Dodgers option Julio Urias to Oklahoma City, but with a detour to extended spring training
As part of the Dodgers’ plan to limit Julio Urias’ innings, the team optioned him to triple-A Oklahoma City with the intention of pitching within the next five days — although not for Oklahoma City right away.
The team still intends to stash Urias in extended spring training for at least one outing, a simulated game slated for next week at Camelback Ranch that will occur before Oklahoma City opens the season on April 6. From there, the team will determine whether Urias should continue to pitch in Arizona or shift to facing Pacific Coast League competition.
The Dodgers cannot send Urias directly to extended spring training via an option. But management has shown creativity in the past in these situations. The team placed rookie Ross Stripling on the minor league disabled list last summer with “lower body fatigue” while the club looked to save innings for him.
Urias could follow a similar route. The team has not yet determined the exact pathway to get him through these next few weeks, as he stretches his arm out to prepare for joining the big league club. Urias will likely be held between 160 and 180 innings this year, which would make him viable to join the team by May, or perhaps earlier.
Urias, 20, went 5-2 with a 3.39 earned-run average in 2016. The Dodgers have been extremely cautious about overextending him, as the team views him as an ace in the near future.
Baez could be ready soon
Despite missing all of the Cactus League due to a bone bruise on his hand, reliever Pedro Baez could be ready to rejoin the Dodgers when he comes off the disabled list, Manager Dave Roberts said. Baez threw an inning in a minor league game earlier in the week.
“He was 95-97 mph,” Roberts said. “He’s done two sim games and pitched in one minor league game. I do think it is a possibility that he will be ready.”
Hyun-Jin Ryu took part in a simulated game Saturday afternoon. Roberts has slotted him into the fifth spot in the Dodgers rotation, but the team could pivot so he pitches fourth. If he pitches fifth, his first two regular-season starts would be at Coors Field against the Rockies and Wrigley Field against the Cubs.
Get our high school sports newsletter
Prep Rally is devoted to the SoCal high school sports experience, bringing you scores, stories and a behind-the-scenes look at what makes prep sports so popular.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.