LOS ANGELES — Julio Urias finished serving a 20-game suspension for domestic violence allegations and is ready to “move forward,” a phrase the left-hander used often upon his return to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Urias was added to the active roster on Monday alongside infielder Gavin Lux, the fifth-rated prospect by ESPN’s Keith Law at midseason. Urias will start Tuesday’s game against the Colorado Rockies, going a maximum of three innings, and might continue to be stretched out moving forward.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts believes Urias “definitely learned” from his experience.
Urias’ suspension stemmed from a May 13 altercation with a woman in the parking lot of a Los Angeles shopping mall, which led to his arrest.
The L.A. city attorney’s office announced a month later that it would not file charges against Urias so long as he participated in a 52-week domestic counseling program and committed no acts of violence in the next year. But Urias, 23, nonetheless violated the terms of Major League Baseball’s Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy and was suspended on Aug. 17 (he served an additional 15 games because he served five while on administrative leave).
“Really hard,” Urias, speaking in Spanish, said when asked how this process has been. “But I’m happy to be back here, happy that my teammates received me the way they always have, in the best way possible. Everything is on a good track.”
The city attorney said it was deferring prosecution because Urias had no record of criminal behavior and the incident did not result in any physical injury, nor did the woman involved in the altercation indicate to police officers or witnesses that she believed she was a victim.
In a statement issued through the MLB Players Association, Urias said he was “fully cooperating” and that it was “important to me not to create uncertainty for my teammates” by appealing. Urias also said he took “full responsibility for what I believe was my inappropriate conduct during the incident.”
Urias didn’t go into details when asked to shed light on the inappropriate conduct, merely saying: “I respect the decision from the league. It was their decision. I fully accept it. That already passed. I’m back here, with my team, and I’m moving forward.”
Urias showed promise as a 19-year-old rookie in 2016, posting a 3.39 ERA and striking out 84 batters in 77 innings. He spent most of the next two years recovering from shoulder surgery but returned in time to help the Dodgers out of the bullpen in last year’s postseason. He has spent the 2019 season mostly as a multi-inning reliever, putting up a 2.53 ERA, a 1.09 WHIP and a 2.91 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 67⅔ innings.
With Rich Hill still working his way back from an elbow injury and Kenta Maeda expected to spend most of October as a high-leverage reliever, Urias has a chance to carve out a role as the Dodgers’ No. 4 starter behind Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Walker Buehler.
“I cooperated with the league and did everything they told me to do,” Urias said of his decision to accept a suspension. “It was their decision. I respected it and said, ‘Let’s move forward.’ What I didn’t want was to keep putting my team, this organization, in a position where I’m distracting us from the great season we’re having. I’m back now, thankfully. I’m here with them. And let’s move forward.”