Julio Urias may start the season in extended spring training

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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.