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Julio Urias, as expected, won’t start season in majors

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LHP will remain with club during Freeway Series

Seattle Mariners v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

PHOENIX — Julio Urias pitched 2⅔ scoreless innings in the Dodgers’ 3-1 win over the Padres on Tuesday at Camelback Ranch, in his final spring outing. Manager Dave Roberts earlier in the day confirmed what has been no secret for weeks, that Urias will not be on the major league roster to start the season.

Urias will join the Dodgers for the Freeway Series, and will likely throw a bullpen session at some point this weekend, Roberts said.

After that, Urias will likely be in extended spring training for some time, before possibly pitching in a minor league game or two before eventually joining the major league club. Roberts said there have already been internal discussions regarding the plan for Urias, but declined to go into specifics about dates or innings.

The one thing that was made clear as early as January was that Urias at age 20 would not be in the rotation all season and the playoffs, not after pitching a total of 127⅔ innings between the minors, majors and playoffs combined in 2016. The only question was when the Dodgers would limit his innings this year.

It was one thing to have Urias relatively at the ready early in spring training, before the club new it would have health and production from both Hyun-jin Ryu and Brandon McCarthy, plus a productive Alex Wood. But even after it was clear Urias wouldn’t be joining the Dodgers to start the season, he has started twice — once on the back fields — totaling 5⅔ innings.

The Dodgers plan on keeping Urias relatively active while he is essentially shut down, keeping his arm in motion through bullpen sessions or shortened outings like his last two.

“It’s to continue where he’s at, as opposed to completely shutting him down,” Roberts said. “We have a lot of people who have studied the biomechanics of pitching and the arm. With the medical staff, we feel that’s what is the best thing for Julio.”

Even with the last two outings, Urias has had a relatively light spring, throwing 11⅔ innings either in Cactus League or back fields games.

Notes

The Dodgers had split squad games on Tuesday, also losing to the Reds 9-3 in Goodyear.

Kiké Hernandez was hit by a pitch from Scott Feldman in the sixth inning against Cincinnati. X-rays on Hernandez’s right wrist were negative, per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com.

Dodgers special instructor Eric Gagne threw his third bullpen session in camp since returning from the World Baseball Classic, fueling the idea that he is trying a comeback at age 41. Roberts played coy when asked about his former teammate potentially signing a minor league deal. “I would never bet against Eric,” Roberts said, smiling. “Just watching the pens, the ball is coming out well.”

Among Dodgers minor leaguers expected to join the club for the Freeway Series include Cody Bellinger, Willie Calhoun, Will Smith, Omar Estevez, and Drew Jackson.

Up next

Getaway day in Arizona in Wednesday, with one game remaining in Peoria against the Mariners. On the mound, for roughly the first three innings or so, will be Clayton Kershaw in his final tune up before opening day, with Yasmani Grandal catching.

The 1:10 p.m. game will be televised by MLB Network, and is available in the Los Angeles television market.