SEATTLE -- Three weeks after being acquired by the Astros in a trade from the Blue Jays, right-hander Roberto Osuna has replaced Hector Rondon as closer. Osuna, a former All-Star closer with Toronto, will get most of the closing opportunities going forward, manager AJ Hinch said Tuesday.Hinch stressed Osuna will
SEATTLE -- Three weeks after being acquired by the Astros in a trade from the Blue Jays, right-hander Roberto Osuna has replaced Hector Rondon as closer. Osuna, a former All-Star closer with Toronto, will get most of the closing opportunities going forward, manager AJ Hinch said Tuesday.
Hinch stressed Osuna will still be in play to pitch in other roles earlier in the game, in much the same way Rondon could still close games on occasion. Rondon took over for Ken Giles as closer in late June and converted 13 of 16 save chances.
"In a perfect world, everybody pitches perfectly and gets everybody out and guys can settle into particular innings," Hinch said. "Using the plan that I can use these guys at any given time is still the best plan moving forward. Osuna's had tremendous success in getting the last three outs of a game or last four outs of a game or last five outs of a game.
"I don't know him well enough to know how he responds to four- and five- and six-out outings, but he's going to finish a lot of games. We haven't had a game for him to finish yet. If that leads to a four- or five- or six-out save, then great."
Osuna saved nine games for the Blue Jays this year before serving a 75-game suspension under the MLB-MLBPA Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse policy. Osuna saved 104 games in three-plus years with the Blue Jays, including 39 last year when he was named to the All-Star team.
Springer misses another start
All-Star outfielder George Springer was out of the starting lineup Tuesday for a second consecutive game after being scratched from Monday's series opener in Seattle with a left sore left quadriceps muscle. Hinch said Springer is still day to day.
"If I can use him in an at-bat tonight, then I will," Hinch said. "If I can't, we'll move the day-to-day conversation until [Wednesday]."
Springer, who missed eight games on the DL with a left thumb sprain, showed up at the ballpark Monday complaining of left leg soreness and was immediately pulled from the lineup. He went 3-for-13 in the weekend series against the A's and appeared to be favoring his left thumb at times. Hinch said the World Series MVP will likely have to deal with thumb soreness the rest of the season.
Valdez gets callup
Because they needed a pitcher capable of throwing multiple innings for Tuesday's game against the Mariners, in which the Astros were going to piece together using relief pitchers, the team purchased the contract of lefty Framber Valdez, their No. 11-ranked prospect by MLB Pipeline. Lefty Cionel Perez was optioned to Triple-A Fresno following Monday's game.
"I'm very happy and very emotional about this opportunity to be called up and very thankful for everything and very happy for myself and my family and hoping to take advantage of it," Valdez said through an interpreter. "The manager called me over and said, 'Hey, are you ready to pitch?' And I told him I was ready. 'Are you ready to pitch in Sacramento?' I said, 'Yes.' He said, 'Actually, you're going to be pitching in the big leagues' and that was very, very exciting for me."
Valdez, 24, will be making his first appearance on a Major League roster after going 6-5 with a 4.11 ERA in 22 games (14 starts) this year, with all but two appearances coming at Double-A Corpus Christi. He threw 5 2/3 innings Aug. 14 for Fresno in his most recent appearance but has been tough on lefties in his career and throws strikes.
"The more that Cionel hadn't pitched, the less comfortable we were with extending him to 45, 50, 60 pitches, even though he has a history of [starting]," Hinch said. "He pitched once in the last 10 days and had only thrown one time in Triple-A when we sent him down. Valdez is built up to absorb a number of pitches tonight if we need it or a number of innings tonight if we can get it. Given the way the game was shaping up after how our 'pen was used [Monday] night, we valued the number of pitches and the number of innings that Framber's on a more routine basis is used to doing."
The Astros signed Valdez out of the Dominican Republic in 2015 when he was 21 years old. Perez had appeared in six games in two stints with the Astros this year, allowing three runs in seven innings. He's spent most of the season in the Minors, going 6-1 with a 1.98 ERA in 16 games (11 starts) for Double-A Corpus Christi. He's also appeared in one game for Fresno.
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.