LOS ANGELES — To hear Dave Roberts tell it, it didn’t matter whether Julio Urías was missing the strike zone on a back field at Camelback Ranch, at Triple-A, or in Dodger Stadium. If he could not throw a strike, Urías would not last long in the majors.
Urías said it himself after his shortest start of the year Saturday, a forgettable 2⅓-inning outing against the Miami Marlins. The Dodgers optioned Urías to Triple-A Oklahoma City on Sunday and recalled reliever Josh Ravin.
“Everything kind of goes together,” Urías said through an interpreter Saturday. “When you don’t throw first-pitch strikes and you don’t have control, it ends up being a bad night.”
Urías, 20, has a 5.40 earned-run average in five starts for the Dodgers this season. He allowed two runs in his first three starts. In his last two, Urías has allowed 13 runs (12 earned) while walking four batters and striking out one.
The Dodgers are attempting to squeeze seven men into a five-man rotation. They are also attempting to limit Urías’ innings in this, his fifth season of professional baseball. Removing Urías from the rotation temporarily satisfies both goals.
Urías stayed behind briefly in spring training while his teammates reported to Los Angeles and the various Dodgers’ affiliates to start the season. He made his first three starts at Triple-A Oklahoma City, and was limited to a total of 14 innings there.
Has the limit on Urías’ innings contributed to his lack of command?
“I think that there might be a case (for that), but he’s had five starts here of consistency,” Roberts said. “This season started late, but if you look at the build-up, wherever it is — the major leagues or Oklahoma City — he had a regular schedule to then make the starts here. For him to not have the consistency in the breaking ball, leaving the changeup up, the fastball command — I don’t see that as a reason why.”
Urías was not going to start for the Dodgers before Friday in…