Diaz started at third base and went 2-for-2 with a walk in Wednesday's game against the Mets. Diaz has started at second base, third base and shortstop during spring action and played a few outfield innings. He's not a direct replacement for Marwin Gonzalez, but Diaz will move around those three infield positions. Diaz is hitting .172 (5-for-29) with two RBI, seven strikeouts and four walks.
The Astros plan to test Diaz in both left and right field during spring training, Jake Kaplan of The Athletic reports. Diaz was traded to Houston from Toronto in November and is seen as a potential option to replace super-utility player Marwin Gonzalez, though his outfield play remains a bit of a question mark. The Astros' infield jobs at second base, third base and shortstop are all locked down, likely leaving Diaz few opportunities at his most experienced positions. The 28-year-old could see some at-bats at designated hitter and first base as well, while any increased versatility would be a benefit given the Astros' mostly solidified lineup.
Diaz is one of several options to get at-bats as Houston's designated hitter in 2019, Brian McTaggart of the Astros' official site reports. Evan Gattis received the most DH plate appearances in 2018, but he's a free agent and unlikely to return. Houston had a .750 OPS as a team in the DH spot last year, which ranked 10th in the American League, so it could be in the market for a hitter. If the Astros don't bring anyone in, they have in-house options and enough position versatility to cover the position. Diaz, who hit 18 home runs with a .756 OPS for Toronto last year, is one of them. The Astros can also rotate Michael Brantley and Yuli Gurriel.
Diaz was traded from the Blue Jays to the Astros in exchange for Trent Thornton on Saturday, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca reports. Diaz appeared in 130 games for Toronto in 2018, slashing .263/.303/.453 while launching 18 home runs. He figures to serve as a utility infielder for the Astros during the upcoming campaign.
Diaz is out of the lineup for Friday's game agianst Tampa Bay, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca reports. Diaz will take a seat after starting the last three games and is slashing .308/.333/.538 in September. Yangervis Solarte will start at third base and bat seventh for the Blue Jays on Friday.
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