Roberts: Urias top option for promotion to 'pen

Dodgers' No. 1 prospect 'leading the discussion,' manager says

Roberts: Urias top option for promotion to 'pen

TORONTO -- Teenage pitching sensation Julio Urias is "leading the discussion" as an option for promotion to the Dodgers' bullpen, manager Dave Roberts said on Saturday.

"I think internally there's talk," Roberts said, as concern has increased over recent bullpen issues. "He just came off another great outing, and I think that we're thinking through a lot of options, and Urias is definitely at the top of the list."

The left-handed Urias, the Dodgers' No. 1 prospect, is only 19 and is coming off a season in which he threw only 80 1/3 innings, as management has limited his workload to protect his arm. Relief work has been an obvious option to limit his innings while giving him a taste of the Major Leagues and addressing an area of need.

Entering Saturday, the Dodgers' bullpen had suffered six of the club's 15 losses. Chris Hatcher lost the setup role to a combination of Pedro Baez and Joe Blanton, the latter suffering Friday night's 5-2 loss by allowing a three-run homer to Kevin Pillar.

"Julio can do a lot of different things, whether it's out of the 'pen or as a starter," Roberts said. "It's a necessity-based thing when he's ready. Things are showing he's getting to that point. What we need and what he can do and how dynamic he is, there's a lot of things to consider."

At Triple-A Oklahoma City this year, Urias is 3-1 with a 1.88 ERA in four starts and one relief appearance, with 29 strikeouts and three walks in 24 innings. He is MLB.com's No. 2 prospect and the top left-handed pitching prospect.

Roberts said management is leaning toward Urias over older pitching prospects Jose De Leon and Jharel Cotton.

"Where we're at right now," Roberts said, "Urias is leading the discussions. He can get lefties and rightes out. It's a nice luxury if we decide to go that way."

Roberts said Mike Bolsinger (right oblique) will begin a Minor League rehab assignment Saturday for Triple-A Oklahoma City. Reliever Yimi Garcia (right biceps) still has not picked up a baseball. Brandon Beachy, shut down during Spring Training with right elbow problems, left the Arizona complex and went home.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.