The "Teenager" is becoming a young adult, but that doesn't mean he's ready for the bright lights of Opening Day.
Julio Urias, the Los Angeles Dodgers' highly touted left-hander, turned heads in his debut season last year, but he'll be turning phrases in extended spring training this April.
The Dodgers opted to put Urias on ice to start their 2017 campaign, rather than have their future ace start the season in the Opening Day rotation.
Last Tuesday, the team announced that Urias will start the season at Camelback Ranch in Arizona for an extended spring training.
"He's not going to open with us," Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts told reporters before the team departed Camelback Ranch for a preseason Freeway Series with the Anaheim Angels. "He's going to come to Los Angeles with us and just kind of be in that environment. We've already had internal discussions about his program going forward."
This is not a knock on Urias' talent or skillset, but rather, a cautious approach to one of the more prized arms in the game. Urias went 5-2 with a 3.39 ERA in his inaugural season, but he threw nearly 83 innings at the major league level, not including the 45 he threw in the minor leagues.
That's over 128 innings pitched for a boy who's not even old enough to legally drink alcohol. His body is still developing, and his golden left arm is still fragile.
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Therefore, the front office will have a strict innings limit on their young star for the 2017 season. Neither President of Baseball Operations, Andrew Friedman, or General Manager, Farhan Zaidi, have stated what that limit could be, but it's more than likely at or around 150 innings.
If you're a fan of Urias, and anxious to see him at Chavez Ravine this season, fear not. It's not a matter of if Urias pitches in the big leagues this season, but when. Urias proved in his last 16 appearances last season, including the playoffs, that he has what it takes to pitch at the major league level, but with a bevy of talent on the roster, the Dodgers are in no rush call him up.
"I felt ready, I felt comfortable," Urias said of his 2016 season during an interview with NBC LA during spring training in Glendale, AZ. "I'm just trying to get better with the pitches I have."
We anticipate to see Urias around May, but that timetable could change depending on injuries and performance of the current starting rotation.
"It's very different. I feel more comfortable. It's not that I have to stop fighting for a position on the team, but I feel more comfortable."
In the meantime, the 20-year-old Mexican sensation just wants to play baseball. He understands what the Dodgers are doing, and he respects their decision, but needless to say, he yearns to be on the mound again for the boys in blue.
"You leave it up to the team," Urias said of the decision to stay in extended spring training through the use of an interpreter. "If that is what happens, you just have to go with it and respect whatever decision they make. My mind is in preparation and I will continue to work."