The Houston Astros are 6-3 thus far this spring, and are just a game away from having the best record in the Grapefruit League, with Miami holding an 8-3 record. Asher Wojciechowski has yet to allow a run, making a strong case to be Houston’s fifth starter when the season begins.
Not all of the news that has come from Kissimmee has been good, however. As Jose de Jesus Ortiz reported Sunday, big-name acquisition Evan Gattis sat out against the Nationals with right wrist discomfort. Manager A.J. Hinch says in the article, “He’s fine, as far as I know,” which is moderately comforting. Hinch went on to say, “Again, this stuff happens in spring training. We’ll have to evaluate him and see how his swings are. He won’t play tomorrow and we’ll evaluate as the week goes.” This will be something we’ll have to keep an eye on. Gattis wasn’t brought in for his defense, so wrist issues could diminish his value to the team greatly if the problem persists.
On a less doom-and-gloom note, Brian McTaggart wrote about the Houston Astros basketball tournament yesterday afternoon. After pairing up some time ago, Sunday was the final for the shooting contest, and it was a pair of relievers, Joe Thatcher and Luke Gregerson, that took the crown, beating Chris Carter and L.J. Hoes. Thatcher, a lefty on the mound, has a “smooth lefty stroke” on the basketball court as well. While Thatcher and Gregerson won the tournament, it may have been Chad Qualls who had the most fun on the day, using an air horn while his Astros teammates were attempting to shoot.
Stephen Ruiz of the Orlando Sentinel caught up with Houston Astros reliever Chad Qualls, recounting the veteran’s travels around baseball. Entering his 12th season, he has played for eight different teams, and has played with two players in the 2015 Hall of Fame class in Craig Biggio and Randy Johnson.
Finally, Jayson Stark of ESPN gives his two cents on the power numbers the Houston Astros are projected to produce, as well as the team challenging the all-time single season strikeout record. Stark says in the piece that Evan Gattis is an expert witness to what the Astros are planning on this season, saying, “Two years ago, he played on a Braves team that led the National League in strikeouts but also finished first in home runs and fourth in runs scored. Then last year, he played on another Braves team that finished third in strikeouts but stopped hitting those home runs. So the Braves finished 11th in homers and next to last in runs scored — and dismantled much of their team in search of more contact this season.”
If you’ve missed any recent posts from the team here at Climbing Tal’s Hill, these will get you your fix of Astros baseball:
“Next Year” Coming to a Ballpark Near You – Andy Brown
Houston Astros Rotation Competition: Wojo Versus Straily – Jason Burke
More from Climbing Tal's Hill
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- Houston Astros: A Lineup Change to Spark Offense
- Astros prospect Hunter Brown throws 6 shutout innings in debut
- Always faithful Astros World Series champion Josh Reddick defends the title
- Michael Conforto declines Astros’ 2-year, $30 million offer