Dodgers might call up top prospect Julio Urias -- as a reliever

Pitcher Julio Urias in the Dodgers dugout during a spring training game against the Milwaukee Brewers in Phoenix on March 14, 2016.

Pitcher Julio Urias in the Dodgers dugout during a spring training game against the Milwaukee Brewers in Phoenix on March 14, 2016.

(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

The Dodgers have had internal discussions about calling up top prospect Julio Urias to help their beleaguered bullpen, Manager Dave Roberts said Saturday.

“We’re looking through a lot of options,” Roberts said. “Urias is definitely at the top of the list.”

Urias, 19, ranked by Baseball America as the top pitching prospect in the minor leagues, is 3-1 with a 1.88 earned-run average at triple-A Oklahoma City. In his last start, he threw six no-hit innings. In 24 innings, he has walked three and struck out 29.

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The Dodgers have six bullpen losses, the most of any National League team except the Atlanta Braves and Cincinnati Reds.

Urias would be of particular help since he is a left-hander. Of the two left-handers in the Dodgers bullpen, Adam Liberatore faced three batters Friday and retired none, and J.P. Howell has a 9.39 ERA.

Still, Urias would be more likely to be used over multiple innings rather than as a left-handed specialist. In his one relief appearance at Oklahoma City this season, he pitched three innings.

Roberts said the Dodgers also have considered calling up right-handers Jose De Leon and Jharel Cotton from Oklahoma City but said Urias is “leading the discussions.” De Leon made his season debut last week.

Fernando Valenzuela, the last teenager to pitch for the Dodgers, was 19 when he joined the team from double A for the final month of the 1980 season.

He delivered 17 2/3 innings of relief, without surrendering an earned run. Of the Dodgers’ final 21 games that season, he pitched in 10.


Urias has pitched more minor league innings than Valenzuela had when he made his debut. The Dodgers want to limit the innings Urias throws this season — he threw 88 two years ago and 80 last year — and a stint as a reliever would help control his workload.

Turf wars

Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson said he disliked the artificial turf in Toronto, particularly the little bits of it that he said found their way into his cleats.

“I’m glad we don’t have it in L.A.,” he said.

Blue Jays center fielder Kevin Pillar robbed Carl Crawford of an extra-base hit with a flying catch, then landed face-first, uncomfortably.

“I dragged my right cheek across the turf about five yards,” he told reporters.

Valley boy

Pillar hit the game-winning home run Friday to beat the Dodgers, his hometown team. Pillar played at Chaminade High in West Hills, where his coach was Angels broadcaster Mark Gubicza.

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Pillar said about 15 friends and family members had gathered at a bar in Calabasas, since the Dodgers’ television blackout prevented them from seeing the game at their homes.


“Everyone gets DirecTV now,” Pillar said in a radio interview. “They can’t watch the games.”

Short hops

The Dodgers claimed right-handed reliever Casey Fien, 32, off waivers from Minnesota. Fien had a 7.90 earned-run average in 14 games this year and a 4.05 ERA over seven years with the Twins and Detroit Tigers. . . . Right-hander Mike Bolsinger, who has not pitched this season after straining an oblique muscle during spring training, started a rehabilitation assignment Saturday with Oklahoma City. Such assignments are limited to 30 days. . . . Adrian Gonzalez will be the designated hitter Sunday, Roberts said, with second baseman Chase Utley or third baseman Justin Turner likely to play first base. Gonzalez has started all but one game at first base, when catcher Yasmani Grandal played there. . . . The Cy Young matchup Thursday at Dodger Stadium: Clayton Kershaw, who has won three Cy Young awards, against the New York Mets’ Bartolo Colon, who won his Cy Young for the Angels in 2005 — when Kershaw was in high school. . . . Shades of home: A mariachi band serenaded several dozen road-tripping Dodgers fans on the steps outside Rogers Centre on Saturday morning.


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Follow Bill Shaikin on Twitter: @BillShaikin