Urias begins 2019 with El Paso, aims for big league return


When the San Diego Padres opened spring training in February, the club fully anticipated Luis Urias making their Opening Day roster. However, the signing of Manny Machado, as well as Ian Kinsler in the offseason, left the Padres’ No. 2 ranked prospect in a tough situation. Add Urias’ struggles in Cactus League play and the emergence of the Padres’ No. 1 ranked prospect, Fernando Tatis Jr., the Sonora, Mexico product was left as the odd man out.

For the second consecutive year, Urias will begin the season in Triple-A El Paso, which has forced the infielder to take a step back.

“It wasn’t in my plans to be here, but I’m really glad to be here in El Paso again,” said Urias. “I want to help the team to make the playoffs and hopefully win another championship. It has been tough to be honest, but I’m very excited to get better.”

Chihuahuas manager Edwin Rodriguez expects Urias to return to San Diego sooner rather than later.

“Of course he’s a little bit frustrated, but that was 24 hours ago,” said Rodriguez. “He’s ready to play and he understands that it is a process.”

Urias got right to work when he arrived at Southwest University Park on Monday.

“I would say I was struggling in spring training,” said Urias. “My timing was off. I’m trying to get it back. I got hurt at the end of last season and I lost a couple months. I think just playing some games will get me ready.”

His manager echoed his resilience and willingness to be coached.

“He needs to work on a lot of things,” said Rodriguez. “There’s little details offensively and defensively. He understands that.”

The Chihuahuas open the season on Thursday against the Las Vegas Aviators. First pitch at Southwest University Park is at 7:05 p.m.

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