Los Angeles Dodgers top pitching prospect Julio Urias was among the headliners in the group of non-roster invitees to Spring Training this year. He reported with pitchers catchers, but was slowed recently due to groin soreness.
The young lefty was kept off the mound for a few days, then returned earlier in the week to throw two innings of live batting practice. Urias didn’t report any soreness the following day and threw a bullpen session Wednesday.
The throwing schedule put Urias on track to make his 2016 Spring Training debut on Friday, when the Dodgers face the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Camelback Ranch.
Urias is going to enter out of the bullpen as Zach Lee received the nod to make his second start of the spring.
The two Minor Leaguers conceivably are competing for the fifth spot in the Dodgers rotation that’s now vacant due to Brett Anderson undergoing arthroscopic back surgery for a bulging disk.
Urias is the more heralded prospect between the two, and was recently praised by first-year manager Dave Roberts, via Bill Plunkett of the OC Register:
“He’s special. A special young man,” Roberts said after watching Urias’ live batting practice session Monday. “The repeatability of his mechanics for a young pitcher is impressive. The sharpness of his breaking ball, the late life of his fastball, the glove-side command with his fastball is pretty impressive. There’s a lot to like.”
Urias struck out the side in the seventh inning on Friday, then allowed three runs on three hits in the eighth. He exited with runners on the corners and outs. The 19-year-old highly-touted prospect said last month his goal is to reach the Majors this season.
Barring any unexpected change, Urias figures to join the Dodgers at some point; even if it’s in September once active rosters expand. In 13 starts with Double-A Tulsa last season, Urias went 3-4 with a 2.77 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and averaged 9.7 strikeouts per nine innings. His outings with Triple-A Oklahoma City at the end of the season didn’t produce similar results, as he was 0-1, and posted an 18.69 ERA and 3.92 WHIP over 4.1 innings pitched.
Lee and Urias are battling the likes of Brandon Beachy, Mike Bolsinger and Jose De Leon, among others, to join the Dodgers rotation out of Spring Training.