Coming off a season in which injuries required they utilize Julio Urias more aggressively than intended, the Los Angeles Dodgers had a methodical plan in place for their precocious left-hander.
He was eased into a throwing program after reporting to camp, fell behind other pitchers due to illness, and was subsequently earmarked to begin the season in extended Spring Training. Urias was eventually optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City and expected to remain with the Dodgers upon joining the team at the end of April.
However, inconsistency and subpar results led to Urias being sent back to Oklahoma City. It was there that he suffered a shoulder injury that required season-ending anterior capsule surgery.
Urias admitted to feeling a swing of emotions amid news of needing to undergo the operation but is now focused on his return to the mound, per Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:
“I had a lot of emotions,” the 20-year-old left-hander said of his reaction to the news that he would need season-ending shoulder surgery. “You feel sadness. You feel angry. Everything goes through your head. You think about your career. You think about everything that you’ve done to get to that point. I tried to get out of that stage as fast as I could. Now I feel very motivated and ready to work every day.”
At the time of revealing Urias was bound for surgery, the Dodgers projected a timetable of 12 to 14 months. At best, that has him returning at the end of next June.
President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman stressed the club would err on the side of caution with the recovery process. Despite the long road ahead, Friedman noted there was optimism because Urias’ injury was acute and not a product of workload.
What’s more, Dr. Neal ElAttrache was encouraged and pleased with the procedure after repairing Urias’ throwing shoulder. Urias threw a combined 54.2 innings this season, which was his lowest total since throwing 54.1 over 18 starts with Low-A Great Lakes in his first professional season in 2013.