Julio Urias certainly has the talent to have been part of the Los Angeles Dodgers starting rotation when the team broke camp last month. But he remained in extended Spring Training, without much indication — at least publicly — of what lied ahead.
The picture soon became clear, as Urias was said to be slated for a 2017 debut with Triple-A Oklahoma City. That came to fruition Monday, though not before the young left-hander first being included on the High-A Rancho Cucamonga Opening Day roster. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts explained it as nothing more than a paper move.
Urias, who pitched intermittently during the spring, struggled with his command against the Iowa Cubs. He issued four walks, had five strikeouts and was charged with two runs on two hits in 3.2 innings.
It’s presumed, but not confirmed, that Urias will make another start for Oklahoma City. As for joining the Dodgers, manager Dave Roberts suggested later this month as a potential timeframe, via Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:
“We want to build him up the right way and when he gets here he’ll be with us the rest of the way,” Roberts said. “He’s close. I think we’ll try to pick our spots and use him accordingly and when we do need him he’ll be ready. But we’re not ready to say when that day is going to be. Some time at the end of the month makes sense.”
Urias threw 79 pitches in his first start of the season. During Cactus League play he never completed more than 2.2 innings in a single appearance. That benchmark wasn’t reached until a final game (start) on March 28.
What is a certainty for Urias is that he again is working under an innings limit. Just like last year, the Dodgers have not revealed a set number or range for the prized pitching prospect.
During time with Oklahoma City and the Dodgers (playoffs included), Urias threw a career-high 127.2 innings. His previous high was 87.2 innings, set in 2014 in 25 games (20 starts) for the Quakes.