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Julio Urias makes his spring debut today

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Los Angeles Dodgers v San Diego Padres Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images

PHOENIX — Dodgers starter Julio Urias will make his 2017 spring training debut on Tuesday, starting against the Rockies this afternoon at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale. But the question that surrounds the 20-year-old left-hander is when he will make his regular season debut.

Nothing has changed between the start of camp to now. Urias is unquestionably one of the Dodgers’ best starting pitchers, but given his age there is no way he will be continuously in the Dodgers’ rotation from Day 1 of the regular season through October. The club wants him ready to pitch meaningful innings down the stretch and in the playoffs, so the decision will be when exactly do the Dodgers shut him down?

But that doesn’t change his plan for spring training. He will continue to build up his innings as a starter, beginning with two frames on Tuesday, even if he has to open the season in extended spring training.

"For us, it's more how can we be consistent, even as inconsistent as this process has been for him,” manager Dave Roberts. “To get him to a point where we ramp him up to a certain place seems to make sense as opposed to shutting him down in the middle of the season.”

That doesn’t mean a decision on Urias has been made yet. We are still even a few weeks away from innings crunches begin to force the Dodgers to lean a certain direction with their rotation. Urias could very well force his way into the rotation in April with a strong spring.

But it seems the most likely determinant of where Urias opens the season depends on the health and effectiveness of the rest of the staff. If one or two of the veteran trio of Brandon McCarthy, Scott Kazmir and Hyun-jin Ryu are ready to go by opening day, it makes more sense to hold Urias back at the start of the season and wait for the rotation to open a spot for him naturally.

But if those pitchers aren’t ready at the start of the season, the Dodgers need to be sure Urias is ready to step in if needed. Hence the spring build up.

"It's just something we're continuing to try and talk through. Ultimately, it's what's best for Julio and what's best for us,” Roberts said. "He's been kind of the faithful soldier through this entire process, which says a lot about Julio."

Game info

Opponent: Rockies

Time: 12:10 p.m. PT

TV: none

Radio: none (Rockies broadcast on Gameday Audio)