New father Jose Urquidy eager to see baby again
Jose Urquidy expected to be key to Astros rotation again
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Leaving for spring training wasn’t quite so easy this year for Jose Urquidy. The Astros righthander and his wife welcomed their first child, a baby girl named Alana, in late January.
Two weeks later, the Mexican righthander was on his way to the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, where he’s preparing for the 2023 season with the Astros and his first appearance with Mexico in the World Baseball Classic.
“Yes, that was difficult for sure,” he said of leaving his wife Estefania Duran and baby Alana. “I left my wife in Houston two weeks ago, and I feel like I need both here right now.”
Key to Astros rotation
Urquidy has been a steady presence in the Astros’ rotation since late in the 2019 season. He is 24-13 with a 3.74 ERA over four seasons, winning a career high 13 games last season.
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He threw a career-high 164 innings last year while going 13-8 with a 3.94 ERA over 29 appearances (28 starts). Urquidy posted an impressive 2.73 ERA in July while going 3-1 in five starts that month. Then he was 3-1 again in August with a good 3.13 ERA, validating why manager Dusty Baker lobbied against trading him to the Cubs for All-Star catcher Willson Contreras.
But he struggled in the final month of the season as the workload increased beyond his previous career highs. He finished with a 1-3 record and season-worst 5.33 ERA in September/October of the regular season. His 164 1/3 innings last year were almost as many as the 177 2/3 he had thrown in the previous three regular seasons combined.
That tailspin combined with the ascension of Cristian Javier and Luis Garcia, the brilliance of Framber Valdez and Justin Verlander, and Lance McCullers Jr.’s pedigree kept Urquidy out of the postseason rotation.
Jose Urquidy holds Mexico World Series record
Urquidy didn’t pitch in the Division Series or the American League Championship Series. He threw three impressive, scoreless innings in the World Series, reminding why he’s the all-time leader in World Series victories by a native of Mexico.
If he stays healthy, the Mazatlan, Sinaloa, native will likely start the season as the Astros’ No. 3 starter behind Valdez and Javier.
“As long as Urquidy is healthy, that’s all we care about,” Baker said. “He has a lot to pitch for now. I’ve seen guys really get things together generally when they have a little more responsiblity, marriage and kids. That will make you do stuff that you didn’t know you could do.”
Urquidy has already shown he can be a special pitcher. He has a 3-0 record and sterling 1.23 ERA over five World Series appearances in his career. Now, he’s definitely playing for something greater than himself.
“My baby is in Houston right now,” he says with a smile. “She’ s going to come next week. I feel a lot of love for her, and it’s something that makes me feel happy all day.”
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