There was some thought that the Astros might turn to Valdez or Josh James as their primary pitcher for a mostly meaningless regular-season finale, but Charlie Morton will take the hill as he looks to prove his health in advance of the postseason. Because Morton hasn't pitched since Sept. 23 against the Angels and covered only one inning in that outing before exiting with shoulder discomfort, he'll likely be making an abbreviated start Sunday. That could afford Valdez and/or James the opportunity to both fill an inning or two out of the bullpen.
Valdez will be available to pitch out of the bullpen during this weekend's series against the Angels, Hunter Atkins of the Houston Chronicle reports.
Manager A.J. Hinch wants Valdez for certain matchups -- most likely lefty-on-lefty situations -- against the Angels' lineup, which featured four left-handed hitters Friday. Valdez's availability out of the bullpen does not impact his role in the rotation; he's still scheduled to start Wednesday afternoon against the Blue Jays.
Valdez tossed five innings in Monday's loss to the Mariners. He struck out six, gave up two hits, walked five and didn't factor into the decision.
It was arguably Valdez's best start of his young career as he held his opponent scoreless for the first time. While control is surely an issue, as he's only allowed fewer than three walks in one appearance, the results have been hard to complain about with a 2.20 ERA and 1.29 WHIP in 28.2 innings. His next chance to toe the rubber will be Saturday against the Angels.
Valdez allowed four runs on five hits and four walks across four innings during Tuesday's win against the Tigers. He struck out three and did not factor in the decision.
Valdez gave up all four runs during the fourth inning, including a three-run home run to JaCoby Jones. The left-hander has issued three or more walks in four straight starts, which is one reason why he has yet to complete six innings.
Manager A.J. Hinch said Valdez's spot in the rotation is not in jeopardy while discussing the team's fifth starter role going forward, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports.
With Charlie Morton (shoulder) set to be activated from the 10-day disabled list and start Saturday, the Astros have six starters available going forward. Morton's return pushes Josh James to the bullpen, but only for the current series against the Red Sox. Hinch talked about having James, not Valdez, start Tuesday in Detroit, but also mentioned inserting James and pushing the other starters back a day. The manager was adamant that any decision he makes was "not to say Framber's spot is in jeopardy." So, Valdez should stay in the rotation; however, he may not start Tuesday as is expected.
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|2015||R-Dsl Astros Blue||4||1||3.68||16||0||0||0||3||36.2||36||19||15||1||2||17||36|
|2016||AFX-Quad Cities River Ba||1||3||3.06||6||6||1||0||0||35.1||31||15||12||1||1||11||35|
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|2017||AA-Corpus Christi Hooks||5||5||5.88||12||9||0||0||0||49.0||60||33||32||4||5||23||53|