With the Los Angeles Dodgers reshuffling their starting rotation to welcome back Rich Hill from the injured list and provide Walker Buehler and Hyun-Jin Ryu with extra rest between their respective outings, it’s created an opportunity for Julio Urias.
He returned from suspension last week and made his first start since July 30. Urias allowed one run on two hits, including a homer, and had three strikeouts over three innings of work against the Colorado Rockies.
“I was struggling a little bit there with my fastball,” he said after the start. “But after I got the command I felt a lot better and was able to execute the plan. Like I said, I’m just glad to be back here with my teammates again. Now I’m ready for whatever they have in their plans.”
That night, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts committed to Urias making another start. Days later he announced it would come Sunday in the series finale against the San Francisco Giants.
“With Julio, we wanted to get him on a regular routine,” Roberts said. “So to have him make this start and potentially another one, gives him the best chance to get his pitch mix right, work up to three (innings) and 45 (pitches). It’s more of the three and 45, four and 60 range. Can he get up and down four times? Absolutely.”
In addition to Urias potentially building on the three innings and 44 pitches his last time out, Roberts is looking for the young lefty to replicate his performance. “More of what we saw in the last start,” Roberts said.
“Fastball life, command, slider, change. I thought Julio threw the ball really well. Gave up the homer but outside of that was good.”
When Urias accepted a suspension from MLB for violating the league’s domestic violence policy, he reported to Camelback Ranch to continue working out and begin the process of building up as a starter.
He’s primarily been used out of the bullpen each of the past two seasons but the Dodgers have maintained they envision Urias as a starting pitcher in the long-term.
With Buehler scheduled to start Tuesday, followed by Ross Stripling and Hill in the Baltimore Orioles series, and the need to slot Clayton Kershaw in, it’s conceivable a third consecutive start for Urias would not come until the weekend.