By Jon Weisman
In his story on Julio Urias today for MLB.com, Jesse Sanchez presents a couple of bold March options for the teenage left-hander. I’m not sure how viable either are, but let Sanchez set it up for you …
There could come a time this spring when Dodgers pitching prospect Julio Urias will have to make a big decision: suit up for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic qualifying round next month in Mexicali, Mexico, or stay in Arizona and pitch for a spot with Los Angeles.
The 19-year-old pitcher already knows what he’ll do if the situation arises.
“My first choice would be to be here with the Dodgers and see if there is an opportunity for me here,” Urias said in Spanish. “I prefer to be with the Dodgers. But at the same time, I would enjoy being with the Mexican team.” …
Not even Clayton Kershaw made his pitching debut with the Dodgers in the month of April, so when you talk about Urias trying to “pitch for a spot with Los Angeles,” one assumes that’s a long-term goal. As for the WBC, Urias doesn’t have any specific reason to believe he would go.
“I’ve heard I appeared on a list, but nobody has said anything to me,” Urias said. “Adrian [Gonzalez] is here and his brother is the manager, so I don’t know what my status is there. I would love to do it, but it’s also up to Mexico to choose me.”
Perhaps the main takeaway from Sanchez’s story might be that Urias, who has rated as mature for his age even since the Dodgers signed him in 2012, continues to progress.
“In talking to people that were here in years prior, he’s got a different look in his eye,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “He’s got that confidence where he’s no longer this young kid with a blessed arm. Right now, he feels that at the Major League level, there is a real opportunity to make an impact, and that’s a good thing.”
Elsewhere in the world of the Dodgers and baseball …
- Dave Roberts, who played the final four seasons of his career under Bruce Bochy, talked about the influence of the Giants manager, via Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle.
- Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. talks about the strong (caffeinated strong) first impression Roberts is making.
- Hyun-Jin Ryu had “normal soreness” after his Monday bullpen session. Doug Padilla of ESPN.com explains.
- A.J. Ellis is very impressed by Kenta Maeda, according to Sanchez. “I know about his fastball command and I’ve seen evidence of his slider and how devastating his slider can be, but I was impressed with his changeup and his ability to throw that today with the quality of depth he had with it and really command it in the middle of the plate,” Ellis said.
- Confused by all the different statistical projection systems you might see out there? Henry Druschel of Beyond the Box Score has a primer.
And ping pong is back, baby.