Peacock returns from IL, joins Astros' bullpen

September 22nd, 2019

HOUSTON -- Veteran right-hander , a key bullpen piece during the Astros’ run to the World Series championship in 2017, was activated from the injured list Sunday. Peacock had been out since Aug. 28 with shoulder soreness, marking his second stint on the IL this year with the same injury.

“I’m excited, man,” Peacock said. “I feel way better than I did. I’m just ready to get back out there and try to help the team out wherever I can.”

Peacock pitched a scoreless sixth inning in the Astros' 13-5 win over the Angels on Sunday, which clinched their third straight American League West title. Manager AJ Hinch had said Peacock will ideally make two or three appearances to get prepared for the postseason.

“The plan is for him to pitch if it makes sense,” Hinch said. “After [Sunday], we’ll be able to gauge what the plan is.”

Peacock started this season in the rotation and has posted a 2.25 ERA with 12 strikeouts in eight innings over five relief appearances. He is 7-6 with a 4.01 ERA in 21 games overall. Peacock identified his soreness as stemming from a nerve condition, and he worked with the trainers to get through it.

“A lot of has changed since 2013,” said Peacock, the longest tenured member of the pitching staff. “I’m just glad to be part of all of it. Hopefully, we can get back to the World Series this year and win another one.”

Urquidy earns a start

Veteran left-hander Wade Miley and rookie right-hander Jose Urquidy will each make one more start for the Astros in what basically amounts to a final audition for the final spot in the postseason rotation. Miley has posted a 22.09 ERA in four September starts, and Urquidy has followed him into the game a couple times and pitched well.

Miley looked like a rock-solid member of Houston’s postseason rotation behind Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Zack Greinke a month ago, but he has struggled down the stretch. In Saturday’s 8-4 loss to the Angels at Minute Maid Park, Miley recorded only three outs while giving up four runs on four hits and one walk.

Hinch said Miley would make his final regular-season start in Thursday’s series opener at the Angels, with Urquidy to pitch Friday. Verlander (Saturday) and Cole (Sunday) will finish out the regular season as they take their American League Cy Young Award battle down to the wire.

Urquidy, Houston's No. 12 prospect per MLB Pipeline, has pitched a career-high 138 innings this year combined between the Astros and two levels in the Minor Leagues. Considering he missed all of 2017 following Tommy John surgery, the Astros have been cautious with Urquidy’s workload, but Miley’s struggles and Urquidy’s effectiveness have pushed Urquidy into postseason consideration.

“We have some innings we feel very comfortable with, and we’re not exposing him to injury or putting him in danger,” Hinch said. “We are aware. He’s a young pitcher coming off an injury, and we’ve tried to maintain that discipline over the course of the year and hopefully it pays dividends if we need him in October.”

Snitker thrilled for dad

The Snitker family held an impromptu family reunion on the field at SunTrust Park after the Braves beat the Giants to clinch the National League East on Friday night. Braves manager Brian Snitker, his wife Veronica, daughter Erin and two grandkids posed for pictures and smiled with joy. Snitker’s son, Troy, was trying to enjoy it as much as he could a few hundred miles away.

Troy Snitker, in his first year as the Astros' assistant hitting coach, beamed with pride Sunday morning when he spoke about his father. Troy, who was born in Atlanta, was drafted by the Braves and played briefly in the Minor Leagues before getting into coaching. He spent last year as the hitting coach at Double-A Corpus Christi.

“I got to be there last year after our season when they clinched last year there in Atlanta,” Troy said. “Right after the game [Friday], I’m getting family pictures sent. I’m definitely watching on the scoreboard in left field and watching two games every night. He understands we’ve got something going on there, too. It’s not bad watching from afar.”

This is Brian Snitker’s third full season as Braves manager and his 43rd in the organization. He joined the Braves in 1977 as an undrafted free agent and spent seven seasons as third-base coach (2007-13) and also had two stints with the Major League staff as bullpen coach (1985) and (1988-90). He was originally hired by Hank Aaron and served as a Minor League coach and manager for 20 seasons in the Braves' system.

“It means a lot to him, because the organization and that city mean a lot to him,” Troy said. “He’ll say he’s an Atlanta Brave through and through, and to have that kind of support from the team and the fans and from all our family there in Atlanta means a lot.”

With both the Braves and Astros headed to the postseason, Troy Snitker says he wouldn’t mind seeing his father in the opposite dugout in the World Series.

“I think we’ve talked about it since Spring Training,” Troy said. “I try not to think about it too much. There’s a lot of things that have to go right for both teams to end up there at the end of October. It would be a special time if it were to happen.”