Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said today that Julio Urias could begin the year in extended spring training in an effort to limit his innings.
Urias, who is only 20, threw 122 innings last season between the big leagues and the minors It’s just one of a number of options on the table. Urias logged 122 innings between the majors and the minors in 2016, and another 5.2 innings in the postseason. That’s a step up from his previous workloads and moving up to a 180-200 inning load which would be expected of him if he’s in the rotation all year is a lot to ask.
At the moment Urias projects to be the Dodgers’ fourth starter behind Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill and Kenta Maeda, but there are other arms who could step up if Urias were to have his workload lessened in 2017, including Alex Wood, Brandon McCarthy and Hyun-Jin Ryu, who said yesterday that he’s feeling good after missing a lot of time.
The smart money, of course, is that if the Dodgers are, as expected, contenders once again, Urias will be a part of that success and will be counted on to take the ball come September and October. All of which makes ensuring that he’s got something left in the tank then of paramount importance.
The new Collective Bargaining Agreement commits the players and the league to regular season games on foreign soil. Most of the focus of this has been on games in London, for which there has been a lot of activity and discussion.
Yesterday before the Astros-Tigers game in Houston, however, Commissioner Rob Manfred talked about playing games in Mexico. And not as just a one-off, but as a foot-in-the-water towards possible expansion:
Commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday that the time had come to play regular-season games in Mexico City as Major League Baseball weighs international expansion.
“We think it’s time to move past exhibition games and play real live ‘they-count’ games in Mexico,” Manfred said. “That is the kind of experiment that puts you in better position to make a judgement as to whether you have a market that could sustain an 81-game season and a Major League team.”
A team in Mexico could make some geographic sense and some marketing sense, though it’s not clear if there is a city that would be appropriate for that right now. Mexico City is huge but it has plenty of its own sports teams and is far away from the parts of the country where baseball is popular (mostly the border states and areas along the Pacific coast). At 7,382 feet, its elevation would make games at Coors Field look like the Deadball Era.
Monterrey has been talked about — games have been played there and it’s certainly closer — but it’s somewhat unknown territory demographically speaking. It’s not as big as Mexico City, obviously. Income stratification is greater there and most of the rest of Mexico than it is in the United States too, making projections of how much discretionary income people may spend on an expensive entertainment product like Major League Baseball uncertain. Especially when they have other sports they’ve been following for decades.
Interesting, though. It’s something Manfred has talked about many times over the years, so unlike so many other things he says he’s “considering” or “hasn’t ruled out,” Major League Baseball in Mexico is something worth keeping our eyes on.
The score was tied in the top of the 10th inning in last night’s game between the Dodgers and the Cardinals. Yadier Molina was up to bat, facing Kenley Jansen and drove one to deep right center field.
Yasiel Puig was in full run for the ball as center fielder Joc Pederson ranged hard for it himself. Puig caught the ball, but not before slamming into Pederson. Both men went down, but Pederson went down harder, taking an elbow to the face from Puig before crashing head-first into the outfield wall.
Pederson came out of the game, apparently bleeding from his head. There will be an update on his condition today.
UPDATE: Oops, there was an update last night: