Julio Urias' nine-strikeout gem not enough to keep him in the Dodgers' rotation
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts explains how he plans to use the lefty out of the bullpen
Dodgers left-hander Julio Urias put together a dominant outing against the Brewers (LAD 3, MIL 1) on Thursday, but it might be his last start for a while. Urias will move to the bullpen once Hyun-Jin Ryu returns to the rotation, manager Dave Roberts confirmed on Thursday after Urias' start. The 22-year-old didn't allow a hit until the fifth inning, and finished his night with six innings pitched, two walks, no earned runs, nine strikeouts (a career high) on 91 pitches -- a rebound from last week's start when he gave up five earned runs against the same team.
Urias became the second Dodgers pitcher to allow just one hit and strike out nine or more Brewers in a start, joining Chan Ho Park who did it Aug. 29, 2000. Urias also became the youngest Dodgers starter with nine-plus strikeouts, one hit or less since Clayton Kershaw in 2009.
"We feel he's a major-league starter," Roberts said (via MLB.com's Ken Gurnick). "With who we have in our rotation, to curtail his innings, it's best for the Dodgers now and going forward." Roberts also added that Urias won't be a typical left-handed reliever, and the plan is for him to pitch multiple high-leverage innings with no back-to-back days.
Ryu will return from the injured list to start Saturday against the Brewers (stream nationally via fuboTV), pushing Kershaw's scheduled start to Sunday. Ryu was placed on the 10-day injured list on April 9 after sustaining a left groin strain. He suffered a pretty that saw him miss nearly three months, but this season's injury was diagnosed as minor. After throwing a 40-pitch bullpen session with no issues Monday at Dodger Stadium, Ryu was cleared to join the club. Prior to his stint on the IL, Ryu compiled a 3.07 ERA, 0.89 WHIP and 14:1 K:BB ratio in 14.1 innings (three starts).
Rich Hill began the 2019 season on the injured list after suffering a left knee strain in a spring training game in March. On Wednesday, Hill threw 54 pitches over four scoreless innings, with his fastball sitting between 89 and 91 mph, in a rehab start for Class A Rancho Cucamonga. Roberts told reporters that the veteran lefty will make a second rehab start before coming off the IL, and he is expected to make his season debut with the team next week in Chicago.
With early season injuries to Kershaw, Ryu and Hill, L.A.'s rotation depth was tested and the results were solid. The Dodgers (13-8) have won five straight, and sit in first-place in the National League West. The club will continue their road trip with a weekend series in Milwaukee before traveling to Chicago to face the Cubs on Tuesday.
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