PHOENIX – Julio Urias went through all of the stages of grief.
“I had a lot of emotions,” the 20-year-old left-hander said of his reaction to the news that he would need season-ending shoulder surgery. “You feel sadness. You feel angry. Everything goes through your head. You think about your career. You think about everything that you’ve done to get to that point. I tried to get out of that stage as fast as I could. Now I feel very motivated and ready to work every day.
“It was hard. No baseball player wants to have a surgery like that. But we didn’t really have an option. I’m glad that we did it. Everything is good.”
Urias underwent surgery on June 27 to repair a tear in the anterior capsule of his left shoulder. The recovery is estimated to take 12 to 14 months, forcing Urias to miss most if not all of the 2018 season as well.
But the Dodgers are optimistic about his chances to regain his status as one of the top young pitching prospects in the game because of his youth and the fact that Dr. Neal ElAttrache found no damage to Urias’ rotator cuff or labrum. Most surgeries similar to Urias’ have been complicated by the age of the pitcher involved and accompanying damage in the joint.
“After the surgery, he (ElAttrache) greeted me with a smile and said everything was better than he had expected,” Urias said through an interpreter. “He obviously can’t guarantee anything. That also depends on my rehab and how much work I put in. After a month and a couple days, I feel really good.”
Urias has begun his rehab at Camelback Ranch. With the Dodgers in Arizona, he was in the clubhouse at Chase Field, re-acquainting himself with his teammates. Urias said he anticipated a meeting with the Dodgers’ front office and medical staff to provide the outlines of the long year of rehab ahead. Mundane details like when he will be able to pick up a baseball and start a throwing program are red-letter events in Urias’ life now.
“I’m not scared,” Urias said of regaining his former skills. “I’m thinking positively about coming back 100 percent and maybe even better if I put in the work.”
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he was glad to see Urias had reached the acceptance stage and had a positive attitude about the challenge he faces.
“It was just good to put eyes on him, get him around his teammates. As a young player going through this injury, you don’t want him to feel ostracized or alienated,” Roberts said.