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Notes: Look-see for Urquidy; makeup set

@brianmctaggart
September 2, 2020

HOUSTON -- Some help may be on the way for the Astros’ pitching rotation. Right-hander Jose Urquidy, who punctuated his rookie season in 2019 with five scoreless innings in a World Series start, could be activated to pitch for the first time this season during this weekend’s series in Anaheim

HOUSTON -- Some help may be on the way for the Astros’ pitching rotation.

Right-hander Jose Urquidy, who punctuated his rookie season in 2019 with five scoreless innings in a World Series start, could be activated to pitch for the first time this season during this weekend’s series in Anaheim against the Angels.

Astros manager Dusty Baker said he anticipates Urquidy coming to Houston sometime this week to throw a bullpen session in advance of perhaps joining the rotation. The Astros are playing a doubleheader Saturday, including a makeup game from the hurricane postponement last week in Houston.

“He’s going to come here and throw a bullpen before then, and then we’ll make our assessment and adjustment at that time,” Baker said.

Urquidy was placed on the injured list for undisclosed reasons in mid-July and has been working out at the team’s alternate training site in Corpus Christi, Texas, for weeks. Last year, Urquidy went 2-1 with a 3.95 ERA in nine games (seven starts) for the Astros with seven walks and 40 strikeouts in the regular season. He was expected to be in the rotation to start this season.

Baker said rookie Brandon Bielak could pitch one of the games on Saturday. He also mentioned Cy Sneed and Luis Garcia as possibilities to start a game Saturday. Lance McCullers Jr. will start the series opener Friday, and lefty Framber Valdez will throw on Sunday.

Astros, A’s to make up game on Tuesday
The Astros will play their fourth doubleheader of the season Tuesday, when they will face the A’s in two games at the Oakland Coliseum. Game 1 will begin at 5:10 p.m. CT.

The Astros will be the designated home team for Game 1 of the doubleheader, which is a makeup from the game that was postponed Sunday in Houston after a member of the A’s traveling party had a positive COVID-19 test.

That means eight of the 10 games between the Astros and A’s this season will take place in Oakland, with next week now a five-game series (Monday-Thursday). The Astros swept a doubleheader from the A’s on Saturday at Minute Maid Park after the game Friday was postponed following a social justice protest by the Astros.

The Astros opened play Wednesday three games behind the first-place A’s in the American League West.

“There’s not a whole bunch you can do about it,” Baker said. “You’d rather have them not get back on a plane and risk being on a plane [during the pandemic]. They’re trying to cut down on as much travel as possible.

“On one hand you understand it, but … it’s definitely to their advantage. But, hey, we’ve got to find a way to win on the road, and the road has been our nemesis this year. You always want to be .500 or better on the road, and this is a big, big road trip for us.”

The Astros open a 11-game trip Friday. They’ll play four games in three days in Anaheim and then head to Oakland before finishing in Los Angeles against the Dodgers from Sept. 12-13.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.