Dodgers: Plans for Julio Urias Change With Rich Hill’s Injury

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LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 20: Julio Urias #7 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches in the first inning against the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium on June 20, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 20: Julio Urias #7 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches in the first inning against the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium on June 20, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images) /
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The Dodgers’ plans for Julio Urias have been very fluid this season. With Rich Hill now sidelined for at least a month, the plans for Urias become much more clear.

Yesterday I wrote about how the Dodgers should put Ross Stripling back into the rotation assuming that Rich Hill would only be sidelined for a few weeks. Then news came Thursday evening that Hill will not pick up a baseball for 3-4 weeks and that he is likely out until August.

That changes things considerably since now there is no guarantee that Rich will come back and pitch effectively again this season.  There is a chance that his forearm discomfort is still there when he does start throwing again since forearm discomfort is often a telltale sign of significant elbow problems to come.

If Hill is indeed a non-factor for the rest of the season it would be a big blow to the Dodgers’ rotation.  Especially when it comes to the postseason where Hill has a 3.04 ERA in the playoffs as a Dodger and has been one of the most consistent starters in the playoffs for LA.  If healthy he would slot in as the third or fourth playoff starter with Ryu, Buehler, and Kershaw likely pitching ahead of him.

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To prep for the possibility that Rich Hill either doesn’t return this season or isn’t the same pitcher when he returns, the Dodgers should put Julio Urias back in the rotation.  Like teammate Walker Buehler, Urias has the power stuff that plays up in October.  The only concern for Julio would be keeping his emotions in check for a playoff start, but his stuff gives him the potential to dominate a postseason.

By placing Julio Urias back in the bullpen, the Dodgers have room to add another reliever or two through a trade.  This would help make up for the loss of Urias since he has been a nice boost to the bullpen.  While Ross Stripling is better in the rotation compared to the pen, he does not have the stuff to be a dominating starter in the playoffs like Julio can be.

The Dodgers had a strict innings limit on Julio this season as it is his first full season back from anterior capsule surgery.  Now that nearly half the season is gone and Urias has spent the bulk of his time in the bullpen, he should be able to start the rest of the season without being on an innings limit.

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Rich Hil is one of the club’s most underrated pitchers so the Dodgers will anxiously wait for his potential return.  In the meantime, the team should start Julio and let him start readjusting to being a starting pitcher again since he may be needed in the postseason rotation.

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