NEW YORK -- The call from his 19-year-old son brought Carlos Alberto Urias to his knees.First in tears and then in prayer.This was "The Call" he had been waiting for since his son, Julio Urias, was 5-years old, playing with kids much older than him."I did. I did," Carlos said
NEW YORK -- The call from his 19-year-old son brought Carlos Alberto Urias to his knees.
First in tears and then in prayer.
This was "The Call" he had been waiting for since his son, Julio Urias, was 5-years old, playing with kids much older than him.
"I did. I did," Carlos said in Spanish. "I was at work and doubled over crying when he told me the Dodgers called him up. I could not believe it. He worked so hard to get there. Thanks to God, he did it."
The Dodgers called up teenage pitching phenom Urias on Thursday morning and the young pitcher immediately called his parents back home in Culiacan, Mexico, to tell them that he would be pitching Friday night against the Mets at Citi Field.
Upon hearing the news, the family's first stop was at La Lomita Virgen de Guadalupe Catholic Church where they gave thanks. Then they hopped on a plane to a larger airport in Mexico City that would carry them to New York.
The Urias family -- Carlos, his wife Juana Isabell, son Carlitos, 13, and daughter Alexia, 5,-- arrived in New York around 5:30 a.m. Friday.
"He's always loved baseball and he concentrated so hard on it," Juana Isabell said in Spanish. "Of course, you want your child to go [to] school and concentrate on education, but this is his dream. He said, 'This is a career, too. Mom, I'm going to get you the degree you want. It's a baseball degree from Major League Baseball.' He would say that in preschool and here we are."
The Urias family arrived at their midtown Manhattan hotel around 10 a.m ET. Within an hour of their arrival, their son knocked on their door. His face wore the same focused look it bore as a child, Juana Isabella said. He was also smiling ear-to-ear.
"I cried all day [Thursday] because I was thinking about my son being all alone in such an important time," she said. "But then I saw him [Friday] and you see how mature he is and how much he has grown. It's a good thing but also difficult to see your child grow up so fast in front of your eyes. He's only 19, but he has the mind of a man that is 25 and as parent, that is comforting."
Within hours, the Urias family was on the field to watch batting practice -- another first -- with Juana and Carlitos sporting Dodgers gear and Carlos wearing a jersey with his son's number 78 on the back. They chatted with Dodgers legendary Spanish broadcaster Jaime Jarrin. They posed for photos and shook hands with everyone who wanted to meet the parents of the man many project to be the next great Dodgers pitcher.
"This is a big day for Julio, but this is also a big day for Culiacan and for all of Mexico," Carlos said. "We have a lot of talent in Mexico and Julio is reminding people of the good baseball we play there."
Carlos, who began working with Julio when the pitcher was just a toddler, said his son has almost always been the youngest and most talented player on the field. The key to his son's success, he says, was his ability to make goals and meet them. Julio is never overwhelmed, Carlos said. It's a trait that's helped him become the top left-handed pitching prospect in the game and No. 2 overall prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com.
Urias gave up three runs in the first inning in the Dodgers' 6-5 loss Friday night. In all he was charged with five hits and four walks in 2 2/3 innings before he was replaced by Chris Hatcher. Urias struck out three batters. His family watched from their seats a few rows up from the visitors' dugout.
"At home and on the field, we have raised him to be a good boy, a good man," Carlos said. "When your son tells you he wants to be a Major League pitcher, you want it, too. He was around 13 or 14 when I started noticing the big changes in his ability and we also started thinking about big things for him. This was his dream, but we are enjoying it, too."
Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook.