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Astros' Framber Valdez: Wins bullpen job
Valdez will make the Astros' Opening Day bullpen, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports.
Valdez beat out Reymin Guduan as the Astros' only left-handed reliever. The 25-year-old started five games for Houston last season and relieved in three more, finishing with an impressive 2.19 ERA. His 4.65 FIP casts some doubt on that number, however, as he walked 15.6 percent of opposing batters, though he keeps the ball on the ground very well, generating a 70.3 percent groundball rate.... See More ... See Less
Astros' Reymin Guduan: Loses bullpen battle
Guduan was optioned to minor-league camp Saturday, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports.
Guduan seemed to have a decent shot to open in the big leagues as one of just two lefties in the Astros' pen, but the team will elect to go with Framber Valdez as the only southpaw. Guduan had a strong spring, allowing just two runs while posting a 13:2 K:BB in 9.2 innings, and he could still factor into the picture at some point this season.... See More ... See Less
Astros' Justin Verlander: Gets two-year extension
Verlander and the Astros agreed to terms Saturday on a two-year, $66 million contract extension, Mark Berman of Fox 26 News Houston reports.
Reports surfaced within the past few days that both player and team were eager to work out an extension prior to the season, and it didn't take long for a new deal to materialize. The extension now keeps Verlander in the fold through 2021, his age-38 season. After his career had been trending downward during his final years in Detroit, Verlander has re-emerged as a top-flight ace since joining Houston in August 2017. Verlander was instrumental in the Astros' run to their first World Series title that year and enjoyed arguably the best season of his career in 2018, churning out a 2.52 ERA, 0.90 WHIP and 290:37 K:BB in 214 innings. His advanced age aside, Verlander's underlying metrics suggest no major decline should be in the forecast for 2019.... See More ... See Less
Astros' Yuli Gurriel: Finishing spring as it started
Gurriel went 1-for-2 with a solo home run and a walk in Friday's game against the Mets.
The homer was Gurriel's first of what has been a stellar spring. He started out hot and hasn't let up, posting a .371 average and 1.036 OPS over 35 at-bats. Manager AJ Hinch plans to move him around the infield, much as did last season, so Gurriel may bring position versatility to fantasy lineups. His bat doesn't profile as powerful as a traditional corner infielder, but he'll be helpful for roster construction if he's qualified at middle infield (15 starts at 2B in 2018).... See More ... See Less
Astros' Wade Miley: Named fourth starter
Miley will start the fourth game of the season, April 1, against the Rays, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports.
Manager AJ Hinch finalized his rotation Friday, declaring Collin McHugh, Miley and Brad Peacock will follow Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole. The left-handed Miley has a 2.12 ERA over 17 spring innings and will benefit pitching in front of a talented offensive lineup.... See More ... See Less
Astros' AJ Reed: Sent to Triple-A
Reed was optioned to Triple-A on Friday, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports.
Reed was always a long shot to break camp with the Astros, and he didn't help his case by hitting .167/.250/.333 with 14 strikeouts in 30 at-bats this spring. The 25-year-old has no clear path to playing time in Houston, so he'll continue to toil away in the minors for the time being.... See More ... See Less
Astros' Framber Valdez: Still in mix for bullpen gig
Valdez is competing with Reymin Guduan for Houston's final bullpen spot, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports.
Valdez was competing with Brad Peacock for the team's final rotation spot, but Peacock prevailed, leaving Valdez to fight for a spot on the Opening Day roster as a reliever. The southpaw owns a fine 3.52 ERA through 15.1 innings this spring, while Guduan owns a 1.86 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and 13:2 K:BB through 9.2 innings.... See More ... See Less
Astros' Brad Peacock: Earns rotation spot
Peacock beat out Framber Valdez for the Astros' final rotation spot, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports.
This doesn't come as much of a surprise, as manager AJ Hinch said earlier in the week that Peacock was the leading candidate to open the season as Houston's fifth starter. The right-hander posted a 2.76 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 14:2 K:BB through 16.1 innings this spring.... See More ... See Less
Astros' Yordan Alvarez: Out due to miscommunication
Alvarez was scratched from Thursday's game against the Tigers due to a miscommunication, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports.
Alvarez was recently reassigned to minor-league camp and it apparently wasn't communicated to him that he would be making the trip to Lakeland on Thursday. The 21-year-old should resume his usual spring routine following the mishap.... See More ... See Less
Astros' Drew Ferguson: Returns to Astros
Ferguson cleared waivers Friday and was returned to the Astros, Maria I. Guardado of MLB.com reports.
Ferguson was selected in the Rule 5 draft this offseason but was designated for assignment by the Giants on Thursday. The 26-year-old endured a rough spring training with a .111/.294/.111 slash line, four stolen bases and six walks through 20 games. Ferguson should return to Triple-A, where he slashed .305/.436/.429 over 65 games in 2019.... See More ... See Less
Astros' Tony Kemp: Capping off nice spring
Kemp went 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI in Thursday's game against the Tigers.
Kemp has been locked in during spring training, posting a .992 OPS with four stolen bases. He's going to start the season on the bench, but if he's making this type of impact, Kemp could get starts at designated hitter. Tyler White will open the season as the primary DH, but manager AJ Hinch said he'll rotate bodies at the position.... See More ... See Less
Astros' Derek Fisher: Fine after early exit
Fisher (shoulder) is fine after leaving Thursday's spring action early after making a diving attempt in the field, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports.
Fisher jarred his left shoulder while trying to make a diving catch to rob Miguel Cabrera on Thursday. Taken out as a precaution, Fisher said he did some light tests and that he felt OK. He was optioned to minor-league camp Tuesday, but went 12-for-40 with two doubles, two homers and six RBI prior to the move.... See More ... See Less
Astros' Derek Fisher: Considered day-to-day
Fisher is day-to-day with a shoulder injury and will be reassessed Friday, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports.
Fisher left Thursday's game with a shoulder injury after attempting a diving catch. He appeared to be in some pain, though the team called his removal precautionary. More clarity should emerge after further tests.... See More ... See Less
Astros' Yordan Alvarez: Scratched from lineup
Alvarez was scratched from the lineup for Thursday's game against the Tigers for unknown reasons, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports.
The Astros did not disclose why Alvarez didn't make the trip to Lakeland, though they did say the issue was neither disciplinary nor injury-related. It's unknown how long he'll be out.... See More ... See Less
Astros' Derek Fisher: Exits with shoulder injury
Fisher exited Thursday's spring game with an apparent shoulder injury, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports.
Fisher suffered the injury attempting to make a diving catch in the first inning. The outfielder looked to be in a good amount of pain and was immediately removed from the game, heading straight to the clubhouse with a trainer.... See More ... See Less
Astros' Collin McHugh: Throws sim game
McHugh threw 65 to 70 pitches in a simulated game Wednesday, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports.
McHugh, who is one start behind schedule due to back soreness earlier in camp, needs innings, and rain has impacted the team's pitching plans this week. The right-hander feels he can still get up to where he needs to be before the start of the regular season.... See More ... See Less
Astros' Michael Brantley: Will bat fourth against righties
Brantley batted fourth Wednesday in a lineup manager AJ Hinch said was a "pretty good example" of the batting order against right-handed starters, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports.
Brantley could knock in 100 runs hitting fourth with on-base machines Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman hitting in front of him. Hitting behind Brantley will be Carlos Correa, which is pretty good protection. This could be a big year for the 32-year-old outfielder.... See More ... See Less