Julio Urias is going to be a superstar for the Dodgers one day. However, the club is practicing patience with the young lefty and fantasy owners will be forced to do the same.
Manager Dave Roberts admitted Monday that it was “unrealistic” to think Urias would be able to handle a regular starter’s workload at the beginning of the season. The skipper did add that he “hasn’t closed” the door on the southpaw being in the Dodgers’ rotation at the start of the year, but it’s not difficult to see where this is headed.
"Fair or unfair, right or wrong, that's a luxury we have," Roberts said. "We have the depth with the starting staff to curtail or monitor his innings, which is prudent. We don't want to make a decision now. Things can change on a daily basis. We're keeping that window open and Julio has bought in and there's a trust there."
Editor’s Note: Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Baseball: Get in the game and create or join a league today.
Urias has logged just 5 2/3 innings so far in Cactus League play, which ranks 14th on the Dodgers’ staff. He’s well behind Brandon McCarthy (13 innings) and Alex Wood (11 1/3 innings), two guys that look like the favorites to occupy the final two spots in a rotation that also includes locks Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill and Kenta Maeda. Hyun-Jin Ryu (shoulder) has looked good of late but could join Urias in extended spring training to start the season. Scott Kazmir has had injury and velocity concerns this spring and might also be an option for extended spring.
Both McCarthy and Wood are interesting late-round fantasy options now that they look like they’ve secured the No. 4 and 5 spots in the rotation. McCarthy has been wrecked by injuries in his first two years with the Dodgers, but he’s put up a nifty 248/63 K/BB ratio over 263 innings across the last three seasons. Wood has had injury issues of his own, but he finished last season healthy and had a 66/20 K/BB ratio across 60 1/3 frames overall.
As far as Urias goes, he’s still going to spend the bulk of the season in the Dodgers’ rotation, barring something unforeseen. He threw 127 2/3 innings in 2016 between the majors, minors and postseason, so he should be allowed to top the 150-inning threshold in 2017, at least. The wunderkind won’t turn 21 until August, but he certainly held his own last year in the majors with a 3.39 ERA and 84/31 K/BB ratio over 77 regular season frames. Urias is currently the No. 42 starter being taken in NFBC leagues, which seems reasonable even for a guy who won’t begin the year with a job.
The Netherlands played in the World Baseball Classic semifinals against Puerto Rico on Monday, but they did so without one of their key players. The Yankees are now hoping they won’t be without that same key player on Opening Day.
Didi Gregorius felt stiffness in his right shoulder while throwing before Saturday's exhibition against the Diamondbacks, which necessitated an MRI. The initial diagnosis is that the shortstop has a hematoma of the subscapularis muscle. He’s headed to the Yanks’ spring training complex in Tampa, where he’ll undergo more testing Tuesday.
"It's obviously not what you want to hear. Hopefully it's something short," manager Joe Girardi said Monday. "The evaluation from the doctor was his strength was really good, but we've got to see him. He'll have more MRI tests tomorrow."
Girardi is hoping that Gregorius will be able to rest for a little while and be ready to go come Opening Day, but obviously that’s very much up in the air based on what comes out of Tuesday’s exams. Gregorius had a breakout season with the bat last year in New York, hitting .276/.304/.447 with 20 home runs and 70 RBI.
If Gregorius has to miss time, Ronald Torreyes, Tyler Wade and non-roster invitee Ruben Tejada are options to fill in at shortstop. The Bombers could also consider moving Starlin Castro over to his former shortstop position and installing someone at second base, although it would still likely be one of the aforementioned three.
One player that wouldn’t take Gregorius’ spot is Gleyber Torres. The top prospect is 12-for-27 with two homers and seven RBI so far during Grapefruit League play with the Yankees, but he’s also just 20 years old and hasn’t played above A-ball. Torres could potentially debut at some point in 2017, but the Yankees want to continue letting him develop in the minors.
Matt Harvey allowed three runs on seven hits over 4 1/3 innings against the Tigers on Monday. Big deal, right? Well, not so fast.
The line in the box score might not have been overly impressive (although he did strike out four without issuing a walk), but Harvey sported what Mets manager Terry Collins said was the “best stuff I’ve seen so far (this spring)” out of the right-hander. Harvey has had issues with his velocity during Grapefruit League play, but on Monday he was sitting at 93 mph and touched 95-96 mph.
“When I got in the dugout, they were kind of excited that I had ramped it up again,” Harvey said. “I could just tell the ball was coming out better.”
Harvey, of course, is coming back from thoracic outlet surgery, so it’s not a surprise that it’s taking a while for his velocity to come to life. Even the 93-96 mph he was throwing Monday is still below what we’re used to seeing from Harvey when he’s mowing down hitters. However, it’s certainly good to see him trending up.
“It definitely took a little while, but moving in the right direction,” Harvey said.
Quick Hits: Michael Brantley (shoulder) went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored Monday in his Cactus League debut. The Indians are hoping he’ll be ready to play in two more games over the next three days … A.J. Pollock (groin) went 1-for-3 at the plate and ran the bases before a minor league game Monday. Pollock could return to Cactus League action as soon as Thursday … Josh Donaldson (calf) plans to make his first Grapefruit League start at third base on Wednesday. He made his debut as a designated hitter on Monday … J.D. Martinez (foot) will undergo a stress CT scan while visiting Dr. Robert Anderson in Charlotte on Friday. The preliminary diagnosis on Martinez was a mid-foot sprain … Raisel Iglesias was scheduled to have his right elbow and back looked at Monday. For the moment, it appears that the Reds don’t think it’s anything serious … David Dahl has not been cleared to hit yet after an MRI last Friday showed that his injured rib was still healing. He is about 10 days away from baseball activities … Adrian Gonzalez felt something in his elbow on a check swing Sunday and will sit out until at least Thursday … Salvador Perez (elbow) is planning to return to Cactus League action as a DH on Wednesday … Nate Karns has been named the Royals’ fifth starter, as he beat out Travis Wood and Chris Young … MLB.com's Scott Merkin was first to report and others have confirmed that the White Sox are discussing a multi-year contract with Tim Anderson … Devin Mesoraco (hip, shoulder) conceded on Monday that he might not be ready for Opening Day. With just five Cactus League at-bats, zero full games and zero back-to-back games under his belt to this point, it’s probably safe to go ahead and rule him out for the opener … Yasiel Puig is unlikely to play until at least Thursday after feeling something in his left calf while stealing a base on Sunday … Andre Ethier underwent an MRI on his ailing hip/back on Monday and won’t play for a while … Drew Pomeranz (triceps) is on track to make his scheduled Grapefruit League start on Friday … Devon Travis (knee) is aiming to make his Grapefruit League debut later this week … The Rays officially announced their six-year, $53.5 million contract extension with Kevin Kiermaier on Monday … Will Smith will undergo an MRI after aggravating his left elbow injury during a Cactus League appearance Monday … Andrew Cashner (biceps) will pitch in a minor league game Wednesday … Chad Bettis is scheduled to begin chemotherapy Monday for testicular cancer …