LA Dodgers rookie Julio Urias appreciates team’s confidence in him

first_imgSAN FRANCISCO >> Throughout his minor-league career, the Dodgers treated Julio Urias like the precious commodity the precocious pitching prospect is, limiting his innings, limiting his pitch counts and making sure not to ask too much of the teenager.Since he has come to the major leagues, however, the gloves are off. The rookie made his major-league debut on the big stage of the Big Apple, facing the New York Mets at Citi Field. He followed that up with a start against the best team in the majors on the way to the best start by any team in 15 years, the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.And now, the Dodgers will send him to the mound against another first-place team on the road, starting him in a nationally-televised game against the San Francisco Giants on Sunday night.“I’m thankful for the confidence the team has in me,” Urias said through his interpreter. “It doesn’t matter where the outing is. I’m going to go out and do my best. “Life isn’t easy. Especially in this sport. If you’re not put in these situations, how are you going to learn?”Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said the team’s decision-makers are well aware of the crucible into which they have put the 19-year-old. And there has even been objections raised during discussions about sending Urias out against three of the top four teams in the National League.“Yeah. That’s the thing — there’s constant dialogue and conversations about that internally,” Roberts said. “But ultimately we decided he gives us the best chance to win with where we are with our rotation right now.“This is another test. But we feel he can handle it.”Though he lasted only 2 2/3 innings in that first start against the Mets, Urias has improved in each of his two starts since then. He will remain on an 80-to-90 pitch limit, Roberts said. The challenge now is for Urias to get deeper into games with those pitches than he has so far. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorcenter_img “Attack the batters more and try to hit my spots so I don’t have to work deep in the count as much,” Urias said of the adjustment he needs to make. “It’s a greater level. That’s why they call it the major leagues. It’s very different than the minor leagues. I’m just trying to learn from all the experiences.”After all the care the Dodgers put into the handling of Urias’ minor-league career, Roberts said he is not worried about any damage a potentially unsuccessful run at the major-league level might have on Urias.“No. No, not with Julio,” Roberts said. “Every pitcher, every position player is different and you have to be mindful of that. But Julio, the way he is – that’s not really a concern of ours.‘No. 1 his pitch mix is very good. He has four pitches that he has command of. It’s been in and out his first three starts in the big leagues, for sure. Just his confidence and his mound presence and the way he carries himself around established major-league players shows me he can handle this stage.”Day two The MLB Draft continued with the third through 10th rounds Friday and the Dodgers established a decided preference for college players. Their first pick on Friday (the third round) was a high school pitcher, right-hander Dustin May from Texas, but overall 10 of their first 12 picks through the first two days have been college players, including three of their first four picks on Thursday.Friday’s picks included three college pitchers — San Jacinto College North left-hander Devin Smeltzer (fifth round), High Point University right-hander Andre Scrubb (eighth) and Saint Mary’s College right-hander Anthony Gonsolin (ninth). After taking high school shortstop Gavin Lux with their first pick Thursday (20th overall), they took two more shortstops Friday — Errol Robinson from the University of Mississippi (sixth round) and Kevin Lachance from the University of Maryland-Baltimore County (10th).Puig ready for rehabYasiel Puig’s hamstring has healed well enough for him to start a minor-league injury-rehabilitation assignment Monday with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga.The state of his swing remains to be seen.When Puig went to the DL with a strained left hamstring a week ago, he took with him a .237 average, .283 on-base percentage, five home runs and 20 RBIs in 53 games — sickly numbers buoyed by a hot start to the season. Since April 20, Puig has been a .197 hitter with just four walks in 142 plate appearances.Roberts said Puig’s DL time has been necessary to get his hamstring healed. But he acknowledged “we’re trying to get the most out of this” and Puig has been working with hitting coach Turner Ward.last_img

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