The Los Angeles Dodgers have made it clear from the beginning of the spring that they plan to limit young left-hander Julio Urias’ innings in 2019, his first full season coming off major shoulder surgery.
But due to injuries to both Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill that forced them to begin the season on the 10-day injured list, Urias began the season in the starting rotation rather than the bullpen.
His season debut and first MLB start in almost two years was a good one, as Urias tossed five shutout innings while allowing just three hits with seven strikeouts and no walks.
Regardless of how good Urias looked though, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said the plan is for him to be the first starter moved to the bullpen when either Kershaw or Hill return from the injured list.
Roberts previously said Urias will make at least one more start, and he alluded to a third potentially coming as well. “Yeah, it is,” Roberts answered when asked if it was possible Urias remains in the rotation beyond a start this weekend against the Colorado Rockies.
“Obviously, the way Julio has thrown the ball, making starts. It’s twofold. You have to obviously make sure Rich is ready to pitch. And if he’s not, to have Julio in our back pocket is obviously a luxury.”
Roberts added the reason that Urias will be moved to the bullpen has nothing to do with performance, but more to do with the innings limit and them wanting to keep him fresh. “We’re very clear with Julio and our expectations,” Roberts reiterated. “Just a little bit of the short and long view, if we put that together, it makes the most sense.”
Kershaw is headed out for a rehab start with Triple-A Oklahoma City this week, so it is looking like he will be ready to return before Hill.
Whether he makes a second rehab start or makes the jump back into the Dodgers rotation will determine if Urias gets a third start or not.