(Photo Credit: mlb.com)
In what turned out to be a very surprising development Tuesday afternoon, the Los Angeles Dodgers have announced that rookie Julio Urias will temporarily rejoin the rotation and start the series finale against the Nationals on Thursday.
The Dodgers’ management team was apparently spinning its wheels attempting to reorganize the starting rotation after the club announced that lefty Hyun-jin Ryu was placed on the disabled list with elbow tendinitis, and that staff ace Clayton Kershaw was feeling lower back discomfort after appearing in a simulated game last weekend.
Since his last start for the Dodgers on July 4, Urias hasn’t pitched in a game since he made a one-inning relief appearance for Oklahoma City on July 10 against Omaha. His start on Thursday will be his fifth against a first place team in nine career MLB starts.
Bud Norris, who was initially scheduled to start Thursday’s game on five days of rest, will square off against Gio Gonzalez in the middle game of the series on Wednesday.
Since joining the Dodgers’ rotation on May 27, Urias has tallied a 4.95 ERA and a 10.9 K/9 over 36-1/3 innings of work. Prior to being called up to the big leagues, the 19-year-old lefty threw 41 total innings for OKC, recording a miniscule 1.10 ERA, a 0.78 WHIP and a .176 opposition batting average. He struck out 44 batters against only eight walks during that span, and just before being recalled by the Dodgers, strung together a 27-inning scoreless streak.
After tossing a total of 80-1/3 innings last year, Urias has already pitched 78-1/3 innings between the majors and Triple-A OKC this season. He will be opposed by Stephen Strasburg in Thursday’s contest, which is slated for a 9:05 a.m. Pacific time first pitch.
According to team officials, Kershaw is basically being “shut down” until all of the pain in his back subsides. His most recent irritation occurred after he tossed 60 pitches to live hitters in a simulated setup at Dodger Stadium last Saturday. Kershaw’s last start was against the Pirates on June 26, and he was subsequently placed on the disabled list on July 1 after being diagnosed with a disc herniation.
It is unknown how long management plans on keeping Urias in the rotation or on the 25-man roster.