Julio Urias has only thrown 58 combined innings this year between the majors and Triple-A, but the Dodgers are already making plans to curtail his usage beyond his next two starts.
Urias is scheduled to start tomorrow against the Milwaukee Brewers and next Wednesday against the Washington Nationals. And then?
“We’ll go from there,” manager Dave Roberts said.
The Dodgers also count a pitcher’s spring training stats toward his innings limit, so his actual counting total is somewhere in the sixties. The team hasn’t publicly stated what his innings limit for the season is, but it’s believed to be no less than 100 innings. Not including spring training games, Urias pitched 80 ⅓ innings across four levels in 2015.
How should the Dodgers conserve Urias’ innings? They have some options, most of which appear to involve sending him back to Triple-A.
“I don’t see him going as a starter right to the bullpen — to our bullpen,” Roberts said.
Urias has a 5.82 earned-run average after four starts, but he’s only allowed three runs over 9 ⅓ innings in his last two. Roberts acknowledged that Urias’ performance will have some bearing on where he’s pitching after next Wednesday.
“He’s giving us a lot of flexibility,” Roberts said.
The Dodgers have discussed internal replacements for Urias in the rotation, but Frankie Montas was the only name Roberts specifically mentioned as a possibility Thursday.
Montas has allowed four runs in 16 innings at Triple-A Oklahoma City this year. The right-hander missed most of the season while recovering from off-season surgery to remove a rib.
Brandon McCarthy and Hyun-Jin Ryu are making rehabilitation starts with Single-A Rancho Cucamonga tonight and tomorrow, respectively. Barring any setbacks, they might also be candidates to join the rotation when the Dodgers re-evaluate Urias’ role.