After a rehab process that spanned more than 14 months, left-hander Julio Urias is back in the Majors. The Dodgers announced Monday that they’ve recalled the 22-year-old from Triple-A Oklahoma City — his first look in the big leagues since undergoing shoulder surgery last June.
Urias’ rapid ascent to the Majors is among the most impressive we’ve seen out of a pitcher in recent memory. The still-young lefty arrived on the scene in May 2016 — well shy of his 20th birthday — and gave the Dodgers 77 innings of 3.39 ERA ball with 84 strikeouts against 31 walks across multiple big league stints over the remainder of that season. Urias was one of the game’s 10 best prospects before debuting in ’16 and was looked at as a potential building block for the Dodgers’ rotation before last summer’s surgery.
That’s still the best-case scenario for Urias, of course, though surgery to repair the anterior capsule in his left shoulder at such a young age was a disheartening development that created a somewhat increased degree of uncertainty moving forward. For the time being, it’s likely he’ll be used out of the bullpen, as he’s only thrown 11 2/3 innings across three minor league levels since returning from that surgery. He’s racked up 19 strikeouts in that time but also issued six walks and been tagged for seven earned runs.
Some rust is to be expected for Urias, but a healthy run in September and perhaps in October, even in a relief role, would be a significant step forward as the Dodgers map out his trajectory in 2019 and beyond. It seems likely that Urias will again be viewed as a starter in the future, though Los Angeles will keep a close eye on his workload as he distances himself from major shoulder surgery.