ROUND ROCK, Texas - The Houston Astros announced on Thursday afternoon that Round Rock Express LHP Framber Valdez has been recalled by the major league club. The lefty returns to Houston for the third time this season after posting two starts in an 11-day stint with the Express. He is expected to start for the Astros in their series opener against the Texas Rangers tonight at Globe Life Park.
In a corresponding move, the Astros optioned RHP Jose Urquidy back to the Express. The righty made his major league debut with Houston earlier this month after opening the season with Double-A Corpus Christi and joining Round Rock on May 15.
Valdez, ranked as the #11 prospect in the Astros organization by MLB.com, was hard to beat in his two starts during his second trip to Round Rock this season. The righty posted 6.2 shutout innings in his first start with the team on July 1, holding the Omaha Storm Chasers to just four hits and three walks while striking out 10. In his next outing on July 6, Valdez gave up two runs on two hits in 3.0 innings while striking out seven Oklahoma City hitters.
The Dominican Republic native returns to Houston, where he is 3-4 with a 4.57 ERA (23 ER/45.1 IP) in 18 games, including four starts, this season. Valdez was named to Houston's Opening Day roster for the first time in his four-year professional career and began the season out of the team's bullpen before transitioning into a starting role in early June.
Urquidy made his major league debut with Houston on July 2 at Colorado, holding the Rockies to two runs on six hits in 3.2 innings. In his next start, he allowed five runs on eight hits against the Los Angeles Angels on July 7 at Minute Maid Park. The Mazatlan, Mexico native opened the season with Corpus Christi, going 2-2 with a 4.09 ERA (18 ER/33.0 IP) while striking out 40 to just five walks. He was promoted to Round Rock on May 15, where he posted a 3-1 record with a 2.89 ERA (14 ER/43.2 IP). Despite pitching in just eight games, including seven starts, with the club, he currently ranks second on the team in strikeouts with 64, as opposed to just 10 walks.
The Express open an eight-game homestand with a four-game series against the Iowa Cubs (Chicago Cubs affiliate) on Thursday night. Round Rock RHP Akeem Bostick (4-4, 6.47) is scheduled to face Iowa RHP Trevor Clifton (3-7, 4.73). First pitch at Dell Diamond is set for 7:05 p.m.
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