With the 2020 Olympics officially beginning this week in Tokyo, Japan, there are two former Houston Astros pitchers representing Team Mexico. The United States Baseball Team also has two former Astros on the roster, but in total, all four players aren’t that well-known.
There isn’t much to remember about Hector Velazquez and Oliver Perez in Houston, other than a lack of usage in short-term stints. Both relief pitchers didn’t last more than three years total with the organization, but do you remember them in blue and orange?
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Hector Velazquez and Oliver Perez are headed to the Olympics, but how did they pitch with the Astros?
If you don’t remember Velazquez, I don’t blame. In the past two weeks, the Astros released the right-hander from the Sugar Land Skeeters and from his minor-league deal. This move looked to be in response to the Olympics, but while not a 40-man roster pitcher, there was no need to release him.
The Astros acquired Velazquez from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for Miguel Padilla before the start of the 2020 season, but the right-hander never made his way on the major-league roster. While eyed as minor-league depth for a youthful group, the right-hander never scratched the surface in Houston.
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With a 1.45 ERA over 24.2 innings this season, it is a head scratcher why Velazquez was released, but with no call up to bolster an already weakened staff, the team might have not seen anything they needed in the right-hander.
Velazquez is mainly known for his time with the Boston Red Sox, where he won a World Series in 2018. While a starter and a long reliever, it has been rumored that the right-hander signed with the Acereros de Monclova, after being released.
Like many long-tenured relievers, Perez has bounced around baseball on his journey. Earlier in the season, the left-hander was DFA’d by the Cleveland Indians and never claimed off waivers, so he currently sits in Triple-A. Through his 19-year career, Perez stopped for coffee with the Astros in 2015.
I pledged for the Astros to claim Perez or trade for him earlier in the season, after a 0.00 ERA start over 3.2 innings. This was a small sample size, but the 39-year-old has been durable in his career. In 2015, the Astros snatched Perez from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for Junior Garcia.
The left-hander posted a 6.75 ERA over 12 innings late in the season, and allowed one run in less than an inning in the ALDS. He was granted free agency after the season and was never remembered for his time with the Astros.