That’s why the Astros optioned Velasquez back to Double-A Corpus Christi after he pitched well in Tuesday’s loss to the Cleveland Indians: to keep him fresh.
Velasquez made six starts with the Astros since his promotion, and according to Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle the expectation is he’ll return after the All-Star break. Of his first few weeks in the majors, Velasquez told Drellich that he enjoyed the experience, and felt better as he made more starts: “I feel like I settled in just fine. Throwing six innings — I couldn’t even get over five (in my first three outings). Now I’m going over five, six. I felt like I could probably go seven today. … I am feeling comfortable.”
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His manager, A.J. Hinch, echoed that same sentiment: "We have the All-Star break. Clearly, these guys are starting to enter some uncharted waters for their rest, recovery. Obviously, we know he’s a part of what we’re doing and we’re expecting to see him again. Given how we’re riding our bullpen right now, where we are with the schedule with the All-Star break (starting Monday), we’re going to give him a little mental and physical blow for the time being, and re-sort it out after the break."
Drellich notes that the Astros have gone just 31-30 since they were 18-7 on May 3, so maximizing the impact of their promising young pitchers should come in handy down the stretch as they try to hold on to their lead in the AL West.