Astros manager Bo Porter is never one to speak softly, but something finally managed to lower his voice a bit during the last several days. A “flu-like” bug has spread through the Astros’ clubhouse, reaching everyone from Porter to the trainers to the Houston pitching staff.
Houston purchased veteran left-hander Raul Valdes’ contract from Triple-A Oklahoma City and optioned Kevin Chapman to the RedHawks on Thursday.
In one respect, George Springer’s whirlwind first day in the Major Leagues was no different than any other call-up’s. But given the attention the slugging outfielder gained while raking in the Minors, how he’s settling in to life in the Major Leagues after a hectic 36 hours is a top priority for the Astros.
Here are the day’s minor moves: The Phillies have signed outfielder Adam Loewen to a minor league deal, according to the MLB.com transactions page. Loewen, 30, was once rated as high as the 13th overall prospect in the game by Baseball America — as a pitcher. He transitioned to the field since having his career derailed by elbow issues, and last year posted a .267/.359/.435 line in 496 plate appearances, most of them coming at the Double-A level. But Loewen will return to the hill with Philadelphia, according to a tweet from Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. Righty Matt Neil has agreed to a minor league contract with the Rays, also via the MLB transactions page. The 27-year-old had spent his first three years in the Marlins organization. Last year, splitting time between starting and relieving at both upper-minor levels, Neil threw to a 3.70 ERA in 109 1/3 frames. As MLBTR’s DFA Tracker shows, White Sox reliever Donnie Veal has just joined Lucas Harrell (Astros) and Sam Fuld (Athletics) in DFA limbo
Geovany Soto is targeting a July return from right knee surgery for a torn meniscus, but general manager Jon Daniels is hopeful the Rangers’ starting catcher will be back in June, as well as aiming for a similar timetable for Jurickson Profar.
Looked upon as a singular moment, Julio Teheran’s outing on Wednesday night against the Phillies was the epitome of great pitching.
Thirteen of baseball’s 50 best prospects haven’t been healthy enough to play yet this season. While none of the injuries should be career-altering, the teams with sidelined phenoms are anxious to see them return.
Leury Garcia, a utility infielder, came out to start the 14th inning of the Red Sox’s 6-4 victory at U.S. Cellular Field. He took the loss by allowing a two-run double to Jackie Bradley Jr. and his career ERA is now 18.00, but it’s an experience he’ll never forget.
Evan Gattis hit his seventh homer in 46 lifetime at-bats vs. Philadelphia in the Braves’ 1-0 victory on Wednesday, establishing himself as a legitimate Phillies killer.
As defensive metrics gain precision and acceptance, we can expect an increasing move toward player contracts that better reflect the contributions of premier glovework, writes Doug Mittler for ESPN The Magazine (Insider link). “The market is established by offense because defensive numbers are difficult to ascertain,” said Mets GM Sandy Alderson. Mittler says that current bargains, like Alex Gordon of the Royals and Ryan Hanigan of the Rays, may be harder to find in coming seasons. (I would suggest that some recent extensions of defense-first players — including those of Andrelton Simmons of the Braves and Elvis Andrus of the Rangers — may reflect just that kind of movement in the market.) Here’s the latest out of the American League: It is early, of course, but the White Sox look like a very different club on the offensive side of the ledger, writes Grantland’s Jonah Keri. The preliminary results have put a shine on an offseason that, as MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes described, brought significant MLB-ready talent into the South Side.