Wilton Lopez Hits DL With Irritation In Ulnar Nerve

In a story first broken by the Houston Chronicle’s Zachary Levine, Astros reliever Wilton Lopez, who had been slowed by an elbow injury that the Astros had originally diagnosed as neuritis, was reexamined and the team determined it was serious enough for Lopez to go on the DL. Manager Brad Mills had noticed it taking much longer for Lopez to warm up and the injury was very clear because of the lack of movement he was able to place on the ball.

The Astros will call up Jose Valdez from Triple A Oklahoma City to take Lopez’s place on the active roster. Valdez, 28, will be making his big league debut. He has a 3.45 ERA in 537 career minor league innings, but not as much of a track record of success in AAA.

Mark Melancon will take over setup man duties for the moment, and he’s clearly earned it after starting the season with 7 2/3rd’s scoreless innings, allowing just 4 hits and striking out 9. It’s unknown how long Lopez will be out for at this point, but he would be eligible to return on April 29th.

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