better, yeah, it's time to go," he said. "It's good to have games that count. We've practiced a lot, but haven't played a ton of actual games."
Kershaw finished the compressed Spring with 0-3 in four starts, 14 2/3 innings, 20 hits allowed, 10 strikeouts and five walks. Last Spring, he made seven starts, 28 innings, 30 hits allowed, 30 strikeouts and eight walks.
Saturday night, Kershaw was charged with five earned runs on eight hits with five strikeouts and a walk in 5 2/3 innings, but there was more to it than that. The first run came on Adam Eaton's inside-the-park homer that was misplayed by center fielder Joc Pederson.
The White Sox scored another run in the first inning, with Kershaw missing targets after sitting through a long, two-run top of the first. He then mowed through the White Sox lineup over the next four innings on one hit until the sixth, when he allowed a monster three-run homer to center field by Avisail Garcia.
"Physically, I feel 100 percent," he said. "It's time to start performing."
Jamey Wright, Paco Rodriguez and Jose Dominguez pitched after Kershaw, all for the second consecutive game. Dominguez now has eight scoreless innings. And Brian Wilson, who hadn't pitched in five days, returned with a scoreless inning.
Olivo asks for release, will seek Major League deal
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Non-roster catcher Miguel Olivo has asked the Dodgers for his release after being told he will not make Sunday night's flight to Australia for the season-opening series.
Olivo said the club asked him to accept a Minor League assignment, but he felt he played well enough to win a Major League roster spot and would seek one if released. He said he will not report to Minor League camp.
Olivo, 36, is an 11-year veteran of six organizations who had a strong spring with the Dodgers, hitting .263 with solid defense.
Without Olivo, the Dodgers might carry three catchers on the Opening Day 25-man roster -- starter A.J. Ellis, backup Tim Federowicz, as well as Drew Butera as insurance in case Ellis or Federowicz are injured in Australia.
Butera is out of options and if he doesn't make the Opening Day roster, he could be lost through waivers. It would be easier to get Butera through waivers and keep him in the Minor Leagues after the Dodgers return from Australia and other clubs have set their Opening Day rosters.
Crawford, Haren set to skip trip to Australia
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Although nothing is set in stone, the Dodgers' travel roster for their season-opening series in Australia got a bit clearer on Saturday as manager Don Mattingly laid out part of the club's tentative plan.
Barring injury or any other last minute extenuating circumstances, outfielder Carl Crawford and pitcher Dan Haren will not make the trip while Paul Maholm will serve as the club's extra starter, traveling as an emergency Plan B if anything should happen to scheduled starters Clayton Kershaw or Hyun-Jin Ryu.
Crawford is expecting the birth of his child any day and will be on paternity leave.
"The way I understand it, Carl's not going," Mattingly said.
As for Haren, he'll join Zack Greinke and another to be determined player as one of three Dodgers exempt from the Australia games but able to appear in the club's North American opener on March 30 in San Diego.
"As of right now, Haren won't be on the plane," Mattingly said. "Danny knows that. He also knows that anything could happen in the next two days."
In place of Crawford in left field, Mattingly said matchups will determine who will get the nod both days. So with D-backs left-hander Patrick Corbin slated to start the opener, the right-handed hitting Scott Van Slyke is likely to be penciled in for Game 1.
Mattingly also said the Dodgers will take three catchers to Australia: A.J. Ellis, Tim Federowicz and presumably, Drew Butera.
Urias tosses perfect frame in Cactus debut
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The middle of March marks the time of year when most teenagers are on spring break, washing away the stresses of school with a week of adolescent fun and relaxation.
But for 17-year-old Dodgers pitching phenom Julio Urias, his spring is a bit different. And on Saturday, he not only competed against, but also took down Major Leaguers all more than a decade his senior.
Starting against the Padres, Urias was dazzling in his debut before a sellout crowd of 13,232 fans at Camelback Ranch -- retiring all three batters he faced, including two on strikeouts. Urias' fastball was clocked between 93-96 mph.
Urias, who is ranked by MLB.com as the No. 64 prospect in baseball, was called over from Minor League camp early Saturday morning and received the start so he could warm up normally in the bullpen.
Urias didn't disappoint. Needing only 14 pitches in the first inning, the Mexican national struck out Will Venable on a fastball, induced Chris Denorfia into a weak grounder and punched out Yonder Alonso with a slider.
"I felt really happy, but also under control and not nervous at all," Urias said through a translator. "It has always been a dream of mine, I'm happy to be here with the Dodgers."
Among the family members in attendance to watch Urias' Cactus League debut was his father, Carlos, who played one year of professional ball as a catcher in Mexico. His grandfather used to tell him stories as a kid about Dodgers great Fernando Valenzuela, to whom the lefty has since been compared.
"It's just an honor to be mentioned with the best pitcher in Mexican history," Urias said.
Signed by the Dodgers at 16, Urias spent his first season in America with Class A Great Lakes last year, starting 18 games and compiling a 2.48 ERA with 67 strikeouts in 54 1/3 innings. Urias doesn't know where he'll begin this season, but he knows where he wants to end it.
"My goal is to finish in Major Leagues," he said.
If Urias does achieve that lofty objective before he turns 18 in August, he would join Charlie Osgood as the only Dodgers under 18 to pitch in a regular season game. Osgood accomplished the feat in 1944.
Urias, who said he's learning English, admitted that the culture change has been tough for him, but he said the support of his friends, family and coaches keeps him strong. And after Saturday, he now has the confidence that he can compete at the big league level one day.
"I feel prepared," Urias said. "When the opportunity presents itself, I'll be ready."
• Brandon League will throw in a Minor League game on Sunday on the back fields at Camelback Ranch. He worked in an intrasquad Minor League game on Friday, and manager Don Mattingly is encouraged with his progress after struggling in Cactus League action.
"We liked what happened yesterday and we think he's going in the right direction," Mattingly said. "We want to continue with that."
• Matt Kemp (ankle) was scheduled to play the field and take two at-bats in a Minor League game on Saturday.
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.