HOUSTON – Astros starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi was lifted from Saturday’s game against the Angels after only five pitches with tightness in his right forearm. Odorizzi got David Fletcher to fly out to right field to start the game before catcher Jason Castro called out manager Dusty Baker and a trainer to the mound.
The three sliders Odorizzi threw in the game were down 2.6 mph from his season average, according to Statcast, and the two fastballs were down 4.7 mph. Castro, who caught Odorizzi extensively in Minnesota, pointed to the dugout upon noticing the sharp decline in velocity.
Baker said Odorizzi was set to be examined by doctors Saturday or Sunday.
“He had a great warm-up in the bullpen,” he said. “He was surprised and we were surprised. You could see him flexing his hand and so I looked at Jason and Jason looked at me and I said, ‘Hey, we better go out and see what’s wrong with him and not try to gut it out and really cause something to go wrong.’ He’s not real worried about it. But it was a matter of concern at the time and we’ll see once he is evaluated by the doctors.”
Left-hander Kent Emanuel, who was activated on Friday, came in for his Major League debut to face Shohei Ohtani, who grounded out in his first at-bat before homering in the third inning. Emanuel threw 8 2/3 innings in the longest relief outing by a pitcher in the Major Leagues since 1988, sealing the Astros' 16-2 win over the Angels.
Odorizzi was signed to a two-year deal March 8 and made two starts at the Astros’ alternate training site to build up his arm strength before being activated earlier this month. In three starts this season, he is 0-2 with a 10.13 ERA, allowing nine runs and 10 hits in eight innings.
The Astros signed Odorizzi a week after left-hander Framber Valdez, who had a breakout 2020 season, broke his left ring finger in his first Spring Training start of the year. The Astros say Valdez is “ahead of schedule,” but the team hasn’t said how long Valdez will be out.