Julio Urias is heading back to the minor leagues

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Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said rookie lefty Julio Urias will likely be optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City today.

This is a bit earlier than expected, but the demotion and eventual shut down of Urias this year was expected. He’s the top prospect in the organization and he’s never pitched more than 87.2 innings in a season. Between Triple-A and the bigs he’s at 77.1 innings for 2016 now, so he’ll get some bullpen duty in Oklahoma and, likely, will not continuing pitching without considerable rest for the entire season.

As an experiment, Urias in the bigs was a mixed bag. He was below average to be sure, but he’s painfully young and pitched in some bad luck at times as well. Until giving up five runs in less than four innings to the Orioles yesterday, he had been showing some progress. Ultimately, however, his not being dominant in the bigs was probably a blessing for his long term development, as there was not a compelling reason to keep him in the rotation in order to help the Dodgers’ chances of catching the Giants in the NL West.

Given his stuff and his minor league track record, there is every reason to believe that Urias will be an asset for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Just not in 2016.