It’s another strong showing for Dodgers minor league pitcher Julio Urias

Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias, center, watches from the dugout during the team's spring training baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers in Phoenix on March 14.

Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias, center, watches from the dugout during the team’s spring training baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers in Phoenix on March 14.

(Jae C. Hong / AP)

If the Dodgers’ starting rotation does not include Julio Urias, are they really using the best five starters available to them?

Urias pitched six innings of no-hit ball Wednesday for triple-A Oklahoma City, then left the game after 77 pitches. He declined to say it was the best start of his career.

“I feel like it’s too early to say this was my best,” Urias told “I plan on working harder.”

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, with three walks and 29 strikeouts in 24 innings.


The Dodgers limited Urias to 88 innings two years ago and 80 last year, and it is unlikely they would push him past 125 this year. Andrew Friedman, the Dodgers’ president of baseball operations, would not disclose the workload targeted for Urias this year but said the front office is trying to “creatively build that up while putting him in the best position to help us win games.”

Friedman said the Dodgers are pleased with Urias’ refinements to the two versions of his breaking ball, and with his improvements in controlling his emotions on the mound.

“It was clear to us that he wasn’t ready last year,” Friedman said. “This spring, we could see a real scenario in which he could impact this team in 2016.”

The Dodgers prefer to conserve innings among their younger pitching prospects. They delayed the start of Jose DeLeon’s season by a month, and they just moved Jharel Cotton to the bullpen at Oklahoma City. Friedman said the Dodgers plan to give Urias some sort of break this summer.

“There’s always temptation to bring them up,” Friedman said, “but especially when you’re in a competitive situation, if you don’t feel like a player’s development is complete, it’s a difficult thing to do while trying to win as well.”

However, he added: “There’s part of that development that can only happen at the major league level.”


Suspended again

The Dodgers suspended minor league shortstop Erisbel Arruebarrena for the rest of the season, marking the second consecutive year the team has imposed such a sanction upon him.

Gabe Kapler, the Dodgers’ minor league director, said Arruebarrena had been suspended for “his repeated failure to comply with the terms of his contract.” Kapler did not elaborate, but the Dodgers used almost the exact same language in announcing his suspension last year.

That suspension was reduced to 30 days.

The Dodgers signed Arruebarrena, a slick-fielding shortstop out of Cuba, to a $25-million contract in 2014. He batted .195 in 22 games for the Dodgers that season but has not returned to the major leagues.

Arruebarrena, 26, was batting .182 in 17 games at double-A Tulsa this season.

The suspension is unpaid. The Dodgers owe him $4 million next year and $5 million in 2017.

Short hops

Yasiel Puig, who wears No. 66, was intrigued to see No. 66 as one of the Tampa Bay Rays’ retired numbers. The Rays retired the number in memory of Don Zimmer, who spent 66 years in professional baseball. … Trayce Thompson arrived at Tropicana Field six hours before game time, hoping to climb the catwalk on which his home run landed Tuesday. The Rays told him players are not allowed on the catwalk. “I went to see the sting rays instead,” Thompson said. … Manager Dave Roberts said early June would be a “best-case scenario” for the return of outfielder Scott Van Slyke, on the disabled list since April 10 because of irritation in his lower back. … The Dodgers have three of the first 36 picks — No. 20, No. 32 and No. 36 — in next month’s draft.


Twitter: @BillShaikin