Astros: Tyler Ivey is hopeful of a late-season return

Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /

On May 21, 2021, a dream came true for Houston Astros‘ prospect Tyler Ivey. The right-hander was promoted to the major-league roster and was given the nod against his hometown team, the Texas Rangers. When receiving the call to the show, Ivey felt every emotion imaginable jumbled up into one, as he was excited to break the news to his parents.

After a 4.2 innings, Ivey was approached by manager Dusty Baker. His night was over, but Ivey was smiling ear-to-ear exiting the game, cracking a few jokes with his skipper. The right-hander allowed four runs on six hits, and the debut was over as his family roared from the second deck.

Ivey’s father, as many fans might remember, became a social media subject that night, while showing the most passion and energy any son could ask for. The Ivey family has been nothing but supportive to Tyler, through his baseball career. This is who the right-hander credits his success.

“That’s everything. That’s who that was for. That’s why you do it,” Ivey said. “My dad and I would go up to the baseball field every day and hit ground balls and hit batting practice. We spent so much time throwing bullpens on the driveway. This is what we’re working towards. And just to to have them experience that was enough for me. It was quite amazing how God works.”

The hurler was optioned to Triple-A Sugar Land the following day, and never made another start for the Astros or the Skeeters to this day. Over a week later, Ivey was shut down with an apparent elbow injury, that he hid from the team since 2019.

“For a while, I knew something was wrong. It was manageable at first and progressively got worse,” Ivey explained. “It’s just something that I try not to let stress me out too much just because I know that’s really not in my control. All I can control is working hard every day to try to get back out there. So, it was a little worrisome at times, but I try not to let it affect me.”

The right-hander was placed on the minor-league injured list and then the major-league 60-day injured list to open a spot for newly claimed infielder Jacob Wilson. At this point, it didn’t look like we would see much of Ivey again in 2021, after two appearances in Triple-A and one start at the major-league level.

Tyler Ivey made a memorable debut for the Astros back in May, and although on the injured list, the right-hander isn’t done just yet.

While on the 60-day IL, Ivey is entitled to a major-league contract along with the clicking of his service time clock. At first glance, the right-hander doesn’t seem to be coming back in 2021. We don’t know what his injured list stint is retroactive to, as well as, activating him with an already loaded 40-man roster.

Although on the shelf with his elbow injury, Ivey never worried about being traded or designated for assignment by the Astros. The hurler was eyeing a return more than anything, although never reported as a hot commodity on the market last month.

Currently, Ivey is rehabbing and working back to normalcy in West Palm Beach, Florida, at the Astros’ spring training complex. The right-hander is throwing five times a week off flat ground with everything feeling great, as the idea of a return to baseball in 2021 isn’t out of the picture.

“It’s possible, it’s very possible,” Ivey said. “We’re on a really aggressive progression right now. We’re working farther and farther back as far as long toss goes. I’m throwing all my pitches right now just on flat ground, and it just feels great, it feels phenomenal. So, you know, I wouldn’t put it out of the realm of possibility to pitch again this year. That’s my goal. At least that’s what I intend to do, Lord willing, but, it’s on a good track right now.”

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Through it all, Ivey stands as a man of faith. There is baseball and then there is who the 25-year-old sees himself as.

“My faith is everything. Jesus gets me up in the morning, gets me through the day,” Ivey explained. “When I talked about not letting the injury affect my mental too much and trying to keep a positive aspects about it, it’s really because I don’t find my identity in baseball, I find it in Jesus Christ.”

Ivey sees his life as already written out for him, while all he needs to do is work as hard as he can to fulfill it. With the support of his family backed behind his faith, he doesn’t solely worry about contradicting factors, as there is more than just baseball.

“Faith is everything, faith and family,” Ivey said. “It’s much bigger than the game and you don’t want to lose sight of that.”

While taking a peak at 2022, Ivey is pushing for a healthy season and wants to attack any opportunity the team gives him. Entering spring training, Ivey could be competing for an Opening Day roster spot, but he has the mentality to impact the team now and not worry where he stands come next September.

“That’s a good question. I’m not looking that far ahead,” Ivey said. “I just want to I keep my blinders on and work hard. I’m not thinking about a year from now. I’m just thinking, how can I get to this bullpen? How can I get back on the mound? We’ll just cross that bridge when we come to it.”

Ivey is very optimistic as to what the future holds, but as he hasn’t changed anything from his long delivery to the pitches he throws, the right-hander is just grateful that the pain is gone in his elbow.

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