While the Los Angeles Dodgers publicly maintained for multiple weeks during Spring Training that Julio Urias was competing for a spot in the Opening Day rotation, their handling of the precious young lefty told a different story.
Urias never threw more than 2.2 innings in any of his five Cactus League games (three starts). Sure enough, he remained at Camelback Ranch when the Dodgers broke camp. Urias was included on the High-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes Opening Day roster, but made his 2017 debut with Triple-A Oklahoma City.
One week into the regular season, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Urias joining the team by the end of April made “sense.” On Saturday, the second-year manager acknowledged Urias could start for Los Angeles next week against the San Francisco Giants, per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
“He might,” a coy Roberts said before Saturday night’s game against the D-backs. “Cryptic. We’ll see. That start yesterday was the way it was supposed to look.”
Urias threw 93 pitches over 5.2 shutout innings in his third start for OKC this season. He had six strikeouts, allowed two hits and issued three walks in game that was suspended in the eighth inning because a bank of lights went out at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
Prior to the Friday start, Urias threw 3.2 innings in his debut, and 4.2 innings in a second start. He’s pitched to a 1.93 ERA and has 15 strikeouts in 14 innings.
Urias is lined up to take the mound Wednesday, which would allow the Dodgers to place Alex Wood into a weary bullpen. However, Roberts intimated Kenta Maeda’s immediate future is unclear, and Urias starting on Thursday in place of the right-hander would mean taking the mound on five days’ rest.
No matter what the Dodgers decide, the 20-year-old is again working under an innings limit so that the team can utilize him down the stretch of the regular season and for potential playoff games. Urias threw a career-high 127.2 innings last season.