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Julio Urías has no first-inning jitters in smooth outing against Diamondbacks

Dodgers starter Julio Urias delivers against the Diamondbacks.
Dodgers starter Julio Urias delivers during the second inning of a 6-3 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday night.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

Julio Urías took the mound Tuesday night knowing his spot in the Dodgers’ starting rotation was secure for the foreseeable future.

The Dodgers traded Ross Stripling to the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday and directed Alex Wood to the bullpen Tuesday because they believe they have five other better choices to start games. Urías is one of them despite occasional struggles, often fueled by ugly and inefficient first innings, this season. He’s joined by Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin in the rotation. The Dodgers are sticking with him in the role at least until the playoffs, when rotations shrink.

And the left-hander displayed his potential Tuesday, holding the Arizona Diamondbacks to one run across six innings in the Dodgers’ 6-3 win at Dodger Stadium.

Urías entered Tuesday having allowed seven runs in the first inning over his first six outings. He gave up four runs in his other 21 innings. The first inning wasn’t a problem in his seventh start. He retired the side in order with 12 pitches. He threw 78 pitches total and no more than 15 in an inning. The only run he surrendered came on Carson Kelly’s home run in the third inning. He recorded five strikeouts without a walk.

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His next start is scheduled for Sunday. He will be the first Dodgers starter to pitch on four days’ rest this season.

“We mostly talked about attacking hitters,” Urías said. “I felt really good, and I think that’s why things worked out today.”

Before the game, the Dodgers (27-10) placed Justin Turner on the 10-day injured list with the left hamstring strain he suffered Friday against the Texas Rangers. Cody Bellinger also wasn’t in their lineup after he injured his right lat area in the batting cage before the game. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he wasn’t sure whether Bellinger would play Wednesday.

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Without the two middle-of-the-order bats, the Dodgers jumped out in front in the first inning on Chris Taylor’s bases-loaded walk against Arizona starter Alex Young. They tacked on a run in in the third inning, two in the fifth and two in the sixth to sail to their 16th win in 19 games.

The Dodgers’ decision to discard Stripling and not acquire a starting pitcher before Monday’s trade deadline seemingly doubled as a vote of confidence for the rotation options behind Kershaw and Buehler. The Dodgers had a logjam, and Stripling was the odd man out. But there was still one too many starters in the picture.

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Highlights from the Dodgers’ 6-3 win over the Diamondbacks.

On Tuesday, the club provided more clarity when Roberts announced Wood was coming off the injured list to be a reliever. He confirmed Kershaw, Buehler, Urías, May and Gonsolin will make up the rotation. President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and his colleagues believe the Dodgers can win a World Series with some combination of those five pitchers logging the bulk of the innings in October.

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But what if there is another, proven option available? What if David Price chose to pitch for the Dodgers this season after announcing at the beginning of training camp that he would not play this season because of COVID-19 concerns?

Major League Baseball and the players’ association originally agreed on an Aug.1 deadline for players to reverse their decision to play this season. Atlanta Braves outfielder Nick Markakis beat the deadline to return, but it wasn’t a hard deadline.

On Monday, Miami Marlins second baseman Isan Díaz was reinstated after choosing not to play Aug.1. Diaz had to make a request for reinstatement to Major League Baseball before a process was completed, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. An agreement between MLB and the union also was required.

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In a conference call with reporters Monday, after news of Díaz’s intention surfaced, Friedman was asked whether Price could rejoin the team this season. He didn’t shut down the possibility.

“It’s a better question for David,” Friedman said. “I’ve talked to him a decent amount and texted during games. We have not discussed that, but he’s definitely locked in on Dodger baseball, that’s for sure.”

A message left for Price’s agent Monday was not returned. On Tuesday, Roberts echoed Friedman’s assessment of the idea.

“I think anything’s possible,” Roberts said. “But I’ve had different text threads, messages with David, and nothing like that came up. Certainly, that’s his decision, but I really, truthfully don’t know where he’s at as far as where his arm is at. So that’s his decision.”

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Friedman said he didn’t know whether Price had continued throwing after his decision, but he encouraged the left-hander to not stop. He recalled that Price “totally agreed.”

Returning in any capacity this season would present a steep challenge for Price. Even if he has maintained a throwing routine, he hasn’t pitched in a major league game since last Sept. 1. Would the Dodgers even entertain having one of Price’s first games in more than a year be a playoff start? Returning as a reliever could make more sense.

But that’s all premature. The Dodgers say they don’t know whether Price is even considering joining them. The chances are remote. For now, they’re proceeding with what they’ve got. It was more than good enough Tuesday.

Short hops

Roberts said Buehler will come off the injured list Wednesday to start against Arizona. He was put on the IL with a blister on his right hand last week. … Edwin Ríos was activated from the injured list to take Turner’s place on the roster. He started at third base and went 0 for 3 with an RBI. … The Dodgers announced they acquired right-hander Kendall Williams from Toronto as one of the two players to be named in Monday’s trade. Williams, 20, was a 2019 second-round pick.

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Three takeaways

  • Alex Wood tallied two strikeouts and hit a batter in a scoreless eighth inning in his first appearance since July 25. His fastball velocity, which dropped into the high 80s before he went on the injured list with shoulder inflammation, sat at 91 mph.
  • AJ Pollock, Max Muncy and Chris Taylor each delivered two of the Dodgers’ eight hits. Taylor produced four RBIs with two doubles and a bases-loaded walk.
  • The Dodgers held a five-run lead with two outs in the ninth inning before Scott Alexander walked a batter and gave up a two-run home run. Manager Dave Roberts then inserted closer Kenley Jansen, who struck out Daulton Varsho to end the game and notch his 10th save.

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