The proud father’s sleep deprivation was masked by a smile.
“That woke me up,” Carlos Urias said in Spanish.
His 18-year-old son, left-hander Julio Urias, had just pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings for a Dodgers’ split squad in a 10-1 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday at Maryvale Baseball Park.
To be there, the elder Urias traveled overnight with family members and friends, making a 13-hour drive from his home in the Mexican state of Sinaloa. His reward was to see his son demonstrate his talent, but there were also signs he could benefit from extra seasoning in the minor leagues.
In his first appearance of the exhibition season, Urias struck out two, but walked three. With his pitch count at 42, he was removed from the game by bench coach Tim Wallach before he could record the third out of the inning.
“Things didn’t turn out the way I wanted, but my arm felt fine,” Urias said in Spanish.
Urias entered the game to start the bottom of the third inning. He struck out Shane Peterson, then walked Martin Maldonado, who advanced to second base when Scooter Gennett struck out on a pitch in the dirt. Urias forced Jean Segura to ground out to second to end the inning.
Urias started the next inning by making Carlos Gomez pop up to short, but not before Gomez worked the count full. Aramis Ramirez also worked the count full and drew a walk.
“They battled me in the second inning, fouling off pitches,” Urias said.
Urias picked off pinch-runner Elian Herrera but walked Khris Davis, and his day was over.
“It looked like maybe he was rushing a hair, but, I mean, you can see the stuff’s there,” Wallach said.
The Dodgers intend for Urias to pitch the minor leagues this season, but Urias remains determined to somehow make their opening-day roster.
“Every player who’s in spring training has the goal of playing in the major leagues that year,” Urias said.
Fernando Valenzuela said watching Urias reminded him of his own days as a young pitcher. Valenzuela, who is also from Mexico, made his major league debut as a 19-year-old in 1980. The following year, he won a Cy Young Award and World Series ring.
Asked whether he was bothered by how Urias is often compared to him, Valenzuela replied, “I’m not. But I don’t know about him.”
Valenzuela paused for laughs, then continued, “For me, it’s an honor. He has tremendous talent and I think he’s going to do something in baseball.”
The other prospect
Former first-round pick Zach Lee walked one, but was otherwise perfect over two innings in the win over the Brewers.
“He knows what it takes, he knows how to execute pitches,” catcher A.J. Ellis said. “That’s what he is. He’s a pitch-maker. He did an excellent job mixing in all of his pitches, mixing his speeds.”
Lee received a franchise-record $5.25-million bonus in 2010, when the Dodgers convinced him to pitch for them instead of playing quarterback at Louisiana State. But the emergence of harder-throwing prospects such as Urias and Chris Anderson has made Lee something of a forgotten man in this camp.
Lee, 23, pitched in triple A last season and was 7-13 with a 5.39 earned-run average.
Zack Greinke threw live batting practice to minor leaguers. Greinke, who received a lubricating injection in his elbow earlier in spring training, remains on track to pitch in his first exhibition game Wednesday. … Initially scheduled to catch in the split-squad game against the Seattle Mariners, Yasmani Grandal instead was designated hitter after fouling a ball off his foot.