The Astros have placed setup man Wilton Lopez on the 15 day disabled list with irritation of the ulnar nerve in his pitching elbow. The Astros are downplaying the severity of the injury to Lopez. These types of injuries can be tough to diagnose and only time will give us answers. Lopez had been pitching with a sore elbow for a few days and was originally diagnosed with neuritis. After his performance continued to suffer the Astros team doctors took another look and came up with the new diagnosis. Let’s hope the injury isn’t serious and Lopez can get back to form soon. In the meantime Mark Melancon will slide into the setup role. Melancon was very impressive last night, getting five big outs and a hold in a 1-0 victory over San Diego.
Right-hander Jose Valdez has been called up to take the roster spot vacated by Lopez. The 28 year-old Dominican has yet to pitch in the big leagues. Valdez has an E.R.A. of 3.45 in nine minor league seasons. He has logged 537 innings in 214 games. Valdez made 56 starts in A-ball but has pitched strictly in relief since 2006. Valdez had two saves in three appearances for AAA Oklahoma City this season. Look for him to possibly be used in the sixth or seventh inning of close ballgames.