The Astros are likely to be without star second baseman Jose Altuve for this weekend’s series against the Angels in Anaheim after he was diagnosed with a right knee sprain, manager Dusty Baker said on Friday. Altuve injured the knee sliding into third base in the first inning of Thursday’s 8-4 win over the Rangers.
Baker said that Altuve definitely wouldn’t be available for Saturday’s doubleheader at Angel Stadium and was doubtful for Sunday's series finale. The Astros opened an 11-game road trip Friday, with seven games in the first five days.
Altuve singled in his first at-bat against Rangers starter Lance Lynn for his 1,600th career hit, then he slid hard into third base feet-first while running the bases on a single by Michael Brantley. Altuve was replaced by Aledmys Díaz, who started at second base Friday.
Urquidy set to return following COVID-19 bout
For the first time since he threw five scoreless innings in Game 4 of the 2019 World Series, right-hander Jose Urquidy will start a game for the Astros when he takes the mound in Game 2 of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Angels. Rookie Brandon Bielak will start Game 1.
Urquidy has been out since the season began, and he didn’t participate in Summer Camp after being diagnosed with COVID-19 in July. After testing positive upon his arrival in Houston, Urquidy had to spend 35-40 days in quarantine following four additional positive tests.
“It’s really been frustrating for me,” he said. “I wanted to be here with my teammates from the beginning of the season. It’s just unfortunate I wasn’t able to [because of] the situation with COVID, but it is what it is.”
The quarantine also meant Urquidy couldn’t throw, which is why he spent so much time at the alternate training site in Corpus Christi, Texas, strengthening his arm. He said he'll be able to throw 50-60 pitches on Saturday.
“It was kind of like Spring Training for me,” he said of his time in Corpus Christi. “I had a lot of stuff to do to rebuild the strength in my shoulder and be able to throw like I wanted to. It wasn’t exactly a normal rehab for me. I definitely had to built up my arm strength first, and that’s why it took a little bit longer.”
Urquidy made his Major League debut last year and went 2-1 with a 3.95 ERA in nine games (seven starts) in the regular season and put himself on the map by throwing five scoreless innings in his start in Game 4 at Washington last October.
Devenski returns from IL
A healthy and rejuvenated Chris Devenski was activated from the injured list prior to Friday’s game, though Baker said he won’t be available until Saturday. Devenski threw in two games at the start of the season before going on the injury list with right elbow soreness Aug. 1. Struggling right-hander Joe Biagini was optioned to the alternate training site.
“I can’t wait,” Devenski said. “It’s something I’ve been looking forward to. A lot of work went into building my arm strength back up. I’m taking it day by day and building the foundation right now to get my arm strength back up.”
Devenski said he has been dealing with right elbow soreness for a while, but he thinks he’s back to 100 percent. He said the short ramp-up to the start of the delayed regular season contributed to his arm problems.
“Everybody knows I haven’t been myself for a while know,” he said. “My performance has dropped off from where I was at. I’m not making excuses and say this is the reason, but there’s a time you can’t always battle through everything. You’ve got to get it right and do what’s right for me. I wouldn’t be helping this team if I went out there and battled through something and have my performance lag.”