While the Los Angeles Dodgers did their best to protect Julio Urias during his development, it was washed away when he underwent season-ending anterior capsule surgery on his left shoulder in June 2017.
The recovery was projected to be 12 to 14 months, which had many ruling out Urias filling any sort of role for the Dodgers during the 2018 season. But after navigating a long road to recovery, he joined the team in September and pitched in three games.
Urias then surprisingly was included on their National League Championship Series World Series rosters, during which he made a combined seven relief appearances.
He’s been impressive thus far in Spring Training, leading to Dodgers manager Dave Roberts praising Urias for forcing his way into the team’s conversations regarding pitching staff decisions this season.
Despite that, however, David Vassegh explained on the “Petros And Money” show on AM 570 L.A. Sports Radio that Urias is unlikely to exceed 100 innings pitched this season:
“The people I’ve spoken to, and it seems realistic to believe, that after barely pitching 10 innings big-league innings last year between the regular season and World Series, he’s not going to have a major spike in innings this year. From what I’ve been told, the Dodgers and him are on the same page, and they’re targeting somewhere between 70 and 100 innings. The one thing that the Dodgers did with Walker Buehler last year, and the same thing moving (foward) with Julio is, they’re not going to box themselves into a distinct number.
“They don’t want to get into the same situation as the Nationals did with Stephen Strasburg a few years back where they backed themselves into a corner and couldn’t get out of it because they put a hard count of innings on his season. The Dodgers didn’t do that last year on Buehler, and we saw how well that went, and they’re not going to do that with Julio, either. But to start the season, they’re looking at 70 to 100 innings for him.”
Although it was being utilized as a relief pitcher at the time, Roberts confirmed last November that club intended to build Urias up as a starter during 2019 Spring Training. One month later, the Dodgers skipper acknowledged that would come with an innings limit in place.
President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and his front office have shown an ability to adapt and be flexible, which might be called for in Urias’ case.