Don Mattingly was slyly avoiding questions from the media when asked when Julio Urias was going to pitch in one of two games at Camelback Ranch on Saturday. Mattingly jokingly said that he knew what inning Urias was to pitch in and it was one of the nine. Just before the game was set to begin, it was announced that the 17-year old would start the first of the two split squad games in Glendale.
Everyone was abuzz with the news, and I heard fans talk about watching “the 17-year old pitch” as they walked into the stadium. I was alternating between the pressbox and the stands, but I was able to watch Urias from the pressbox and capture some video footage of his Cactus League debut.
The youngster was sure impressive even though he only made 14 pitches in the top of the first inning. Many of us wanted to see more of Urias, but he was only allowed to pitch one inning. It was a great inning nonetheless. 9 of his 14 pitches were for strikes, and he struck out two batters (Will Venable and Yonser Alonso). He sure didn’t look 17 to me, and his polish and maturity were quite distinct. His fastball sat between 93-96 mph.
Urias was confident when talking to the media via translator about where he is going to pitch this season.
“My goal is to finish in Major Leagues.”
The southpaw pitched in 18 games for the Great Lakes Loons last season and finished with a 2-0 record with a 2.48 ERA and 67 strikeouts and only 16 walks in 54 1/3 innings of work.
After the perfect inning from Urias, the Dodgers went on to win 5-4 in front of a sellout crowd.