A few hours before Hyun-Jin Ryu recorded a rare letdown and the Dodgers fell to the Atlanta Braves 4-3 on Saturday in the second of three meetings at SunTrust Park, news surfaced that one of their talented left-handers would not take the mound for some time.
Major League Baseball announced Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias accepted a 20-game suspension stemming from his May arrest on suspicion of misdemeanor domestic battery. The suspension, which began Saturday, includes the five games Urias missed while on administrative leave, effectively making it a 15-game, unpaid ban. The measure was agreed upon by the players association and MLB, which collected evidence and conducted various interviews, including an in-person meeting with Urias.
“Since May, I have been fully cooperating with both law enforcement and MLB,” Urias said in a statement released by the players’ association. “Although the authorities determined no charges of any kind were warranted, I accept full responsibility for what I believe was my inappropriate conduct during the incident.
“Even in this instance where there was no injury or history of violence, I understand and agree that Major League players should be held to a higher standard. I hold myself to a higher standard as well.”
Dodgers team president Stan Kasten said Urias will report to the spring training facility at Camelback Ranch and return to the team after his suspension. President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said the left-hander can go on a rehab assignment Aug. 27.
“This is a program that is collaborative between the union and baseball,” Kasten said. “I’m very comfortable accepting their judgment about what should happen.”
Urias logged a three-inning save in Friday’s comeback win over Atlanta knowing his suspension was imminent. On Saturday, Casey Sadler was recalled from triple-A Oklahoma City to take his roster spot and the Dodgers moved on to face their closest National League competition without him.
Ryu took the mound for the Dodgers having allowed two earned runs in six starts since the beginning of July. He gave up double that amount over 5-2/3 innings Saturday. It was his shortest outing since June 28 and the second time he’s given up more than two earned runs in a start this season. His league-leading earned-run average increased from 1.45 to 1.64.
The Braves scored first on Ozzie Albies’ two-run double in the third inning. They added two more when Josh Donaldson and Adam Duvall slugged back-to-back home runs off Ryu, who had surrendered four homers in his previous 17 starts, to seize a 4-2 lead.
“I just have to tip my cap to them,” Ryu said through an interpreter. “It wasn’t necessarily middle-middle pitch for both of them. It was actually more towards the quadrant that I wanted.”
Braves right-hander Mike Foltynewicz, meanwhile, was bobbing and weaving after entering the night with a 6.24 ERA. The Dodgers were making him work, quickly escalating his pitch count, but left eight runners on base in his five innings. Matt Beaty broke the ice for the Dodgers with a leadoff home run in the fourth inning and his two-out, RBI single in the fifth tied the score and chased Foltynewicz.
Max Muncy clubbed a leadoff home run in the seventh inning to give the Dodgers 24 home runs in their last six games, tying a major-league record. But the Dodgers failed to score again as Mark Melancon, one of three relievers the Braves acquired at the trade deadline, pitched the ninth inning for the save.
“You’re going to lose baseball games,” manager Dave Roberts said. “And for us to get beat, I guess it’s a little bit easier to swallow than to beat yourselves, and tonight you just got to give credit to the Braves.”
The Dodgers got 2-1/3 scoreless innings from Joe Kelly, Adam Kolarek and Pedro Baez in the absence of Urias, who has posted a 2.06 ERA in 39-1/3 innings since his arrest. He appeared in 18 games — 16 as a reliever — and is likely to remain in the bullpen for the rest of the season when he returns. He can be a dominant force in the role as he displayed Friday, closing against a team the Dodgers could encounter in the postseason. If the clubs do clash in October, Urias, barring injury, will be in the Dodgers’ bullpen because his suspension does not affect his playoff eligibility.
But his performance has taken a backseat to his arrest at the Beverly Center on May 13. After the incident, witnesses told police he shoved the woman he was with, according to people with knowledge of the situation. The woman, however, told investigators she fell in the parking lot while they argued. Urias, who turned 23 on Monday, was placed on paid administrative leave by MLB the next day. The commissioner’s office reinstated Urias a week later — the maximum period before the league must request an extension for the leave — in coordination with the players association.
In June, city prosecutors announced they would not file charges against Urias and no action would be taken in connection with the report, as long as he is not arrested again for violent criminal behavior in the next year and he participated in a 52-week domestic violence counseling program in person. MLB’s investigation, however, remained open as Urias continued pitching.
After Friday’s game, he met with Kasten, Friedman and Roberts after the game. Kasten said Urias expressed remorse.
“He understands the gravity of things like this,” Kasten said. “He’s going to work hard to move forward, learn from this, improve. We hope so and if that is how he feels, we will be here to help him as anyone, I would think, would expect us to.”
Tony Gonsolin will start today, Roberts said. The right-hander last pitched Monday, when he threw five scoreless innings for Oklahoma City. Dustin May, who was listed as Sunday’s starter, will pitch out of the bullpen for the first time. …Roberts said infielder Jedd Gyorko will come off the injured list and make his Dodgers debut at first base.