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By Jon Weisman

There was plenty of action in today’s 7-5 Dodger loss to the Cubs, but the marquee attraction in the “Have You Seen This Before?” Department was … no, not Sergio Santos’ four-strikeout inning, but the fact that he had a 1-3 strikeout on a pitch that caromed back to him before he threw the batter/runner out at first.

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Santos, who today allowed his first run in five Cactus League innings (he has given up three hits and no walks while striking out eight), wasn’t the only pitcher who had to dazzle in the field. Dustin McGowan made a face-saving grab in the eighth.

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McGowan joined Adam Liberatore, Mike Adams and Josh Ravin in throwing shutout innings of relief today for the Dodgers, after Brandon McCarthy was properly humbled in his four-inning, eight-hit, six-run start.

“I kind of like sometimes failing in spring because it gives you a better idea of what you need to do,” McCarthy told Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles. “It kind of takes off the bulletproof sheen that you get in the offseason of, ‘I’m going to win the Cy Young this year and everything’s going to be where I want it,’ and you realize right away it’s still just as hard as you remember.”

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Adams’ second outing as a Dodger was a distinct improvement over the former Philadelphia reliever’s first.

“When I got home (Saturday), my little boy told me I wasn’t a very good pitcher,” Adams told Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. “He was legitimately mad at me. I thought I had it rough in Philly.”

On offense, Andre Ethier had probably his best at-bat of the spring, driving a double to the wall in left-center …

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… but it came on a day that Joc Pederson missed a cycle by only a triple. Here’s Pederson’s three-run home run, hit in virtually the same direction as Ethier’s drive.

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“What I like with Joc right now is that he’s staying in the middle of the field more. Early on he was a little bit pull-happy,” Don Mattingly told Eric Stephen of ESPN Los Angeles. “He seems to be getting himself a good pitch to hit and that’s the key more than anything.”

Said Pederson, to Mike Bauman of MLB.com: “I think it comes from preparation. I’ve been working hard with Mark McGwire and the other hitting coaches to best prepare myself. I think the preparation leads into the in-game results.

After today’s game, the Dodgers optioned Scott Schebler and also reassigned Corey Seager, Darnell Sweeney, Buck Britton, Shawn Zarraga and Chris O’Brien to minor league camp.