Dave Roberts threw a bunch of pitching information out to reporters gathered around before Friday afternoon’s game, and there was some good news. Hyun-jin Ryu will get the Dodgers’ Opening Day start, and Julio Urias may move to the rotation. Ryu will become just the second ever Korean pitching to make an Opening Day start after Chan Ho Park did 18 years ago. The downside though is that Rich Hill may be out for a bit.
— AlaNNa Rizzo (@alannarizzo) March 22, 2019
Just that news alone leaves a lot to unpack, but that was not the only interesting thing Roberts had to say. He also kind of went back on his earlier confirmation that Julio Urias would almost strictly be a reliever this year.
Julio Urías could begin the season in the rotation, Dave Roberts said.
— Jorge Castillo (@jorgecastillo) March 22, 2019
Just weeks after saying Julio Urias would be used mostly as a reliever, Roberts said there are scenarios he can see Julio back in the starting rotation. With Rich Hill out with an MCL strain for a couple of weeks, it’s easy to see how he could fit in. The Opening Day starting rotation shakes out like this:
Julio Urias/Caleb Ferguson/Dennis Santana
The fifth spot in the rotation is wide open with Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill hitting the Injured List to start the year. There is a real possibility that the team opts to utilize Urias in that role, given he is the best out of a few options. Dennis Santana is getting the start in today’s spring game, meaning he could be utilized early in the season if necessary.
With that being said, Roberts had made it clear that Urias was going to be on a relatively strict innings limit of 75 to 100 for the year. If he is going to be starting in the rotation, Urias’ innings will be eaten up pretty quick. The Dodgers have fantastic depth on their pitching staff, but they may have to put a soft innings limit on Urias.
Dave Roberts also announced that Alex Verdugo, Caleb Ferguson, Dylan Floro, and Yimi Garcia would all be on the Opening Day roster.
UPDATE: President of Baseball Operations, Andrew Friedman, has confirmed that Urias will start the year in the rotation until Rich Hill returns.
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