Urias returns to LA's rotation, will start Thursday

Urias returns to LA's rotation, will start Thursday

SAN DIEGO -- The Dodgers made a late switch of starting pitchers for the first two games of their series against the Padres, which starts on Tuesday night, and manager Dave Roberts added further intrigue by returning rookie Julio Urias to the rotation while the club looks for a fourth starter for the postseason.

Kenta Maeda starts on Tuesday night and Jose De Leon starts Wednesday night instead of De Leon in the opener and Maeda on Wednesday, as club officials originally announced.

But Roberts -- who has insisted the 20-year-old Urias would be used exclusively as a reliever to preserve his young arm -- will start Urias on Thursday night in San Diego.

Urias is 5-2 with a 3.53 ERA in 17 outings (14 starts) with the Dodgers this year. He has thrown 74 innings in the Majors and 45 at Triple-A Oklahoma City this year for a total of 119, with an unconfirmed target of around 125 for the season. But he has thrown only 11 innings since Aug. 27.

Rich Hill, Clayton Kershaw and Maeda will start the last three games of the regular season in San Francisco. The National League Division Series against Washington begins Friday, Oct. 7.

The Dodgers enter play this week trailing the Nationals by one game for home-field advantage, with Los Angeles owning the tiebreaker after taking the season series with Washington, 5-1.

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.