The Los Angeles Dodgers recently lost one of their best pitchers for the next few weeks as Major League Baseball announced Julio Urias was suspended 20 games for violating the domestic violence policy.
Urias accepted the suspension without appeal and expressed his remorse. Because he missed five games after the incident while on administrative leave, he only had 15 games remaining.
He is currently back at Camelback Ranch working out ahead of becoming eligible to begin a rehab assignment on Aug. 27. When he returns to the Dodgers, it may be in a different role.
The left-hander began the 2019 season as a starter but has spent most of it in the bullpen due to an innings restriction placed on him by the organization in his first full season coming off shoulder surgery.
As it currently stands, the Dodgers only have three set starting pitchers for the postseason, and manager Dave Roberts said plan is to stretch Urias out while he is suspended so he can be an option for the fourth starter spot, via Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
He noted left-hander Julio Urias will be stretched out during his suspension to provide a starting option for October.
The Dodgers have a number of different options for that fourth starter role, with Kenta Maeda, Rich Hill, Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin joining Urias in being under consideration.
May was recently moved to the bullpen to take Urias’ spot and Maeda has been converted to a reliever in the postseason each of the last two seasons, so it would appear the two choices are Hill and Urias considering Gonsolin’s inexperience.
Hill has been out since the middle of June with a forearm injury but is expected to return in the coming weeks. If he has enough time to get built up then he has to be considered the favorite to fill out the rotation as Urias has been dominant out of the bullpen this season.
It makes sense to build Urias up though in case Hill doesn’t have enough time to do so himself. Regardless of who is utilized in what role, the Dodgers have a variety of pitchers that can not only be effective in short spurts but can also give them length.
Overall in 27 games (six starts) this season, Urias is 4-3 with a 2.53 ERA, 3.59 FIP and 1.09 WHIP with 67 strikeouts and 23 walks in 67.2 innings. He has pitched to a 3.55 ERA as a starter compared to 1.91 out of the bullpen.