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Top Astros News
Astros' Jose Urquidy: Modifies delivery
Urquidy modified the movement of his glove this offseason to avoid tipping his pitches, Chandler Rome of The Athletic reports.
Urquidy believed he was tipping his pitches by the way he moved and squeezed his glove in his delivery during the 2023 season. In addition to correcting that issue, he also worked to strengthen his shoulder and lat after suffering an injury to those areas last year. Urquidy is projected to compete with J.P. France (shoulder) for the fifth starter role, and he could have an advantage with France currently sidelined.... See More ... See Less
Astros' Shawn Dubin: Nursing shoulder inflammation
Dubin will be shut down from throwing for three days because of right shoulder inflammation, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports.
Some early spring shoulder inflammation isn't uncommon, but it won't help his bid for a bullpen spot. Dubin allowed seven runs over nine innings while striking out 11 during his brief time with the Astros last season.... See More ... See Less
Astros' Chris Gittens: Getting knee examined
Gittens has been sent to Houston to have his right knee injury examined, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports.
The Astros believe Gittens could be dealing with a meniscus or patella injury but will know more after the test results are in. Gittens is in camp as a non-roster invitee, and any chance he might have had to make the Opening Day roster probably just went out the window.... See More ... See Less
Astros' Justin Verlander: Will up throwing intensity Tuesday
Verlander (shoulder) will ramp up the intensity of his throwing during a bullpen session Tuesday, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports.
Verlander has thrown a few low-intensity bullpen sessions consisting of fastballs and has thus far come out of them well during spring training. The veteran right-hander is being ramped up slowly this spring after his right shoulder didn't bounce back well during his offseason throwing program. Verlander and the Astros aren't ruling him out from being ready for the start of the season, but the window is tight.... See More ... See Less
Astros' Quincy Hamilton: Healthy for spring training
Hamilton (core muscle) is listed as an available bench player for Monday's Grapefruit League game against the Tigers, Matt Kawahara of the Houston Chronicle reports.
Hamilton didn't make any appearances in the minors after July 25 last season upon undergoing bilateral core-muscle surgery, but he looks to be back in full health as he gears up for the 2024 campaign. The 25-year-old outfielder has already appeared in two spring training games, going 0-for-3 with a walk, a run and a stolen base. Hamilton isn't on the Astros' 40-man roster and is expected to open the 2024 season at Triple-A Sugar Land.... See More ... See Less
Astros' Oliver Ortega: Making spring debut
Ortega (back) is scheduled to make a relief appearance Monday in the Astros' Grapefruit League game against the Tigers, Chris McCosky of The Detroit News reports.
Ortega will be making his spring debut in the Astros' fourth Grapefruit League game, an indication that he's fully healthy after he spent the final five weeks of the 2023 season on the Twins' injured list with a left lumbar strain. Claimed off waivers by Houston in the offseason, Ortega will look to impress in spring training as he aims to secure a spot in the Astros' Opening Day bullpen.... See More ... See Less
Astros' Kyle Tucker: Poised to bat cleanup
Astros manager Joe Espada said Sunday his ideal lineup has Tucker hitting cleanup, Chandler Rome of The Athletic reports.
Tucker has primarily hit fifth or sixth in his big-league career, though he split his time evenly between the Nos. 3, 4 and 5 spots last season. The 27-year-old has been one of the most consistent offensive producers in baseball and hit .284 with 29 homers, 112 RBI, 97 runs and 30 steals in 2023, and he's set up for another big year while batting behind Jose Altuve, Yordan Alvarez and Alex Bregman.... See More ... See Less
Astros' Yordan Alvarez: Set to bat second
Manager Joe Espada said Sunday that he plans to bat Alvarez second this season, Chandler Rome of The Athletic reports.
Alvarez mostly hit out of the No. 3 hole last season and also has plenty of experience as Houston's cleanup hitter, but the new skipper wants to move him up the lineup. The change shouldn't significantly alter the slugger's run production but should benefit fantasy managers as it will lead to more plate appearances over the course of a full season.... See More ... See Less
Astros' Forrest Whitley: Shut down for one week
Manager Joe Espada said Sunday that Whitley (finger) has reduced inflammation but won't throw for the next week, Chandler Rome of The Athletic reports.
The right-hander was scratched from his bullpen session Saturday due to the right middle finger injury, and he'll be shut down for a week as a result. Whitley will need to ramp things back up after the shutdown period, so he likely won't be game-ready until at least mid-March.... See More ... See Less
Astros' Chas McCormick: Slated to be everyday player
McCormick is expected to be an everyday player in 2024, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports.
McCormick had a breakout season in 2023, posting a 133 wRC+ and .362 wOBA to go along with 22 home runs and 19 stolen bases. However, he was limited to only 457 plate appearances, in part because former manager Dusty Baker wanted to get Mauricio Dubon in the lineup regularly. That appears to be poised to change in 2024, with new manager Joe Espada voicing his support of McCormick as an everyday player.... See More ... See Less
Astros' Forrest Whitley: Injury not expected to be serious
Astros manager Joe Espada said Saturday that Whitley's right middle finger injury "doesn't look like it's something significant," Matt Kawahara of the Houston Chronicle reports.
Whitley wasn't able to throw a scheduled bullpen session Saturday because of soreness in the finger. He's been sent for testing, but the expectation seems to be that this won't be a long-term absence. Injuries are unfortunately nothing new for Whitley, who was limited to just 30 innings in 2023 with a lat strain.... See More ... See Less
Astros' Forrest Whitley: Scratched from bullpen session
Whitley did not participate in his scheduled bullpen session Saturday due to middle finger soreness, Matt Kawahara of the Houston Chronicle reports.
Whitley experienced soreness when warming up for his bullpen session and will be evaluated by doctors. An extended absence could severely impact his chances of landing a relief spot with the Astros to start the season. Whitley appeared in eight Triple-A games in 2023 and registered a 1-2 record with a 5.70 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and a 32:17 K:BB over 30 innings.... See More ... See Less
Astros' Justin Verlander: Manager encouraged with progress
Astros manager Joe Espada said Thursday that he's "encouraged" with Verlander's (shoulder) progress, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports.
Verlander threw another bullpen session Wednesday and evidently bounced back well a day later. The 41-year-old is being slow-played this spring after having what he described as a "hiccup" with his right shoulder during his offseason throwing program. Verlander's readiness for Grapefruit League games and Opening Day remains unclear, but he's trending in the right direction.... See More ... See Less
Astros' Cristian Javier: Trims down 15 pounds
Javier told reporters Thursday that he lost 15 pounds over the offseason, Chandler Rome of The Athletic reports.
Javier believes the added weight last season contributed to his mechanical issues and inconsistency. His ERA went from 2.54 to 4.56 and strikeout rate from 33.2 percent to 23.1 percent year-over-year. Javier hopes that by trimming down over the winter he can better lock in his mechanics and get back to what made him a breakout performer in 2022.... See More ... See Less
Astros' J.P. France: Throws off mound
France (shoulder) threw off a mound Wednesday, Matt Kawahara of the Houston Chronicle reports.
The right-hander reported to camp with some inflammation in his shoulder and was initially limited to throwing on flat ground. He has since progressed to mound work, and France said Thursday that all went well. While it may be a while before we see him in Grapefruit League games, France has a realistic shot to be ready for Opening Day, barring a setback.... See More ... See Less
Astros' Jeremy Pena: Has new stance
Pena overhauled his batting stance during the offseason, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports.
Pena was essentially a league-average hitter in many aspects last season, but he posted just a .118 ISO across 634 plate appearances. To unlock more power in 2024, he reworked his stance to minimize movement while focusing on driving balls to all areas of the field. Manager Joe Espada has noted early in spring training that Pena looks more athletic and comfortable in the box while lifting the ball more. The latter will be a key to his potential jump in home runs, as he has only a 29.5 flyball percentage across 1,192 career plate appearances.... See More ... See Less
Astros' Kyle Tucker: No firm extension offers
Tucker said Monday regarding a potential contact extension with the Astros that there's been "maybe a little talk, but not a hard offer," Chandler Rome of The Athletic reports.
Tucker will earn $12 million in 2024 and has one additional year of arbitration eligibility remaining before free agency. General manager Dana Brown went on record last week saying that the team would make Tucker a long-term contract offer at some point, but it does not appear to have happened yet. Tucker slashed .284/.369/.517 with 29 homers and 112 RBI for Houston in 2023.... See More ... See Less
Astros' Justin Verlander: No issues after throwing session
Astros manager Joe Espada said Friday that Verlander's (shoulder) arm is feeling good following Thursday's bullpen session, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports.
The pitcher looked to be throwing at less than 100 percent effort in the session, but it's nonetheless a positive development that he experienced no issues a day later. By Verlander's own tally, it was the fourth time he's thrown off a mound since an offseason "hiccup" with his shoulder. It's unclear when the veteran right-hander might be ready for Grapefruit League action.... See More ... See Less
Astros' Brandon Bielak: Could be headed for rotation
Bielak could be in consideration for a rotation spot to begin the regular season, Chandler Rome of The Athletic reports.
The Astros were hit with injuries to both Justin Verlander (shoulder) and J.P. France (shoulder) to start spring training. Depending on their availability to begin the regular season, Houston could immediately be reliant upon depth in their pitching staff. Bielak would likely be at the top of the list, as he made 13 major-league starts last season and is also out of minor-league options.... See More ... See Less
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