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Dodgers' Julio Urias is headed back to L.A. as concern about shoulder mounts

Julio Urias is expected to return to Los Angeles amid heightened concern about the severity of the injury to his left shoulder, according to people familiar with the situation.

Urias, the Dodgers' top pitching prospect, has been resting at the team's Arizona training complex at Camelback Ranch. He was examined this week by team doctor Neal ElAttrache.

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An initial scan of Urias' shoulder revealed only inflammation, according to the information manager Dave Roberts relayed last week. There is concern that the injury could be more serious than that. Andrew Friedman, the president of baseball operations, indicated he could not delve into the details of Urias' situation.

"We don't have anything definitive to share at this point on Julio," Friedman said. "We are actively talking through it and will hopefully have something more substantive to share soon."

The triple-A Oklahoma City Dodgers put Urias, 20, on the minor league disabled list June 14. Urias reported discomfort in his shoulder after an outing four days before.

A precocious talent, Urias has presented a logistical puzzle for the Dodgers during the last three seasons. The team has worried about over-using him and exposing him to a workload his body could not handle.

Urias missed time in 2015 after undergoing eye surgery. In 2016, he became the first teenager to pitch for the Dodgers since Fernando Valenzuela. Once he joined the club, Urias shifted between the rotation and the bullpen, before settling into a starting role in August. He finished with a career-high 127 2/3 innings, including 5 2/3 in the playoffs.

The team intended to limit his innings for 2017. Urias arrived at camp with the rest of the starting pitchers believing he could compete for a spot in the opening-day rotation. The team held him back for most of March and he opened the regular season in the minors.

After three appearances in Oklahoma City, Urias got promoted to the majors. He stumbled as he failed to command his pitches, resulting in more walks than strikeouts. The team sent him to Oklahoma City after he produced a 5.40 earned-run average in five starts. The hope was Urias could refine his delivery in the minors before rejoining the Dodgers later in the summer.

Those plans may be compromised. More clarity could come when Urias gets checked out.

"Hopefully we'll know more," Roberts said. "I hope we have some direction, because I don't know right now. It's still kind of fuzzy, trying to sift through some information. I know Julio's going to be here — I'm hoping this weekend. But as far as on the medical side, I don't have any more information."

Twitter: @McCulloughTimes

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