Despite common perception, Los Angeles Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman has parted with some of the organization’s more notable prospects over recent seasons. In 2017, that entailed packaging Willie Calhoun in a trade with the Texas Rangers to acquire Yu Darvish.
While Calhoun was one of the Dodgers’ top ranked prospects at the time, he profiled as a better fit for the American League. Plus, Darvish was viewed as a key piece to help the Dodgers end the franchise’s World Series drought.
How that ultimately unfolded of course is marred by the Houston Astros’ cheating scandal, and Calhoun has yet to establish himself as an everyday player in the Majors. On Sunday the Dodgers faced Calhoun and the Rangers at Surprise Stadium.
But his afternoon came to an unfortunate early end when a fastball got away from Julio Urias and struck Calhoun in the face. Urias was visibly shaken by the incident and said he struggled to continue pitching, per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
“In the second inning, I really had a hard time and I didn’t feel like myself out there,” said Urías. “I’ve never been in a situation like that. It was really hard. I just really didn’t feel like it was me out there.”
Beyond simply hitting a batter in the face and causing bleeding, the situation was all the more difficult for Urias because it occurred to his former Triple-A Oklahoma City teammate:
“We’ve known each other since we were in the Minor Leagues together,” Urías said of Calhoun. “He was always one of the teammates I had a good relationship with, him and Alex Verdugo.”
Calhoun immediately went down into a crouch and blood spilled from his mouth. Rangers manager Chris Woodward, a trainer and Joey Gallo huddled around Calhoun, who was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital.
He never lost consciousness and was later diagnosed with a fractured jaw.
Urias did manage to settle in some as he allowed just one hit, issued a walk and collected three strikeouts over three scoreless innings. He exited with a 4-0 lead but the Rangers came back in the middle innings for a 9-8 win.
The start was Urias’ first of Spring Training and his second overall appearance. The 23-year-old is expected to be the fourth starter in the Dodgers’ Opening Day rotation.
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