When the Los Angeles Dodgers opened camp this spring, the majority of attention was on their retooled starting rotation sans Zack Greinke, who bolted for Arizona on a six-year, $206.5 million contract.
Beyond that, the Dodgers’ top prospects were also labeled as players to watch throughout Spring Training. Among them Jose De Leon and Julio Urias, both of whom are participating in big league camp on a non-roster invite.
This year marked Urias’ second time in camp as a non-roster invitee, while it’s De Leon’s first. Intrigue with the two pitchers has only grown in the wake of Brett Anderson undergoing arthroscopic back surgery for a bulging disk.
Coupled with Hyun-Jin Ryu targeting a return at some point in May, the Dodgers’ pitching depth is being tested earlier than anticipated. Alex Wood now projects to be part of the starting rotation come Opening Day, leaving one vacancy to be filled.
It’s believed Brandon Beachy, Mike Bolsinger and Zach Lee have an inside track to be named the club’s fifth starter, but the competition is far from settled. Urias’ bid to enter the picture was delayed as he missed some time due to groin soreness.
The Dodgers’ top pitching prospect entered in the seventh inning on Friday against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for his 2016 Spring Training debut and struck out the side:
With the Dodgers still holding a 4-3 lead, Urias was sent back out to the mound in the eighth. The wheels quickly came off as the young lefty allowed a leadoff single followed by a game-tying double, RBI triple, and issued a walk.
Urias was removed without recording an out in the eighth inning, runners on the corners and the Dodgers suddenly trailing. The Angels tacked on another run and two more in the ninth, to beat the Dodgers, 8-4.