Dodgers' Urias to have season-ending shoulder surgery
LOS ANGELES (AP) The Los Angeles Dodgers tried to do everything they could to protect the young, slight frame of prized prospect Julio Urias. They limited the left-hander's innings, had him stop midseason once for a cosmetic surgery, delayed his start to his 2017 season.
Yet there is only so much a team can manage. The Dodgers announced Friday that Urias will need shoulder surgery and will miss the rest of the season.
''Obviously there are a lot of unknowns in what you do on this,'' said Andrew Friedman, the Dodgers president of baseball operations. ''I think all of us feel very confident that if we didn't protect him at all over the last couple of years it could have happened sooner, it could have happened in a more significant way. I think all of us believe if it was going to happen, it could have been worse.''
The 20-year-old Urias is scheduled to have his left anterior capsule repaired Tuesday by Dodgers head physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache. Friedman said Urias is expected to be sidelined for 12-to-14 months.
The injury is typically associated with wear and tear, and Friedman said the Dodgers could not find an example of another pitching sustaining that type of acute injury at such a young age.
Friedman said his recovery should be aided not only by his youth, but because there was no additional damage identified to the labrum or rotator cuff.
''It's not as serious as I think it sounded to me on the front end,'' Friedman said. ''It was an acute injury, which means it happened on a pitch. So the fact that it's not wear and tear that happened over years makes the prognosis that much better. Dr. ElAttrache is really confident that we'll be able to take care of this and get him back to his accustomed level.''
Pitchers who have had similar surgery - Mark Prior, Johan Santana, John Danks, Rich Harden, Chris Young - have not always fared well in their recovery. Friedman said they were not only older, but typically had additional shoulder damage.
''I understand that it happened while he was pitching,'' manager Dave Roberts said. ''It's something that's a clean injury, so the road to recovery should be better as opposed to the wear and tear.''
Urias signed with the Dodgers as a 16-year-old from Mexico, and Los Angeles limited his innings each season.
''I think that there's some solace in that,'' Roberts said. ''It doesn't change the fact that we're disappointed for Julio. But I think as an organization I just don't see how we could have handled him with more care.''
Urias made his major league debut on May 27 last year and went 5-2 with a 3.39 ERA in 15 starts and three relief appearances during his rookie season. Urias did not make his first appearance for the Dodgers this year until April 27 and was 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA in five starts for Los Angeles. He was sent to Oklahoma City to work on his mechanics, and Friedman said Urias injured the shoulder June 10 on a single pitch in his last outing with the Triple-A farm team.
''He still threw two more innings at 96-97 (mph),'' Friedman said. ''But the next day he woke up and said it was really stiff.''
Friedman said the Dodgers tried to find examples of pitchers who attempted to rehab the injury rather than undergo surgery but were left wanting.
''What's hard about this is you don't know the successful cases of guys who had this, rehabbed it, and didn't have another incident,'' he said. ''We were trying to dig as much as we could and find as much information on this type of injury. Didn't find a ton, but Dr. ElAttrache is the best and has had a lot of experience dealing with things like this and feels really confident from the images that he got about the repair.''