Julio Urías’ uncertain status leaves the Dodgers’ pitching plans in limbo

Los Angeles, CA - October 20: Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Julio Urias leaves the field.

Dodgers starting pitcher Julio Urías no longer travels with the Dodgers after his arrest. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

will Julio Urías Pitch again for that dodgers?

Two days after the left-hander was arrested on suspicion of domestic violenceleft the question unanswered for the team on Tuesday, casting doubt on the Dodgers’ pitching plans for the remainder of the season.

“It’s definitely very unfortunate,” said coach Dave Roberts at the start of a six-game trip that did not include Urías with the team. “Right now, it’s essentially up to the authorities and Major League Baseball to do their due diligence. Obviously Julio is not here with us and we are just sitting and waiting while the process goes on until we know more.”

Read more: Plaschke: Julio Urías just can’t pitch again for the Dodgers

Urías was arrested Sunday night as he was leaving the LAFC-Inter Miami soccer game in the BMO field. He was being held in a Los Angeles jail and was released Monday morning on $50,000 bail. His court date is September 27th. Details of the alleged incident were not released.

Urías could be suspended while the league opens an investigation. He was previously investigated in 2019 for violating MLB’s domestic violence policy and had a 20-game suspension despite not being charged with a crime.

With the playoffs starting next month, his chances of returning to the mound before the end of the season remain unclear, as does his future with the team. Urias is rumored to be a free agent this offseason.

“An extremely disappointing development,” said the president of the Dodgers’ baseball division Andrew Friedmanwho called Urías on Monday to inform him that he would not be traveling with the team this week.

Read more: Dodgers pitcher Julio Urías has been arrested on suspicion of domestic violence

“Right now, for us,” Friedman added, “is about him and his proxies solving the problem while we focus on both the short and long term.”

Uncertainty will weigh on you dodgers Team struggling to find consistency in their rotation. It had become apparent well before Sunday that the state of starting pitching could be a potential obstacle to post-season success.

Urías was part of the problem. Be 4.60 ERA in 21 starts is the highest of his career. His 11-8 record is the worst in any season in which he was primarily a starter. And after back-to-back campaigns as a Cy Young Award nominee, he has failed to deliver the kind of performance the Dodgers expected when they selected him as their opening day starter in March.

Nonetheless, Urías remained an important cog in their plans for October.

He and Clayton Kershaw — who was the Dodgers’ starter in Tuesday night’s series opener against the Miami Marlins — seemed likely the only pitcher the team would trust with typical full-length starting roles in the playoffs.

Dodgers pitcher Julio Urías walks to the dugout during a loss to the Chicago Cubs April 16 at Dodger Stadium.
Dodgers starting pitcher Julio Urías walks to the dugout during a loss to the Chicago Cubs April 16 at Dodger Stadium. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Urías’ post-season track record – including his pivotal performance as Swingman at the club’s 2020 World Series title – should help stabilize a staff that, despite recent improvements, is only 16th in the Majors on Team ERA.

If Urías doesn’t make the playoffs, the Dodgers will have to try to make up for his absence, with limited options. Tony Gonsolin and Dustin May have both lost to operations by Tommy John and the team’s new additions to the mound have seen mixed results.

Kershaw could be forced into a heavier workload, potentially putting more strain on a 35-year veteran who Roberts said is still grappling with a shoulder injury that kept him sidelined through July.

“The hope is that he continues to get better,” Roberts said of Kershaw. “But given the physical condition he’s in, it’s hard to say that’s going to happen. If we manage to stay here and bet on him, I think we can count on that.”

Rookie right-hander Bobby Miller could be asked to pitch more October innings, a tall order for a 24-year-old who made his major league debut in late May.

The importance of Walker Buehler’s recovery Tommy John’s surgery would also increase – although his return is no guarantee.

While Buehler had two clean innings in his first minor league start Sunday, he will need at least two more rehab appearances before returning to the Dodgers, Roberts said, and even then he is not expected to play for the workload of a starter is fully prepared.

Read more: Q&A: Here’s what’s next for Julio Urías and the Dodgers after his arrest

“What happened yesterday? [with Urías’ arrest] will not impact his progress,” Roberts said of Buehler. “If we just feel like he’s healthy and can get the top players out of the major leagues then we feel good. And if we don’t, we’re willing not to pull that lever.”

Friedman was still trying to strike a confident tone when asked about the possibility of not having Urías in October.

“We feel like we’re going to have a lot of talent on our pitching team in October,” Friedman said. “We may not know exactly who the 13 will be at this time. But we are very confident that we will bring some really big things to the table.”

Roberts was confident Urías’ situation would not distract the club.

“I think everyone is like me [it being] “A very unfortunate circumstance,” said Roberts. “I think our guys are really just trying to focus on today and let things go their way.”

Still, there’s no question that this year’s Dodgers’ best version was the one led by Urías on the hill.

And if he weren’t available in the playoffs, it could complicate their World Series quest significantly.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.


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