Dusty Baker was the bearer of good news on Sunday when he gave an update on the status of Framber Valdez. The Houston Astros manager said Valdez could return in June, at least, that is the hope. The 27-year-old fractured his ring finger on his left hand, which is his pitching hand, in Spring Training. Houston initially feared Valdez’s season would be lost, but the lefty avoided surgery and is progressing much better than expected.
It is not a concrete timetable, but this update on Valdez is great news for the Astros. “Hopefully he’ll be ready sometime to come back, which is a miracle, sometime in June. Hopefully,” Baker told reporters including MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart. Valdez completed a 20-pitch bullpen session on Friday. The plan is for Valdez to gradually ramp up over the next few weeks. Eventually, if all goes well, he will go on a minor league rehab assignment for a game or two. His return will be welcomed with open arms by Houston.
2020 was a breakout season for Valdez, who posted a 3.57 ERA over 11 appearances, with ten starts. He struck out opponents at a rate of 9.7 K/9, while only walking batters at a rate of two BB/9. When he eventually returns, he will look to back up his 2020 season with more great pitching in 2021.
Other Injury News
Enoli Paredes isn’t far from a return to the big league roster. In his second rehab assignment game on Saturday, he faced the minimum over three innings with the Hooks, striking out six and walking only one batter. Paredes has been out since April 9 with a side issue.
Jake Odorizzi was placed on the Injured List in late April with a forearm issue, but he is making solid progress. The veteran threw 40 pitches in two simulated innings on Saturday. He must throw live batting practice before embarking on a rehab assignment. His return isn’t expected until at least late May.
In the meantime, Houston begins a 13-game stretch against AL West division rivals on Monday, May 10th, running through Sunday, May 23.
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