Valdez won't pitch in All-Star Game, Baker announces

July 9th, 2023

HOUSTON -- Astros ace , who leads the American League with a 2.51 ERA, won’t pitch in Tuesday’s All-Star Game, manager Dusty Baker said Sunday. Baker, who’s managing the American League All-Stars in Seattle, said he didn’t want to risk using his best pitcher in an exhibition game on two days of rest.

Valdez threw six innings with two earned runs in Saturday’s win over the Mariners at Minute Maid Park, and he said after the game he didn’t want to pitch on Tuesday unless he got the start. That outing against Seattle was Valdez’s first start since June 27 due to a sprained ankle he suffered going down the dugout steps on June 20 in Houston.

“You can’t risk Framber on two or three days' rest for an exhibition game,” Baker said. “I know it’s important, but our season is far more important than an All-Star Game. It’s an honor to maybe start, but if he keeps pitching on the groove he’s in, he’ll have three or four opportunities to start in the future. Right now, we’ve got to take care of Framber.”

Baker said Valdez will attend the All-Star Game. The Astros have chartered a flight to Seattle following their Sunday game against the Mariners, with Valdez, injured slugger and outfielder joining Baker, his coaching staff and their families on the flight.

“He’s probably not happy with [not pitching] or at peace, but sometimes you’ve got to make tough decisions for the player and the team,” Baker said. “He’s just coming off of an injury, and you’d hate for something to happen to him again. I couldn’t live with myself if something happened to him, especially on short rest.”

Valdez, the winning pitcher in last year’s All-Star Game in Los Angeles, has thrown 13 quality starts in 17 overall this year, going 7-6 with a 1.05 WHIP. He entered Sunday ranking second in the Major Leagues in ERA, behind Atlanta’s Bryce Elder (2.45).