Astros’ minor league catching runs thin due to injuries

Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports /

Although the Houston Astros demolished the Seattle Mariners on Friday, their minor-league catching room has started to look desolate. The active roster saw a lineup shuffle late into the ballgame, which had me thinking about what position players are in line to be promoted with the expanded rosters in September?

Well, there are two options: Robel Garcia and Garrett Stubbs, who exited Thursday’s game in Triple-A with a right ankle sprain. The left-handed hitter hasn’t been placed on the 7-day injured list, but the options are limited to replace Stubbs in Triple-A, if his injury is serious.

The Astros will add another position player in September, and with Garrett Stubbs first in line, what other catchers see a promotion?

The Astros traded away catcher Lorenzo Quintana to the Miami Marlins back in June, as the aging right-hander looked to be in the way. The team’s return was in line for cash considerations or a player to be named later, as nothing more was reported on the move.

Quintana is now 32-years-old and hasn’t made his major-league debut yet, while also looking to versatility to make it to the show. If he wasn’t on the move by now, then it made sense to cut ties with the right-hander. This didn’t lead to any huge promotion, as Korey Lee stood in High-A, but the top prospect is now on the 7-day IL with a minor oblique strain.

Lee hasn’t returned to the Double-A roster yet, but his catching mate, Scott Manea, is in the same boat while hitting the 7-day IL with an undisclosed injury. The two don’t have timetables set for their returns, while the catching depth looks thin down to the wire for the minor-league season.

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Stubbs will be promoted in September, if his injury permits it. This is inevitable, but who is line for a Triple-A promotion with injuries targeting the players next in line? The Corpus Christi Hooks currently roster Alex Holderbach, recently promoted in response to injury, and Cesar Salazar, who has slashed a .944 OPS since his July 19 promotion.

The Sugar Land Skeeters stand with Michael Papierski and Colton Shaver, who doesn’t catch consistently. Doubleheaders and long games are common in Triple-A, so the Skeeters will see a promotion in September, but the question is how injuries will affect it? With Stubbs not hitting the IL and Lee’s injury being “minor,” we can possibly anticipate to see Lee test the waters in Triple-A in September.

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The Astros look to keep their win streak alive on Saturday at 3:10 p.m. with Jake Odorizzi countering right-hander Logan Gilbert. The team will also be without right-hander Rafael Montero for an indefinite period of time, as he still hasn’t thrown since sustaining his shoulder injury. Also, Alex Bregman returned to Sugar Land to start his second rehab assignment on Friday, while launching a home run.