Pitcher Urias pleads no contest to battery charge

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Former Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias pleaded no contest Wednesday to a misdemeanor domestic battery charge tied to his September arrest on suspicion of domestic violence.

Urias was placed on 36 months of summary probation and ordered to complete 30 days of community labor as well as a 52-week domestic violence counseling course, a spokesperson for the L.A. City Attorney’s Office said. In addition, Urias, 27, must pay a domestic violence fund fee, not possess any weapons, not use any force or violence, pay restitution to the victim and abide by a protective order.

The four other misdemeanor charges against Urias — an additional count of domestic battery involving a dating relationship, as well as one count each of spousal battery, false imprisonment and assault — were dismissed.

Urias was originally arrested Sept. 3 on suspicion of felony domestic violence for an incident that occurred in the parking lot of BMO Stadium after an LAFC soccer match, during which an eyewitness saw Urias get into a physical altercation with his wife. Urias was booked on suspicion of corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant and released on $50,000 bail the following morning.

The California Highway Patrol’s major crimes division spent the ensuing three months investigating the incident before handing the case over to the L.A. District Attorney’s Office on Dec. 11. A little less than a month later, the district attorney’s office ruled that it would not file felony charges against Urias.

Prosecutors wrote in a charge evaluation worksheet that Urias pushed his wife against a fence and “pulled her by the hair or shoulders” but added that “neither the victim’s injuries nor the defendant’s criminal history justify a felony filing.”

Three months later, on April 9, the city attorney’s office filed five misdemeanor charges against Urias, four of which carried a maximum penalty of one year in L.A. County jail.

Major League Baseball launched a separate investigation that might be on the verge of completion now that the legal process has played out, though a timeline is unknown.

Urias, once one of the brightest young pitchers in the sport, could become the first player to be suspended twice under MLB’s domestic violence policy, which launched in September 2015. He was originally suspended 20 games by MLB in August 2019 in the wake of an arrest on suspicion of misdemeanor domestic battery, though he was not criminally charged in that incident.

Urias’ attorney could not be reached for comment. An MLB spokesperson declined comment.

Signed out of Mexico shortly after his 16th birthday, Urias navigated through the Dodgers’ farm system as a prized prospect, eventually joining the team as a 19-year-old rookie in 2016. He then returned from major shoulder surgery to become an important contributor on championship-caliber teams, recording the final out of the 2020 World Series, accumulating 20 wins in 2021 and finishing third in National League Cy Young Award voting in 2022.

As a young free agent with relatively few innings under his belt, Urias was widely projected to sign a $200-plus million contract this past offseason before the arrest, but now his MLB future appears to be in jeopardy.

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