After weeks of putting off the decision out of necessity, the Los Angeles Dodgers appear to have reached the point of shutting down Julio Urias. Manager Dave Roberts said after his club’s victory over the Baltimore Orioles that the prized prospect was bound for Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Rather than include him in the roster shuffling once Hyun-Jin Ryu returns later in the week, Roberts indicated Urias could be sent down as early as Tuesday. “We haven’t decided on the corresponding move yet,” the rookie manager said.
Urias’ presumed final outing with the Dodgers for the foreseeable future was hardly a storybook ending. He was chased with one out in the fourth inning and charged with five runs.
The 19-year-old threw 75 pitches, including 37 in the second inning, and finished with just three strikeouts — Urias’ lowest total since his Major League debut on May 27.
“Unfortunately I struggled some, but the good thing is the team was able to come back,” he said through an interpreter after the game. “The strike zone was a little tight. That’s not an excuse. I have to keep working hard on my fastball, slider and curveball.”
Urias faced a potent Orioles club that leads the Majors with 128 home runs. The outing was also his fifth in eight starts where he pitched against a team with at least a share of the division lead.
“I told the pitching coach and manager that I was able to see what I can do,” Urias said of his starts against the New York Mets, Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants, Washington Nationals and Orioles.
He also took news of being sent down in stride and expressed an understanding in the Dodgers’ decision. “The decision is one I have to face. I’m happy to go work and come back,” he said. Urias did not yet know the specifics of what lies ahead.
The organization has openly stated they are capping Urias’ innings this season but haven’t revealed a specific number. Including time spent with Oklahoma City, Urias has thrown 77.1 innings this season. He tossed 80.1 in 2015, and a career-high 87.2 innings with High-A Rancho Cucamonga in 2014.
Usage and logistics suggest the Dodgers will temporarily replace Urias with a relief pitcher. Their bullpen, while continuing to answer the bell, has been taxed recently. Luis Avilan and Carlos Frias are both fresh arms who are on the 40-man roster.