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Julio Urias is heading back to the minor leagues


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.

Yankees place Aaron Judge (strained calf) on IL

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NEW YORK — Yankees star Aaron Judge was placed on the injured list with a right calf strain before Friday night’s game against Boston and manager Aaron Boone is optimistic the outfielder will not miss significant time.

The move was retroactive to Wednesday and Boone described the strain as mild after an MRI revealed the injury. To replace Judge on the roster, Thairo Estrada was recalled from the Yankees’ alternate site in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Judge began Friday leading the majors with nine homers and tied with Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon for the major league lead with 20 RBIs.

“It’s something that I think he really wants to try and work through here and kind of wants to be out here and feels like it’s a day-to-day thing which it may very well be, but I just think obviously it goes without saying how important a player Aaron is to us,” Boone said.

Boone had said last weekend’s series on the artificial turf in Tampa Bay took its toll on the 6-foot-7 outfielder.

Judge joined Giancarlo Stanton as the second Yankees slugger to land on the injured list this. Stanton was placed on the IL with a strained hamstring after getting hurt in the second game of last Saturday’s doubleheader.

“We’ve lost two MVP-caliber players,” Boone said. “Obviously that is a blow, especially two guys that playing well as they are right now.”

Judge was pulled for a pinch hitter during Tuesday night’s win over Atlanta and didn’t play Wednesday. The Yankees were off Thursday.

The 28-year-old All-Star missed time during July’s training camp because of a stiff neck.

The 2017 AL Rookie of the Year hit 27 homers in each of the last two seasons, both of them interrupted by injuries. His right wrist was broken when he was hit by a pitch in 2018 and he went on the injured list for two months last year with a left oblique strain.

Judge was diagnosed with a broken rib in March and would not have been ready for the season opener if the season began as scheduled on March 26.