By Earl Heath, Contributing Sports Writer
Keisha Heath sat in her San Antonio home watching the Dodgers leading the World Series three games to two. There were two outs in the ninth inning and pitcher Julio Urius threw a two strike pitch 97 miles per hour fastball to the Rays Willy Adames for a call strike three.
“The batter walked away before the pitch got to the plate,” said the baseball novice fan and mother of two.
The smooth lefty had previously closed out the Atlanta Braves in game 7 of the NLCS tossing three scoreless innings to get the ‘Men in Blue’ to the World Series.
The Dodgers are World Champions and are stacked with starting pitchers. During the off season they went all in on repeating as they signed the number one pitcher on the free agent market Cy Young winner Trevor Baurer, who signed a three-year 102-million-dollar deal.
The staff now includes three Cy Young winners with Baurer who joins Clayton Kershaw and David Price who opted out the 2020 season due to COVID-19.
Others on the talented staff include Walker Buehler, Tony Gonsolin, Dustin May and Urius. They are a dream for any team.
Urius who has one of the smoothest wind-ups in the game is competing with Gonsolin and May for the fifth spot in the rotation.
He started exhibition game against White Sox and threw 4 pitches in the first inning. He then threw 8 to get out of the second. His pitch count was so low he was sent out for a third inning and finished the day by tossing just 26 pitches
“I feel great out there,” Urius said through an interpreter. “I was able to make some adjustments through my last outing and was able to use what we working on last week. I feel great physically and mentally.”
This week Price pitched his first game since March of 2020. The lefty pitched a scoreless one, two, three-inning. He reached 94 miles per hour on some pitches in a 8-0 win over the White Sox.
“Right before we signed Trevor [Bauer] I reached out to Andrew [Friedman] and said whatever you guys need me to do, I will do,” Price told MLB.com.
The 12-year veteran has a 150-80 record with a 3.31ERA in 321 career appearances. He won his Cy Young in 2012 with Tampa Bay. He has also pitched in the 2018 World series with the Red Sox. He’s unselfish and is willing to pitch when and where needed.
“I expect to be ready to start by the regular season,” said the 35year-old. But I told them whatever they need me to do, whatever makes the 2021 Dodgers better. I’m all for that.”
Kershaw made his spring debate and threw 24 pitches in two innings of no-hit ball in a game versus the. He was asked about this year’s spring training.
“Motivation is a little different this year, just being be part of a really special team coming back this year,” said the veteran lefty at a post-game video conference.
One of the big moments is playing in front of fans and some special one that include his family.
“It was the first time they have been able to sit in the stands for a while, I got a chance to wave at them that was fun.”