Dodgers News: Future Remains Unclear For Julio Urias

Seemingly at least one year in the making, the time has come for Julio Urias to join the Los Angeles Dodgers for his Major League debut. All the protection and coddling there’s been throughout his young professional career gets thrown out the window Friday night.

On top of making his MLB debut, Urias faces the challenge of starting against the reigning National League champion New York Mets at Citi Field. The simple fact of the 19-year-old lefty taking a Major League mound this season is far from a surprise.

Urias’ arrival in 2016 has long been expected. However, the manner in which it is taking place doesn’t align the Dodgers’ suggested philosophy.

Working under an innings/pitch limit with Triple-A Oklahoma City, conventional wisdom had Urias coming out of the bullpen once the club felt the timing for a call-up was right or necessary.

Nevertheless, Alex Wood’s left triceps soreness, which isn’t believed to be serious, has created a window of opportunity for Urias. However, how long the prized prospect remains with the club and under what capacity remains up in the air.

Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said the organization is leaning toward utilizing Urias as a starter and reliever, but added the strategy is not set in stone, according to Bill Plunkett of the OC Register:

“You can take a break at certain points in the season and come back out. You could just max it all out and then obviously he’d be done. Or you can have stints of a starter’s workload and then use him in a controlled way in the bullpen. … My sense is balancing between the rotation and bullpen is what’s going to end up being the route we go. But obviously at this point there’s a lot that’s up in the air.”

Although Urias has started 63 of his 69 career games, he’s open to coming out of the bullpen for the Dodgers. A caveat to that is, he’d like to gain more experience in that role in the Minors before assuming it with the Dodgers.