Julio Urias strikes out 2 in Dodgers debut

Craig Minami | True Blue LA

Saturday afternoon marked one of just two Dodgers games this spring not to be televised.

GLENDALE -- Dodgers 17-year-old pitching prospect Julio Urias made his first impression on big league camp in fine fashion on Saturday, pitching a scoreless inning against the Padres at Camelback Ranch, with two strikeouts.

Urias said he found out this morning that he would start the game.

In the first inning, Urias fell behind leadoff man Will Venable but rebounded to strike him out on a fastball. After a ground out by Chris Denorfia, Urias struck out Yonder Alonso on a slider to end the inning. Both punchouts were swinging.

Here is the strikeout of Alonso, courtesy of site member Bobby Bruin:

"I knew nothing of him before he came up but he has a real big league arm, he’s got good stuff," said Tim Federowicz, his catcher. "I asked him how he likes to work, he’s got a good feel for it already. He throws a good fastball, down in the zone, really good slider, decent change up, he’s got a good mix, throws hard, kind of knows what he is doing.

"That's hard to find in a 17-year old. I don’t know if I would want to face him in A-Ball, he’s got good stuff."

Urias said he didn't know anything about the three batters he faced in the first inning.

Wearing a No. 84 jersey with no name, Urias threw 14 pitches, including nine for strikes.

Signed out of Mexico in 2012, Urias made his professional debut as a 16-year-old in the Midwest League, going 2-0 with a 2.48 ERA in 18 starts with Class-A Great Lakes, with 67 strikeouts and just 16 walks in 54⅓ innings.

The left-hander is listed at 5'11, but said he is now 6'1 and still growing. He hopes to get to 6'3. As a southpaw pitcher from Mexico in the Dodgers organization, the comparisons to Fernando Valenzuela are inevitable. As a reminder of just how long ago Fernandomania was (33 years ago), Urias was asked if his father Carlos - a catcher who played one season in the Mexican League - told him of Valenzuela, the 17-year-old said actually, it was his grandfather who would tell those stories.

Urias was named a top-100 prospect in baseball by Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, ESPN and MLB.com, peaking at No. 14 overall by Keith Law of ESPN.

Urias said he hasn't been told where he will start the season, and said he would probably be allowed to pitch maybe 30 more innings than he did in 2013.

"I feel prepared and ready to pitch in the major leagues," Urias said. "The goal is to finish [2014] in the big leagues, but if I can't do that at least get to Double-A."

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