After undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery in June 2017, there was not much, if any, expectation Julio Urias would contribute for the Los Angeles Dodgers last season. However, he made a bit of an improbable comeback and pitched out of the bullpen.
Urias was projected to return to starting this season, albeit on an innings limit. He’s put together an impressive spring thus far and seemingly forced the Dodgers’ hand into carving out a role for him earlier than expected.
After making four Cactus League starts, Urias was moved to the bullpen against the Chicago Cubs. He initially was scheduled to start, which instead went to right-handed prospect Dustin May.
The change was related to Urias’ bid to be included on the Dodgers Opening Day roster. But with Rich Hill the latest to fall victim to injury, Urias is now looking at a spot in the rotation, according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
Julio Urias might start instead of relieve.
— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) March 22, 2019
Urias has been dominant in his four Cactus League starts, but struggled appearing out of the bullpen. He was let down by sloppy defense behind him but also lacked effective command of his secondary pitches. Urias nonetheless threw 42 pitches over 2.2 innings, allowing three runs (two earned).
He’s expected to pitch during the exhibition Freeway Series. Although the Dodgers may need to reverse course and insert Urias back into a potential role as a starter, the team intends to manage his innings and preserving his availability for the second half of the season.