There was little doubt Los Angeles Dodgers top pitching prospect Julio Urias would make his Major League debut season. However, that it would come May 27 against the New York Mets at Citi Field was far from expected.
Urias’ spot start was in result to the club running short on options as injuries continued to mount. The 19-year-old lefty was optioned back to Triple-A Oklahoma City the day after his outing, only to return for another start less than one week later.
From that point forward, Los Angeles largely kept Urias on a start-to-start basis. There was talk of shutting him down in late June, then a reversal of sorts in that decision, with the expectation becoming for Urias to remain in the rotation up to the All-Star break.
However, Urias was optioned to Oklahoma City to clear room for Brandon McCarthy’s return. At the time it became apparent he would be sent down, Urias said he wasn’t sure what the immediate future held in store.
According to Andy McCullough of LA Times, the Dodgers have elected to use Urias as a reliever and starter:
To curtail the innings of Dodgers prospect Julio Urias and expand his versatility for later in the season, the team will assign him a role pitching out of the bullpen for triple-A Oklahoma City. Urias also will make some starts, Manager Dave Roberts said, but the team will administer strict pitch counts to those outings.
When it appeared the Dodgers were considering calling up Urias as a means to address their shaky bullpen, he expressed a desire to first work in that capacity with Oklahoma City in order to gain experience.
Urias appeared out of the bullpen on Sunday, had one strikeout and allowed one hit. Aside from starting in each of his Major-League appearances, the young lefty has started 63 of 69 career Minor League experiences.