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.
Despite experiencing left quad tightness, Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper was in Thursday’s lineup and playing left field against the Cardinals. Manager Matt Williams isn’t worried that the injury could get worse.
With a .138 average against Padres starter Ian Kennedy, Carlos Gonzalez wasn’t in the Rockies’ starting lineup on Thursday.
We touched on some American League notes late last night, but here are a few more for the morning: After a solid start to his tenure with the Twins’ Triple-A affiliate, recently-acquired infielder Eduardo Nunez has earned a (brief) call-up to the bigs, writes Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (passing on a report from the Rochester Chronicle and Democrat). Nunez will get the chance to be the team’s 26th player for the second game of today’s doubleheader before going back to the minors on Friday, though it seems quite possible he’ll get a real shot with the MLB club at some point given Pedro Florimon’s struggles. The Tigers’ search for a replacement at shortstop led them to ask 46-year-old Omar Vizquel if he was interested in making a comeback, reports Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer. ”They asked me if I’d like to come and take some grounders,” said Vizquel. ”I said, ‘No, I’ve been retired for two years.’” Scott Cousins will not exactly be continuing his career as a baseball outfielder when he joins the Rangers, reports Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News. The 29-year-old will head to extended spring training, where he will try to convert into a left-handed pitcher. The latest in the Athletics’ ballpark situation has focused on the possibility of a ten-year lease extension at the O.co Coliseum. As Joe Stiglich of CSNBayArea.com reports, A’s co-owner Lew Wolff says the club would be willing to make over $10MM in stadium improvements if such a deal were struck. (Of course, for those who follow ballpark funding issues, that outlay will seem a relative drop in the bucket.)
Chris Iannetta powered a home run over a leaping Craig Gentry and over the center-field fence with two out in the 12th off Drew Pomeranz to give the Angels a 5-4 win over the A’s in the series finale Wednesday night.
Pablo Sandoval’s second single of the night Wednesday broke a seventh-inning deadlock and propelled the Giants to their fourth victory in five games this year over the Los Angeles Dodgers, a 2-1 decision.
A’s manager Bob Melvin challenged plate umpire Tim Timmons’ ruling that the Angels’ Chris Iannetta was hit in the toe by a Tommy Milone pitch leading off the bottom of the seventh inning Wednesday night. After a replay review, the umpires ruled that the play stands.
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.