It is hard to ask for a better debut than the one Dexter Fowler had to start his Astros’ career and also 2014. Both on and off the field, Fowler wasted no time fitting in.
Fowler had six hits in 12 at bats while scoring five runs and giving Houston the top of the order threat they have been lacking. But on Friday against the Yankees, the outfielder was in the hospital instead of standing in center field. Fowler had taken ill from a stomach virus, which just simply knocked him out. And, over the past two games, his presence was sorely missed.
“He was off to a great start, and we like having that guy at the top of the lineup and manning center field,” Porter said. “Not only that, the energy he brings to the ballclub off the field as well is missed in all those areas.”
The outfielder is now out of the hospital, but his status for Tuesday’s game in Toronto is still unclear. This is not a situation that should be rushed, it is a long season, and Fowler’s health is most important.
“When you start talking about a virus running through your body, it takes time,” he said. “We don’t know how much longer it’s going to be. We know the doctors are treating him and we’ll see how the rest of [Sunday] goes.”
It has been a while since Jesse Crain has pitched, but it looks like he will return in May. In his recovery from biceps tendinitis surgery, the reliever has begun to throw off the mound, and it looks like he is about a week away from some game action. The Astros have been taking it slow with Crain, because when he does return, he will be counted on to play a vital role in the bullpen.
“I consider a bullpen actually pitching and throwing breaking pitches,” he said. “That’s why I’m saying the things I’ve done are just throwing off the mound. The more I get a feel for it, I’ll see if I can get through it. A bullpen is where I’m pitching and letting the ball go and throwing it where I want to throw it and throwing breaking balls and all that.”
One thing we don’t have to worry about is Jason Castro. After being hit by two pitches on Thursday and leaving the game with an ankle contusion, the catcher returned on Sunday and hit a home run in his first at bat.