LOS ANGELES -- Pitcher Julio Urias is set to make his highly anticipated major league debut for the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night in New York against the Mets.
The 19-year-old left-hander is 4-1 with a 1.10 ERA at Triple-A Oklahoma City, where he has a 27-inning scoreless streak and 44 strikeouts in 41 innings.
The team announced Thursday that Urias will replace lefty Alex Wood, who was scratched with left triceps soreness. Wood is expected to make his next start on Monday in Chicago against the first-place Cubs.
Urias will be the first 19-year-old to pitch for the Dodgers since fellow Mexican Fernando Valenzuela, who was promoted to the majors in September 1980. The following year, "Fernandomania" was born and Valenzuela went on to win the NL rookie of the year and Cy Young awards. Urias will be the first teen to start for the team since Dick Calmus in 1963.
Urias is one of the top pitching prospects in the majors. He was invited to spring training with the Dodgers for the second straight year in February and was assigned to Triple-A to start the season.
The Dodgers have carefully managed Urias since signing him shortly after his 16th birthday, discovering him on the same scouting trip to Mexico on which they signed Cuban outfielderYasiel Puig in June 2012.
The teen has never pitched more than 87 2/3 innings as a pro and it's unlikely he will become a permanent starter this season despite the injuries that have decimated the rotation. The club could add him to the bullpen, something manager Dave Roberts has mentioned, as a way to limit his innings.
Urias had surgery last season to remove a benign mass from his left eye, which is nearly closed as a result.
He played for the World team at the 2014 All-Star Futures Game and was chosen as the Dodgers' organizational minor league pitcher of the year. He was invited to the team's major league spring training camp last year, but was the first to be cut from the roster after pitching in two games with a 4.50 ERA. He was then re-assigned to the Dodgers' minor league camp.
Last year, Urias pitched at Double-A, where he was 3-4 with a 2.77 ERA in 13 starts for the Tulsa Drillers, and later at Oklahoma City.
Former #Dodgers RHP Zack Greinke described Julio Urias to me this spring as “the most perfect pitching prospect I’ve ever seen.” 1/2— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) May 26, 2016
I asked Greinke why. He said: 1. Urias is left-handed. 2. Stuff is plus-plus. 3. “He’s nasty, but not so nasty you think he’ll blow out.”— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) May 26, 2016