NEW YORK -- The Dodgers optioned teenage starter Julio Urias back to Triple-A Oklahoma City Saturday, one day after his rocky Major League debut against the Mets.The 19-year-old Urias, who was called up to start in place of the injured Alex Wood, allowed three runs in 2 2/3 innings while
NEW YORK -- The Dodgers optioned teenage starter Julio Urias back to Triple-A Oklahoma City Saturday, one day after his rocky Major League debut against the Mets.
The 19-year-old Urias, who was called up to start in place of the injured Alex Wood, allowed three runs in 2 2/3 innings while becoming the first teenage pitcher to start a Major League game in 11 years. His early exit required the Dodgers' bullpen to pick up the remaining 5 1/3 innings in the first game of a seven-game road trip to New York and Chicago.
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Urias, the club's No. 1 prospect, was replaced on the 25-man roster by reliever Casey Fien, whose contract was purchased from Oklahoma City. Room on the 40-man roster was made for Fien by designating outfielder James Ramsey for assignment.
Manager Dave Roberts said Urias will make two or three starts at Triple-A, "and then we'll see what's the best thing to get him back here -- what's best for us as well as him."
Club officials have stressed they are mindful of Urias' usage. He had thrown 41 innings for Oklahoma City this year, the last 27 without allowing a run. He threw 80 2/3 innings last year, and while the club hasn't announced an innings limit for 2016, it's believed to be about 125.
Urias' recent domination at Triple-A led the Dodgers to promote him over the more experienced Zach Lee for what turned into a spot start Friday in a game the Dodgers lost in the bottom of the ninth inning, 6-5, on Curtis Granderson's walk-off homer against Pedro Baez.
The game sped up on Urias, who admitted he was nervous. He faced 17 Mets hitters, who demonstrated extreme patience -- none of them took a swing at Urias' first pitch. Of those, 13 were called balls.
Nonetheless, Roberts reiterated that Urias pitched better than it appeared in the box score.
"Julio threw the ball we thought well," said Roberts, "Where he's at and where our 'pen is at, it was more the fact that we needed coverage in the bullpen the next three or four days."
After breaking the news to Urias on Saturday morning, Roberts said he is not concerned about the pitcher's confidence.
"I don't think there's any reason I should be," he said. "He made some tough pitches, and some tough pitches didn't go his way, but not a bunch of balls were squared up. On this stage, I thought he handled himself well."
The most recent Dodgers teenager to appear in a game before Urias was Fernando Valenzuela, who made his debut out of the bullpen on Sept. 15, 1980, at 19 years, 319 days. The last Dodgers pitcher younger than Urias to make a start was Dick Calmus, who took the mound at Dodger Stadium on Aug. 23, 1963, against Milwaukee at 19 years, 228 days.
Urias, at 19 years, 289 days, became the youngest Dodgers player to make his Major League debut since Adrian Beltre (19 years, 78 days on his debut, June 24, 1998, against the Angels), and the youngest Dodger to make his debut as a starting pitcher since Rex Barney (18 years, 242 days on his debut vs. the Cubs on Aug. 18, 1943).
Urias was the youngest Major Leaguer to make his debut since Texas' Jurickson Profar (19 years, 195 days on Sept. 2, 2012, against Cleveland), and the youngest starting pitcher on their debut since Seattle's Felix Hernandez (19 years, 118 days on Aug. 4, 2005, vs. Detroit). He also became the youngest National Leaguer to make his debut since Washington's Bryce Harper (19 years, 195 days on April 28, 2012, against the Dodgers), and youngest NL starter since Dwight Gooden (19 years, 143 days on April 7, 1984, against Houston).
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.