The Houston Astros offense has found itself with a nice platoon option with Robel Garcia and Abraham Toro, while both infielders are helping fill the void of Alex Bregman. We still don’t have a return date for the All-Star third baseman, but it does sound like it will be an extended stint on the injured list. As another option, Yuli Gurriel, who used to be a regular third baseman, has been pointed to as another possibility when building the lineup.
Before Saturday’s matchup, the Astros reinstated Francis Martes to the 40-man roster. The right-hander had been on the restricted list since 2020 due to a PED suspension, that looked to end his major league career. When you think of franchise let downs, Martes comes to mind, but while being in Triple-A with the Sugar Land Skeeters, he fills out the 40-man roster even after his option.
Manager Dusty Baker is hoping to have Martes ready to be a bullpen arm sooner rather than later, but with recent struggles before and after the suspension, how long will he stay on the 40-man roster? Kyle Tucker will soon be activated from the COVID-IL, which will require a corresponding 40-man move, so here are two possibilities worth exploring.
Francis Martes might not show much value right now, but here are three ways we could see him stick around.
Move Tyler Ivey or Kent Emanuel to 60-day IL
Both Tyler Ivey and Kent Emanuel have been shut down by their respected arm injuries this season. There is no possible way we see them pitch for the Astros again this season, so they will most likely fall to the 60-day injured list as corresponding moves.
While these two burn roster spots, it makes the most sense to bring Tucker back and move possibly Emanuel to the 60-day. There are already four pitchers (Emanuel, Ivey, Jairo Solis and Forrest Whitley) on the 40-man that we won’t see pitch for the Astros this season, so might as well open the seat there for Tucker.
Josh James, Pedro Baez and Austin Pruitt, who is on a rehab assignment, will all require moves back to the 40-man, so we could definitely see trades or DFAs in the near future.
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We haven’t seen anything from Pruitt yet, and while being the final acquisition under the Jeff Luhnow regime, James Click does have ties to the right-hander in Tampa Bay. He will most likely stick around for now.
Move Alex Bregman or Aledmys Diaz to 60-day IL
We don’t know much to anything about Bregman’s timetable, other than it will be “a while.” In addition to that, Aledmys Diaz’s injury has him out close to eight weeks, which would be nearing 60 days total since it occurred.
We know the Astros. We know they don’t share much on players’ healths, unless there is a definite prognosis. I am not going to speculate Bregman’s injury, but if either two will be out 60 days retroactive to their injuries, then they could help free open a roster spot now.
With the Chicago White Sox now losing the series with the Astros, they look to stop the sweep on Sunday at 1:10 p.m. with Dallas Keuchel on the bump against his “son,” Lance McCullers Jr.; a perfect return on Father’s Day.
Both pitchers have shown recent displeasures. With McCullers battling injuries, more recently with his finger, the right-hander hasn’t been pleased with the handling of pitchers using sticky stuff by MLB. While on the other hand, Keuchel is happy to be home but has also shown his disliking with former general manager Jeff Luhnow.