One inning. One measly spring inning, at that.
Still, it had the feeling of a coming-out party, of an early unveiling of something special, or something that soon will be. Possibly very soon.
Julio Urias, all 17 years of him, made his first appearance in an exhibition game Saturday and looked an awful lot like the player dubbed the Dodgers’ best pitching prospect.
Urias looked poised and calm before an approximate crowd of 13,000 at Camelback Ranch in Phoenix, retiring the Padres in order in the Dodgers’ 5-4 victory in the first game of a day-and-night doubleheader.
He needed only 14 pitches (nine strikes), all of which were around the plate. He struck out Will Venable on a 93-mph fastball, induced Chris Denorfia to hit a routine grounder to third and then struck out Yonder Alonso with a slider.
Afterward, Urias announced he hoped to be pitching in the major leagues by the summer, which sounded only slightly ridiculous.
The thin left-hander was signed on the same trip Logan White, the Dodgers’ vice president of scouting, made to Mexico to sign Yasiel Puig. He spent his first season with Class-A Great Lakes, going 2-0 with a 2.48 earned-run average in 18 starts. He had 67 strikeouts and walked 16 in 54 1/3 innings. And he was 16.
This season he is expected to start with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga.
Asked at Camelback whether his father had told him stories of legendary Mexican pitcher Fernando Valenzuela, Urias said: “My grandfather.”
We did mention he was only 17?
Dee Gordon led the bottom of the first off with his fourth triple of the spring and scored on a Carl Crawford groundout. Hanley Ramirez singled, stole second and scored on an Adrian Gonzalez basehit.
The Dodgers added three runs in the third on three walks, two singles and a Gordon sacrifice fly. Gordon also had a bunt single and forced a throwing error on another grounder. Miguel Rojas, trying to win a utility role, had two hits while playing third.
The Dodgers used eight pitchers Saturday. Right-hander Sam Demel struck out three in two innings and is unscored upon this spring in his six appearances (7 1/3 innings).Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times