EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Most people expected Luis Urias to begin the 2019 season where he left off in 2018: in San Diego with the Padres. Instead, after struggling in spring training, Urias landed back in Triple-A El Paso in a stunning move by the front office.
Urias was recalled by the Padres early in the season, only to be sent back down after just 24 at-bats with San Diego. The Padres’ No. 2 prospect collected just two hits (.083 average) in that span.
Since being sent down, Urias has put up big numbers with the Chihuahuas. He is hitting .316 with 18 home runs and 48 runs batted in in 72 games with El Paso. The infielder also homered in front of his home fans in the Triple-A All-Star Game.
“His exposure at the Major League level last year, and again this year, gave him some things to work on,” said Padres senior director of player development Sam Geaney. “We’ve been very impressed with a lot of the progress in those areas.”
Urias is an elite defender in the middle of the infield, but it remains to be seen what kind of impact he can have in the batter’s box. The key at the Triple-A level has been getting back to the basics and refining his swing.
“Hard contact, that’s what we are looking for on a consistent basis,” said manager Edwin Rodriguez. “It needs to be day-in and day-out. He’s still working on that, but he’s ready. I think he’s ready.”
The Padres fan base also thinks he is ready, but the front office in San Diego wants to make sure this is the last time they have to call him up. Geaney believes that move could be in the near future.
“It may be tough for Chihuahuas fans. I know they love having him, but I feel confident when he goes up, which is hopefully sooner rather than later, it’ll be for good,” said Geaney. “He’ll be in a position to help the Padres.”
Urias has been forced to miss El Paso’s last two games with a shoulder injury, but is expected back in the lineup soon.
The Chihuahuas begin a four-game series at Reno on Monday night. First pitch is at 8:05 p.m.