To the dismay of some fans, Julio Urias’ role with the 2019 Dodgers has finally been defined. Urias will not be in the starting rotation, but he almost certainly will make the Opening Day roster. He will be coming out of the bullpen in relief this year.
Roberts told me that in order for Urias to make the team, it has to be out of the pen. In order to give him best chance of success in that role, they want him coming out of pen rest of spring. That’s why he’s not starting tonight, as originally scheduled. He’ll pitch in relief.
— Alanna Rizzo (@alannarizzo) March 21, 2019
Fans have long expressed the desire to see Urias in the Dodgers’ starting rotation, but that will not be the case. And perhaps it is for the best, given the injury he is coming off of. The Dodgers’ management has already expressed their desire to cap Urias at 75 to 100 innings, so a bullpen role makes more sense. This also gives the team some flexibility in using Urias as a spot starter when necessary.
Dave Roberts made an interesting point when pressed about it, saying the Urias could face a sort of ‘piggy-back” type of situation. In this scenario, a starter would pitch three to four innings before handing the ball off to Urias for two to four innings of work. This would be ideal given the injury histories of many of the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Keeping them fresh all year long will allow them to pitch better deep into October.
#Dodgers Dave Roberts said if (he will) Julio Urias opens the season in the bullpen it would be in a long relief/piggy-backing role to start. Does not see him as a one-inning or lefty-only reliever.
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) March 21, 2019
Tony Cingrani will not be active to start the season with his own shoulder injury, so Urias being a lefty also helps his case. As of now, Scott Alexander and Caleb Ferguson were the only ones penciled in as left-handed pitching out of the bullpen.
Urias owns a career 3.09 ERA as a reliever, striking out nearly eleven batters per nine innings in that role. He has thrown in 11.2 innings of Spring ball to the tune of a 2.31 ERA and eleven strikeouts.
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