Restrictions off, Dodgers’ Julio Urias has been valuable in swing role – Press Enterprise

Restrictions off, Dodgers’ Julio Urias has been valuable in swing role – Press Enterprise

ARLINGTON, Texas — For most of Julio Urias’ career, it would have been unthinkable.

But the Dodgers had Urias, still just 24 years old, start Game 3 of the National League Championship Series against the Atlanta Braves and throw a career-high 101 pitches over five innings – then come back four days later in relief and pitch the final three innings of Game 7.

The innings restrictions and pitch limits that enveloped Urias like bubble wrap for years have clearly been lifted.

“I just think it’s time,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “It’s taken a long time for us to get to that point and obviously him overcoming injury (major shoulder surgery in June 2017). I think we’ve been very cautious with him. But right now, he’s as strong as he’s ever been and he’s got the experience and it certainly helped him being pretty efficient in Game 7.”

Urias has been more than efficient this postseason. He has been outstanding. In four appearances this postseason (NLCS Game 3 being the only start so far), Urias has allowed two runs (one unearned) on seven hits and three walks while striking out 16 in 16 innings.

“It’s just patience. God’s timing is perfect,” Urias said through an interpreter. “The way the team has used me required patience but I was just waiting for my moment. That was my moment and I was able to do my job and that’s what makes me happy.”

Roberts would not rule out Urias as potentially starting Game 2 – but Game 4 with adequate rest is more likely. To get there, though, the Dodgers will have to navigate a bullpen game in Game 2, likely featuring Tony Gonsolin and Dustin May in some capacity. Walker Buehler is lined up to start Game 3.

“I think that if you’re looking at starters who can potentially take down a lot of innings tomorrow, we just don’t have a person,” Roberts said of Game 2. “So it’s going to be a bullpen whatever kind of game, using various arms and who starts that game I just don’t know yet.”

SETTLE DOWN

Cody Bellinger was in the Dodgers’ starting lineup for Game 1 on Tuesday despite popping his right shoulder out of its socket on a forearm bash with Kiké Hernandez, celebrating Bellinger’s go-ahead home run in Game 7 of the NLCS against the Braves.

By Bellinger’s own admission, he has a loose shoulder that has popped out “three or four times” in the past, including on a diving play while playing first base in May 2019. That prompted the Dodgers to make the outfield his primary defensive home and Bellinger to add some shoulder-strengthening exercises to his workout routine.

Roberts said before Game 1 that Bellinger was “a little bit sore” but “felt better than he thought he would.” Bellinger was expected to have the shoulder taped up and possibly wear a brace.

But Roberts said he didn’t feel the need to remind his players not to hurt themselves celebrating the high points of the postseason.

“No – I wish I would have had that talk before he did the forearm bump with Kiké,” Roberts said. “But I think that after hearing that or seeing that, I think it’s pretty well noted.”

MADDI UPDATE

A.J. Pollock’s daughter, Maddi, celebrated her seven-month birthday in the Dodgers’ quarantine bubble on Monday. Maddi was born prematurely, weighing just 1 pound and 6 ounces at birth, and she spent the first 128 days of her life in a neo-natal intensive care unit at a Phoenix area hospital.

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