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Julio Urias throws 79 pitches for Triple-A Oklahoma City in 2017 debut

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

Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias kept his arm active on Monday morning, throwing 3⅔ innings innings in his 2017 regular season debut for Triple-A Oklahoma City against Iowa, a Cubs affiliate.

The 20-year-old left-hander struggled to throw strikes, with seven of his first eight pitches called balls. That is to be expected for someone pitching as intermittently as Urias over the last few weeks of spring training as the Dodgers limit his innings.

Urias looked visibly frustrated at a couple of the calls but pitched through it, and apparently he wasn’t alone in the sentiment.

Urias walked four and struck out five in his 3⅔ innings, and allowed two runs on two hits. The run scored on a wild pitch by Urias. He threw 79 pitches in what was the first time he pitched longer than three innings since spring training began.

If the Dodgers’ entire issue with Urias is the limited number of innings in his arm, and the club wants to maximize those innings at the major league level, why was he allowed to throw 79 pitches in a minor league game? Your guess is as good as mine.

The Dodgers prefer to keep Urias pitching these abbreviated outings rather than a complete shut down until they want to call him up to the majors. It is unknown when Urias will pitch next.

UPDATE: Manager Dave Roberts talked to reporters in Chicago about Urias and his potential call-up to the majors. Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register has more:

“He’s close,” Roberts said. “I think we’ll try to pick our spots and use him accordingly and when we do need him he’ll be ready. But we’re not ready to say when that day is going to be.

“Some time at the end of the month makes sense.”