It’s been a long road for Dodgers southpaw Julio Urias. He started out with so much hype and potential, only to be derailed by injuries and off-field issues. But this season has a different feel to it, and Urias is ready to take on a more consistent role with the team.
In an interview with The OC Register, Julio broke down his expectations.
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) March 2, 2020
My career has been a test of patience. Going up through the ranks so fast and then coming to my first big league camp, it’s been a mix of experience and patience.
Urias made his Major League debut for the Dodgers in 2016 at just 19 years old. He ended up starting 15 games that season, pitching to a 3.39 earned run average in total across 77 innings. Most of his innings came out of the rotation that year, but some were out of the bullpen. And that’s the way it has been for most of his career. Of his 63 total appearances, 35 have been out of relief. That inconsistent role is about to change in 2020.
Now it’s time to take advantage of the opportunity that they gave me and be ready for those seven months or whatever it may be to the end of the World Series. You got to start strong and you got to finish strong.
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Dave Roberts has already named Julio Urias to the starting rotation this year. The expectation is that as long as he stays healthy all year long, there’s no reason to expect him to go back to the bullpen. No medical restrictions, no innings limits, just Julio going out there every fifth day to pitch.
The conversations we’ve had with Julio have been just more of encouraging. He understands what’s in front of him. He’s got to continue to stay healthy, take care of his body.
Robers recognizes that Urias’ inconsistent role with the Dodgers has not been really fair to him.
Last year was very difficult, on a lot of fronts. The inconsistency of role I think was hard for Julio. We take for granted his buy-in sometimes. But now things will be more regimented as a starter. So with that, with the way he looks physically, to sustain that, I think he’s gonna have a really nice year.
Last season was by far Urias’ most consistent year in terms of role. Almost 80 percent of his appearances were in relief, and he was lights out. Urias pitched to a 2.01 ERA out of the pen in 2019.
If he can get consistency locked in with the Dodgers, Julio could be a huge number four guy on a team loaded with options.