Ryu to return Thursday, make start vs. Padres

Top prospect Urias will be sent to Triple-A to open a roster spot

Ryu to return Thursday, make start vs. Padres

LOS ANGELES -- Hyun-Jin Ryu (left shoulder) will make his long-awaited return to the mound Thursday with a start against the Padres, his first time on an MLB mound in 640 days.

Julio Urias, the Dodgers' top prospect, "probably" will be sent to Triple-A Oklahoma City to make room on the 25-man roster, manager Dave Roberts announced after Monday's game. Urias allowed five runs in 3 1/3 innings on Monday in a game the Dodgers came back to win, 7-5.

Ryu, in his fourth and final rehab start on Friday, threw 84 pitches in six innings for Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga, reaching 90 mph and averaging 86 mph with his fastball according to Roberts Sunday. Ryu said he feels like the same pitcher he was before the injuries.

"So far what I have accomplished as far as rehab goals, gaining all my pitches in quite a few outings, I think I'm pretty much ready to go," Ryu said through an interpreter.

If Ryu is the same level of pitcher -- he holds a career 3.17 ERA -- it will be a grand achievement given the frustrating rehab process he has had to go through.

The last time Ryu started with the Dodgers was the 2014 playoffs. He had to be shut down in Spring Training of 2015 with shoulder issues, then had labrum surgery May 21, 2015. After reporting to Spring Training in 2016 hoping for a healthy year, he again had to be shut down with shoulder issues. A groin strain in April slowed down his rehab and a rehab assignment in May had to be aborted after a setback with the shoulder.

Ryu will be making his return the same week Brandon McCarthy, a pitcher whose rehab has run nearly parallel to Ryu's in 2016, came back from Tommy John surgery to throw five scoreless innings with eight strikeouts on Sunday.

The return of the two to the rotation and the upcoming return of other starters is a relief for a team that has had its pitching depth decimated by injuries this season. The most notable example being Clayton Kershaw's recent back injury.

"It's starting to come together," Roberts said. "I know the narrative all winter and throughout the season was depth and it's good to see that it's played out to really save us. It's not just rhetoric. Now to get Brandon back, to see the way he threw, to see Ryu, I think these guys are really wanting to take it upon themselves. You lose Clayton, so guys step up and want to do their part."

As far as Kershaw's rehab goes, Roberts had no updates to give as the team waits to see the effect of an epidural injection received Wednesday.

"It really doesn't make sense to put a timeline on him anyway, because he's going to try to beat it. We just want him to get back as soon as he can," Roberts said.

Alex Wood (triceps) threw a bullpen session on Saturday and will throw a higher-volume session soon. The left-hander said Friday he was planning for a return in early August.

Brett Anderson still hasn't thrown off a mound and is playing catch from 150 feet. Roberts said Wood and Anderson would both be stretched out to start, but did note Anderson would be a bit tougher.

Jack Baer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.