Los Angeles Dodgers pitching prospect Julio Urias underwent three operations on his left eye during his youth to remove a benign mass. As a result, his left eye is nearly closed. The 18-year-old recently announced that he has elected to undergo another operation, cosmetic surgery on his left eye, which will require him to miss a month of action.
Urias is one of Major League Baseball’s top prospects, as he already owns an electric fastball and composure on the mound of a Major League veteran. Despite his talent, he is just 18 years old, so the organization has been cognizant of his total innings pitched.
When asked about Urias’ eye surgery, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said that the organization is in support of him, and this will serve as a means to limit the left-hander’s innings, albeit in an unconventional manner. “It was something Julio was very interested in doing, so we’re supporting him,” Friedman said.
“We will build up his innings base. This is a slightly different way to do it, but he’ll get to a similar point. The objective for us is doing what’s right by Julio and that means building his inning base.”
Assuming Urias misses the projected one month, he would return in time to make approximately 15 starts to close out the season. If he were to average five innings per start, it would run his 2015 total to 111 innings — eclipsing 100 innings for the first time in his career.
However, that’s if everything goes according to plan. As for whether the surgery makes it more likely Urias will reach the Majors this season, Friedman didn’t completely rule it out. “Just like everyone else, in the middle to late August we’ll assess where everyone in the organization is and what makes the most sense at that point,” he said.
The Mexican native pitched two innings with the big league club in Spring Training, giving up three hits and a run while walking three and striking out two. He began the season with Double-A Tulsa, where he has made seven starts. In 36 innings Urias has 46 strikeouts and yielded a 3.00 ERA.
Friedman has previous experience in placing a young lefty in the bullpen down the stretch of the season as it’s how the Tampa Bay Rays first used David Price when he made his Major-League debut in 2008.
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