Julio Urias Eyes September Return To Majors

Thirteen months after major shoulder surgery, lefthander Julio Urias was finally back on a mound in a competitive game.

The 22-year-old ended July by taking that significant step in his recovery, pitching in a Rookie-level Arizona League game. Urias struck out two in 1.2 innings before lightning strikes in the area caused a postponement.

Urias’ long road back could put him back on a major league mound before the end of the season if Dodgers manager Dave Roberts’ projections prove true.

Though there isn’t time for Urias to build innings as a starter, Roberts said he can envision Urias filling a role in the bullpen in September.

“(We believe) there’s not enough time in the calendar to build him up as a starter,” Roberts said.

Roberts said the reports on Urias regaining the dynamic stuff that made him one of the top pitching prospects in baseball before his shoulder injury are “encouraging.” But he also acknowledged Urias is very much an unknown until he has built up more of a post-surgery track record.

“We don’t know what we’re going to get,” Roberts said. “But I would say in the postseason in 2016 and his first taste of the big leagues in 2017, the (calm) heartbeat and his stuff (stood out) . . . To get him back in a short stint, that is something we feel comfortable we could bet on.

“We don’t know until we see it. But we’re all excited for this.”

Urias, who signed out of Mexico in 2012, made two relief appearances for the Dodgers during a 2016 postseason run that ended in the National League Championship Series. He threw two scoreless innings against the Nationals in the NL Division Series but gave up four runs in 3.2 innings in Game 4 of the NLCS against the Cubs.


** In order to make room on the 40-man roster for their trade deadline acquisitions, the Dodgers designated 26-year-old righthander Ariel Hernandez for assignment and subsequently lost him on waivers to the Brewers. The hard-throwing reliever’s control problems continued with the Dodgers—he walked 20 in 25.1 innings at Triple-A Oklahoma City.

** Righthander Drew Hutchison exercised an opt-out clause in his contract and became a free agent at the start of August. The 27-year-old went 4-1, 2.14 in nine games (seven starts) for Oklahoma City. He signed with the Rangers as a free agent and joined their big league rotation.

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