Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
Of the Los Angeles Dodgers participating in the 2023 World Baseball Classic, Julio Urías arguably carries the most responsibility for his country.
The left-hander has put together back-to-back impressive seasons and now takes on the role of staff ace and unofficial captain of Team Mexico. Urías is starting their first game Saturday against Colombia at Chase Field.
“It’s an incredible opportunity and experience to be able to put on that jersey and represent my country,” Urías recently said through a translator about playing in the WBC.
He officially committed to Team Mexico in September of last year.
“Mexico is everything for me, and to be able to represent the country, like I’ve said before, when I pitch here at Dodger Stadium, I feel like it’s part of Little Mexico, and now I get to pitch amongst all my fans,” Urías said at the time.
The Dodgers declined to allow Urías, then a prospect, to pitch for Team Mexico in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. It was a decision that left him disappointed.
However, this year the organization was behind their ace taking part in the international tournament.
“I can’t appreciate what it means or how it feels to essentially represent a country every day you’re out there pitching for the Dodgers, but pitching for his people,” manager Dave Roberts said last year.
“But an opportunity to represent his country, wearing the green and red and white, I think it’s something that will be a thrill for him and something he’ll remember forever. I’m just proud of him and I know he’s going to represent them well.”
Urías made two starts for the Dodgers in Spring Training before leaving camp to join Team Mexico. He allowed one run to the Cincinnati Reds and followed that with four scoreless innings against the Chicago White Sox.
While at Camelback Ranch, the 26-year-old received custom Team Mexico cleats that he is expected to wear in the World Baseball Classic.
Julio Urías looking forward to Dodgers in WBC
Although Urías won’t pitch against Mookie Betts and Will Smith when Team Mexico plays Team USA on Sunday, being on the opposite side of Dodgers teammates is a change he’s embraced.
“I think it’s going to be an incredible tournament,” Urías said of stars participating.
“With those kind of names, it’s going to be a spectacle. To be able to call them enemies for the first time, it’s going to be fun to watch them participate.”
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