The last few years have been difficult for Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Julio Urias after undergoing shoulder surgery in 2017 that required over a year of recovery.
Urias is finally back to being 100 percent healthy, and he has looked better than ever this spring. In three Cactus League starts, Urias has allowed just one hit and one run in six innings while striking out six and walking one.
His fastball has consistently been around 94-95 mph, peaking at 97 mph his his last start. In what will be his first full season after the surgery, the Dodgers are placing an innings restriction on Urias to ensure that he stays healthy.
The exact plan for the 22-year-old has not yet been determined, but Dodgers manager Dave Roberts recently said they are going to continue building him up as a starter for the rest of the spring, via David Vassegh of AM 570 LA Sports:
Dave Roberts said if #Dodgers decided to use Julio Urias out of the bullpen to start the season they still have time in spring to give him reps needed to adjust. Urias remains in spring SP rotation.
"I think getting him on a regular starter regimen is what we want to do."
— David Vassegh (@THEREAL_DV) March 9, 2019
Earlier in the spring, Roberts said he would not rule out Urias beginning the season in the starting rotation, although that would require Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler or one of the other three established starters to be out.
If Kershaw and Buehler are both healthy enough to begin the season with the team, then Urias would either move to the bullpen, stay back at extended Spring TRaining or begin the year with Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Urias proved that he can be a valuable reliever at the end of last season, so having him in the bullpen as a long man that is ready to join the starting rotation whenever an injury happens could be a viable course of action for the Dodgers.