Jose Urquidy left tonight’s game due to soreness in his right shoulder, cutting short his start after 5 1/3 innings. A wayward pitch during an at-bat against Nick Castellanos caused Urquidy to “feel a little bit of pain in the back of my shoulder,” as he told FOX 26’s Mark Berman (Twitter links) and other reporters after the game. Urquidy didn’t sound overly concerned with the injury, but he’ll receive an MRI on Monday to determine the extent of any damage.
Because the Astros have an off-day on Thursday, it’s possible Urquidy might not miss a start if his MRI comes back clean, as the team could just push back his next outing if he needs just a bit of extra time to rest and monitor his shoulder. Even in the event of a clean MRI, however, it’s possible the Astros might err on the side of caution with a shoulder-related issue, and place Urquidy on the 15-day injured list as something of a preventative measure.
Houston’s quirky schedule could be a factor, as the Astros don’t play on any of the four Thursdays in May. This means that the club will need a fifth starter if Urquidy did require an IL stint, but for maybe just one turn through the rotation if Urquidy spent just the 15-day minimum on the injured list. Since Lance McCullers Jr. is still at least a few weeks away from returning from his own IL stint, the Astros could turn to any of Brandon Bielak, J.P. France, Forrest Whitley, or Sean Dubin at Triple-A. Bryan Garcia isn’t on the 40-man roster but he and Bielak are the only members of the Triple-A group with any MLB experience.
Urquidy hasn’t been too sharp over six starts this year, posting a 5.20 ERA over 27 2/3 innings. A lot of that damage came in a pair of rough outings against the Blue Jays and Rays, but Urquidy was on track in tonight’s game, holding the Phillies to two earned runs on three hits and a walk over his 5 1/3 frames. A below-average walk rate has been the biggest issue, as Urquidy had posted a very solid 5.2% walk rate over his first four MLB seasons. The righty has also been trying to make the sweeper a much bigger part of his arsenal, at the expense of a four-seamer was formally Uriquidy’s primary pitch — he has thrown his four-seamer 29.2% of the time and his sweeper 26.4% of the time this season, after throwing the four-seamer well over half the time from 2020-22.
Perhaps due to the Astros’ wealth of quality pitching, Urquidy has been a little overlooked during his time in Houston, though he has posted very solid numbers over his career. The right-hander had a 3.74 ERA over 342 regular-season innings from 2019-22, and a very similar 3.72 ERA in 36 1/3 career frames in the playoffs while working as both a starter and a reliever. Houston’s pitching depth meant that Urquidy was limited to one appearance (three scoreless innings in Game 3 of the World Series) during the Astros’ championship run last year, but he still earned a well-deserved ring for his contributions to the club’s season.