The Astros have released right-hander Hector Velazquez, as per the official transactions page for Triple-A West. According to multiple reports out of Mexico, Velazquez will now pitch for Acereros de Monclova of the Mexican League, and he will also be a part of Mexico’s national baseball team roster for the Olympics.
Velazquez posted a 3.90 ERA over 166 innings for the Red Sox from 2017-18, chipping in as both a long reliever and occasional spot starter (or opener) over his 89 games with the team. After struggling in 2019, however, Velazquez was designated for assignment during spring training 2020 and then claimed by the Orioles, before being traded to Houston in July 2020.
Despite these changes of scenery, Velazquez still hasn’t pitched in a big league game since 2019. The righty had a 1.46 ERA and a 21.8% strikeout rate over 24 2/3 innings at the Triple-A level, yet even though the Astros have dealt with a number of pitching injuries this season, it seemed as though Velasquez simply wasn’t in the team’s plans.
He’ll now return to his old stomping grounds, as Velazquez previously pitched in the Mexican League from 2010-2016. The last of those seasons was also with Monclova, with Velazquez posting an impressive 2.47 ERA over 22 starts and 131 1/3 innings. The Red Sox purchased his contract following that strong season.