The left-hander, who does not turn 20 until Aug. 12, will be asked to start Thursday’s series finale at Washington. He will replace Hyun-Jin Ryu in the rotation after Ryu went on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday because of elbow tendonitis.
Ryu was supposed to start Wednesday against the Nationals, but Bud Norris will take that start on normal rest, thanks to Monday’s off-day. Urias will take Norris’ original spot in what will be his third call-up to the Dodgers this season.
The Dodgers sent Urias back to Triple-A Oklahoma City to curtail his growing innings count and give him sporadic turns as a relief pitcher. It was believed that the Dodgers were going to have Urias finish the season in the major leagues as a reliever.
That plan will be put on hold this week. Urias will be making his second career start against the Nationals, after he faced them June 22 at Dodger Stadium. He lasted five innings that day and gave up two runs on six hits with six strikeouts in a no-decision. The Nationals are the first major league team Urias will face for a second time.
“After that, we don’t know what the plan is for Julio, but we’re looking forward to him making that start on Thursday,” manager Dave Roberts said.
Not only is Urias’ innings count being monitored this season, but also his pitch counts have been kept in check for each start. Asked if there would be a pitch count for Urias on Thursday, Roberts was not specific.
“I think you go as long as you can go, with respect to his youth,” Roberts said. “I think we have been really aware of that from the beginning.”
Urias has reached 90 pitches just twice in eight career starts, and he reached the 100-pitch mark once, on June 28 at Milwaukee in what stands as his only big league victory. That was also the only outing in which he pitched more than five innings.
Urias is 1-2 with the Dodgers this season and has a 4.95 ERA in 36 1/3 innings. Including his innings at Oklahoma City, he has 78 1/3 this year. His high for one season in the minor leagues is 87 2/3, which he pitched at Single-A Rancho Cucamonga in 2014.