Having thrown a career-high 127.2 innings last season during time with Triple-A Oklahoma City and the Los Angeles Dodgers, postseason included, there was some expectation Julio Urias would assume a larger role this season.
However, the organization made it clear Urias would face another season with an innings limit in place. He nonetheless reported to Spring Training part of the conversation to earn one of the available spots in the Dodgers’ rotation.
But the likelihood of him being with the Dodgers on Opening Day quickly became a long shot. Urias threw just 8.1 innings in five Cactus League games, making three starts. He never threw more than 2.2 innings during an appearance.
Urias was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City, but remains in extended Spring Training and will first pitch in a simulated game, per Andy McCullough of the L.A. Times:
The team still intends to stash Urias in extended spring training for at least one outing, a simulated game slated for next week at Camelback Ranch that will occur before Oklahoma City opens the season on April 6. From there, the team will determine whether Urias should continue to pitch in Arizona or shift to facing Pacific Coast League competition.
While the Dodgers made it clear Urias would not be in their rotation, the organization has not provided any details as to what their plan is for the young left-hander. Should they decide to keep Urias in extended Spring Training, he will need to be placed on the Minor League disabled list.
Ross Stripling was in a similar position last June when the Dodgers optioned him to the Minors as a means to conserve innings. Stripling made one start for Oklahoma City, then was put on the DL with lower body fatigue.
Whatever course of action the Dodgers take with Urias, the club has made it clear they will count on him during the latter stages of the regular season and into the postseason.