Prior to stepping foot on the Camelback Ranch grounds for Spring Training this year, Los Angeles Dodgers prospect Julio Urias already had the reputation of an elite pitcher.
Urias’ legend grew with his first live batting practice session in which he left Alex Guerrero and Joc Pederson in amazement. However, the young phenom’s two relief appearances in Cactus League games thus far have been less than stellar.
Urias took over for Zack Greinke in the third inning of the Dodgers’ loss to the Chicago Cubs and managed to record just one out on 26 pitches. Of the four batters he faced, three reached on a base hit and a fourth drove in a run with sacrifice fly.
Heading into Wednesday’s game, manager Don Mattingly said the intention was to get the young left-hander two innings of work. Following the loss, Mattingly said Urias was removed from the game due to pitch count and the situation wasn’t handled any differently had it been Greinke or Clayton Kershaw on the mound.
While Urias’ results weren’t what many have come to expect of him, he had an optimistic view on his relief appearance. “It might be a bad outing on paper, but I take it as a good day because I can work on what failed today,” Urias said in Spanish.
As for what he may have more specifically learned, Urias said the importance of having multiple pitches in his arsenal. “I need to work on a slider, a changeup, locating pitches,” he said. “I can’t rely on just the fastball. I have to have secondary pitches.”
Urias admitted to it being more difficult pitching out of the bullpen due to being trained as a starter, but added he’s aware it’s something he needs to adjust to. Urias only made one Spring Training appearance last year — a start in which he threw one inning and collected two strikeouts.
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