Zeid: ‘My dream is about to come true.’
Josh Zeid heard Jose Veras had been traded on Monday morning and his mind began to wander who would fill the vacant roster spot. Could he be called up next? If not, who’s it going to be? The relief pitcher couldn’t help but play general manager in his mind.
“You never want to do someone else’s job, so you go about your everyday business,” Zeid said.
About an hour and a half later, while lying on the floor watching television, Zeid got a call from Tony DeFrancesco, the manager at Triple-A Oklahoma City. DeFrancesco told him to pack his bags for Baltimore to join the Astros. He finally got the call.
“You think it’s a prank call,” he said. “Is the really happening for me? You hang up the phone call and you take a deep breath and go ‘Oh my goodness, my dream is about to come true.’”
Zeid, 26, has gone 4-1 with 13 saves and a 3.50 ERA in 43 relief appearances for the RedHawks, serving as closer since June 15 and going 13-for-14 in save chances. He’s struck out 53 batters in 43 2/3 innings pitched and allowed a .231 opponents’ batting average.
He could make his Major League debut Tuesday at Oriole Park at Camden Yards when the Astros play the Orioles. His parents, Ira and Karen, began driving to Baltimore from their home in New Haven, Conn., at 5 a.m. Tuesday so they could see their son play.
“My dad’s birthday was recently, so I called my dad and said, ‘Hey, I know I didn’t get you any presents, but happy birthday!’” Zeid said. “’Yeah, you’re going to drive to Baltimore tomorrow.’”
Zeid’s promotion came two years to the day he was acquired by the Astros, along with Jarred Cosart, Domingo Santana and Jonathan Singleton, from the Phillies in exchange for Hunter Pence in a trade that could pay huge dividends for Houston. Cosart made his Major League debut earlier this month, and Singleton shouldn’t be far behind.
Since he got the call, Zeid’s phone has buzzing with an activity of text message and phone calls.
“I’m getting messages from numbers that aren’t stored in my phone from people saying, ‘I’ve been following you your whole career. Congratulations, you deserve it.,’” he said. “It makes you feel like you belong, like you deserve it and everything you’re working for is for a good cause. It’s rewarding. I couldn’t be any happier. The last 20 years of playing baseball has been so worth it.”
While he was making his way to Baltimore on Monday, Zeid just hoped he could help stabilize the rotation.
“I walked many more guys than I would have liked to down in the Triple-A level,” he said. “I think just getting a lot more focus on the bullpen, working with guys who have a lot of experience up there. Any experience at all is going to benefit me a great ton. I hope to get the opportunity to go out there and pitch and do well. Just throw up zeroes and hand the ball to whoever comes after me.”
Now that Zeid can call Houston home, he can join his new wife, Stephanie, who’s a doctor of neuropsychology at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.
“We kind of wanted to make our home in area where there were great hospitals and facilities for her to work at, and it made it easier for me to work, especially on a Minor League salary,” Zeid said. “I could go and work out in the winter and it wouldn’t cost me anything. You don’t have to pay to work out at Minute Maid Park. If I had to work out anywhere else, I’d have to pay a couple of thousand bucks a winter. The relocation was just as much to benefit me as it was to benefit her.”
Now, they’re both living a dream.