Results tagged ‘ Josh Zeid ’
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.
The Astros trimmed their Spring Training roster by 10 players on Sunday morning, optioning outfielders Robbie Grossman, Jimmy Paredes, shortstop Jonathan Villar and pitchers Paul Clemens and Dallas Keuchel to Minor League camp and reassigning outfielder Che-Hsuan Lin, catcher Carlos Perez and pitchers C.J. Fick, Josh Zeid and Sergio Escalona to Minor League camp.
The moves leave the Astros with 39 players in camp two weeks shy of the March 31 season-opener against the Texas Rangers (that includes pitchers Jose Veras and Xavier Cedeno, who are competing in the World Baseball Classic).
“We open up two weeks from today, and even though it’s a long Spring Training, it feels as though it’s gone very quickly,” Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do here. We’ve got to get down to 25. Pitchers are going longer in games, we’ve got innings to dole out, we want to see our position players go a little deeper and have a few more at-bats as well.
“A lot of these guys we’re sending out today have a bright future in our organization, and they know they’ll be back. They need to go down and get regular work and go to their respective Minor League locations and show us what they can do. We know the 25 we start with are not the 25 we’re going to have all year.
“They’ve done, by in large, a good job and especially when you have a new staff at the big league level, it’s a clean slate for everybody. Everybody gets to know each other, and I think it’s been very good for a lot of these players to really take advantage of clean slate to go out and impress. When the time comes, our staff is not going to hesitate to want them back up here.”
There will be more on the Arizona Fall League and some other Astros playing in winter ball when the story posts on Astros.com later today, but here’s a sneak peek:
Astros general manager Ed Wade came away impressed after spending some time earlier this month getting a close-up look at the club’s prospects that are participating in the Arizona Fall League, which is about halfway through its schedule.
The seven players from the Houston organization are competing for the Salt River Rafters.
“We’re pleased with the way things are going there,” said Wade, who traveled to Arizona early in the month with assistant general manager David Gottfried. “We missed Jason Castro while we were there. I had seen him in instructional league the previous week and we had given Jason permission to be in a wedding and we missed him when we were out there. All reports we have gotten have been very solid.”
Astros Major League scout Paul Ricciarini is currently in Arizona and has sent positive reports back about Castro, who tore his right anterior cruciate ligament running the bases early in Spring Training and had season-ending knee surgery in March.
Castro, who’s expected to be the team’s starting catcher next year, was hitting .167 with five strikeouts in only 12 at-bats in four games (he was slowed by a ribcage injury), but he went 2-for-4 with a double, a run and an RBI on Thursday and, more importantly, is in good shape physically.
“Paul was very impressed with the way Jason has progressed since the last time he had a chance to see him,” Wade said.
The player putting up the best numbers for the Astros is first baseman Kody Hinze, who slugged 29 homers last season between Class A Lancaster and Double-A Corpus Christi combined. He was hitting .294 with two homers and nine RBIs through nine games.
Jake Goebbert, a left-handed-hitting outfielder who progressed from Lancaster to Triple-A Oklahoma City last season and hit a combined .290 with 12 homers and 67 RBIs, was batting .162 with two homers and three RBIs in 10 games. Speedy outfielder Jay Austin had appeared in five games and was hitting .263 with three stolen bases.
“From the position players we did see, Kody Hinze was swinging the bat well and driving in some runs,” Wade said. “Jay Austin was out there on a taxi squad and played a couple of games and got on base, and we see the same tools and same out of Jay since we drafted him and signed him. He just needs to continue to be given opportunities. He’s probably one of those guys that’s going to take a level at a time to get his feet on the ground and show what he’s capable of doing.
“Goebbert played in a couple of games and swung the bat well. He knows how to play the game the right way and we like what we saw out of him.
Left-hander Dallas Keuchel, who went 9-7 with a 3.17 ERA at Double-A before getting his feet wet at Triple-A last season, is 1-1 with a 4.91 ERA in three starts in Arizona.
“He’s one of those guys you have to ignore the radar gun when he’s pitching because he’s not going to put up big gun numbers,” Wade said. “In the game I saw him pitch, he was consistent with what I’ve seen out of him every time he’s pitched. He commanded his pitches well and he’s got an excellent changeup and changes speeds.”
Right-hander Jason Stoffel had appeared in six games and allowed five earned runs and eight walks and struck out nine batters in five innings. Right-hander Josh Zeid was 1-0 with a 9.00 ERA in six games, but he had allowed only one run in his past three outings entering play Monday.