The Los Angeles Dodgers reinstated Julio Urias from the restricted list on Monday, which was the first day he was eligible to return from a 20-game suspension. He was credited for previously missing five games while placed on administrative leave.
“It’s great to have Julio back. Going through the suspension, learning from his mistakes, he’s definitely learned it,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “On the off-field stuff, he’s very contrite. On the field, he’s done a great job keeping his body and mind focused on playing.”
Now Urias is scheduled to start Tuesday against the Colorado Rockies. The start is Urias’ first since July 30, when he faced the Rockies at Coors Field.
Still not built up as a normal starter, he only pitched into the third inning and allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits. Urias is projected to go 45 pitches or three innings on Tuesday, and will stretch out over the remainder of the regular season.
“Right now we know that he can pitch out of the ‘pen, so there’s also the factor of building him up and getting the pitch count up,” Roberts explained.
“To go three (innings) and 45 (pitches), and then to see Julio make another start after that, that’s a four (innings) and 60 (pitches) and then we’ll know more once we go from there.
“We’ve talked about all year long with Julio. There’s a line between building him up and having a good jumping off point for next year. With all that’s transpired we still have an opportunity to build him up.”
Upon accepting a 20-game suspension from MLB for violating the league’s domestic violence policy, Urias reported to Camelback Ranch to continue working out and begin building his pitch count as a starter.
He went two innings in a start for High-A Rancho Cucamonga last week. Urias is 4-3 with four saves, a 2.53 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in 27 games (six starts) this season.
Because of season-ending shoulder surgery in 2017, the bulk of Urias’ appearances have come out of the bullpen the past two seasons. However, the Dodgers have maintained they view the young left-hander as a starting pitcher for the long-term.
Urias being inserted into the rotation on Tuesday bumps Kenta Maeda into the bullpen, where he is expected to remain into the postseason. With that, the Dodgers’ pitching staff is slowly beginning to take shape.
Rich Hill continues to make progress in his recovery from a flexor strain and if he manages to return as expected, he will hold the inside track to being the fourth starter come the playoffs. Should Hill suffer any sort of setback, however, it appears Urias may be next in line.
The Dodgers also have candidates in Tony Gonsolin and Dustin May, both of whom continue to audition as starters and with pitching out of the bullpen.