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Urquidy struggles after Astros add to rotation

Trade for Greinke puts right-hander's future up in the air
@brianmctaggart
July 31, 2019

CLEVELAND -- While the Astros hooted and hollered in the clubhouse after hearing the news of Wednesday’s trade that landed them pitcher Zack Greinke from the D-backs, rookie right-hander Jose Urquidy remained on task in preparation for his upcoming start. The additions of Greinke and Aaron Sanchez, who was acquired

CLEVELAND -- While the Astros hooted and hollered in the clubhouse after hearing the news of Wednesday’s trade that landed them pitcher Zack Greinke from the D-backs, rookie right-hander Jose Urquidy remained on task in preparation for his upcoming start.

The additions of Greinke and Aaron Sanchez, who was acquired in a separate trade with the Blue Jays, to the rotation figure to come at the cost of Urquidy, who was roughed up for six runs and eight hits over four-plus innings in a 10-4 loss to the Indians at Progressive Field.

Box score

“It’s a long day and exciting day for us on the front end,” Astros manager AJ Hinch said. “On the back end, whatever roster moves are going to happen, we’ll talk about it over the next couple of days. Still a big day for us, just not on the field tonight. We couldn’t find the win.”

Urquidy, making his fifth big league start, gave up three-run homers to Roberto Perez in the second inning and Carlos Santana in the fifth, the latter of which put the Indians ahead, 6-4. Jason Kipnis hit a three-run homer in the sixth off Collin McHugh, the second homer McHugh allowed in the inning, to send the Astros to just their third loss in their last 13 games.

“Our whole team just struggled with the three-run homer,” Hinch said. “They hit three of them, and then they added a fourth [homer]. Urquidy lived and ultimately caved on the edge a little bit. They won the big swings. It looked at times like he was working around the strike zone, and then it looked like he got in the strike zone and they hit a couple of pitches.”

Houston, because of its off-days, has been using a four-man rotation since the All-Star break with Urquidy slotted in behind Gerrit Cole, Wade Miley and Justin Verlander. Hours before they played the Indians, the Astros pulled off a stunning trade to land Greinke from the D-backs in exchange for four prospects.

Greinke, who threw five innings at Yankee Stadium for the D-backs on Wednesday, figures to slot into Urquidy’s slot in the rotation next week. Sanchez could make his Astros debut and start Saturday’s game against the Mariners at Minute Maid Park.

“I was just really focusing on my normal routine -- in the bullpen, in the training room and all that,” Urquidy said. “I just tried to treat it as a normal start and prepare for the next one.”

Carlos Correa (2-for-4) put the Astros ahead with a leadoff homer in the second inning, but Perez took Urquidy deep for his first of two home runs of the night in the bottom of the inning. A three-run double by Yuli Gurriel in the third -- a hit which gave him 31 RBIs in July and extended his hitting streak to 18 games -- put the Astros ahead, 4-3, but Santana’s blast in the fifth turned the tide for the Indians.

“Tough to win a game when you give up a three-run homer,” Hinch said. “You give up a couple and a third one … it was their night.”

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