Dodgers News: 2016 Outlook For Ross Stripling And Julio Urias Dependent On Rehabbing Starters
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

For as much attention the Los Angeles Dodgers gave to bolstering the depth on their pitching staff during the offseason, they’ve needed to rely on third and fourth options due to multiple injuries.

Ross Stripling was named the club’s fifth starter at the outset of the 2016 season in response to Brett Anderson being lost to back surgery and Mike Bolsinger sustaining an oblique injury. While Stripling won the competition, it wasn’t as a permanent solution given the innings limit the club has in place.

Stripling was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City after being pressed into relief duty during a 17-inning game in what was his ninth appearance this season. He started one game for Oklahoma City and was subsequently placed on the seven-day disabled list and sent to extended Spring Training.

While Stripling has yet to make his return to the Dodgers or OKC, he remains a factor this season. “He’s definitely going to come back and help us win games this year,” Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said recently.

“I don’t know exactly when, but there’s no doubt in my mind that he will. He’s feeling really good, we’re just trying to figure out how to manage [his innings]. Obviously, (Hyun-Jin) Ryu, (Brandon) McCarthy, Brett Anderson factors into [Stripling’s return]. We’re trying to balance the timing of all of it.”

Stripling’s place in the rotation has been filled by Julio Urias. The 19-year-old southpaw made his Major League debut May 27, was optioned back to Oklahoma City the following day, only to return soon after in the wake of Alex Wood’s injury. Like Stripling, the Dodgers are managing Urias’ workload this season.

Urias turned in his best start of the season against the San Francisco Giants, and is scheduled for another start this weekend. While he’s done an admirable job, the Dodgers are mindful of not burning through their young starters at this stage of the season.

“We don’t want to be in a situation where we get to September or October and have to shut down Stripling or Urias,” Friedman said. “So we’re trying to balance all of it.” Friedman didn’t rule out using Stripling as a reliever, though said the right-hander would be stretched as a starter.

Brandon McCarhty began his rehab assignment with High-A Rancho Cucamonga on Saturday, while Hyun-Jin Ryu restarted his on Sunday. Brett Anderson only recently begun throwing, nearly three months to the day after surgery for bulging disk.