Dodgers left-hander Julio Urías was activated off the injured list to start Saturday against the Royals, after missing six weeks with a strained left hamstring strain.
It’s been a long road back for Urías, who last pitched for the Dodgers on May 18. His return had a few stops and starts before settling into a groove of bullpen sessions and simulated games once his hamstring discomfort subsided.
He pitched in one game on a minor league rehab assignment, striking out eight in four innings last Sunday for Low-A Rancho Cucamonga. Urías will be pitching Saturday in Kansas City on five days rest.
Urías’ left hamstring added injury to insult, as his last start in the majors was his worst of the year, allowing four home runs and six runs in only three innings in a loss to the Cardinals in St. Louis on May 18.
He was tied for the league lead in home runs allowed at the time he landed on the injured list, and has a 4.39 ERA and 4.33 xERA in 10 starts, not exactly the start he was hoping for with free agency looming after the season.
Urías returns to a staff that craves stability. Six of the top seven starters on the Dodgers depth chart to open the season have spent time on the injured list, and the only one who hasn’t — Clayton Kershaw — got a cortisone shot in his left shoulder on Wednesday.
The last start for Urías came one day after Dustin May injured his elbow. In the 36 games since, Dodgers starters have a 5.07 ERA, not counting the two bullpen games used by the staff. Any help at all from Urías will go a long way in shoring that up.
Justin Bruihl was the active roster casualty to make room for Urías. Bruihl was optioned back to Triple-A after pitching each of the last two nights. He closed out Thursday’s blowout win in Colorado with two scoreless innings, then pitched the final inning of Friday’s blowout win in Kansas City.