Astros’ Martin Maldonado reaches service time feat

Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports /

Last season, a top-five Houston Astros player of all-time — Jose Altuve — eclipsed 10 years of service time in Major League Baseball. On Friday, Martin Maldonado joined the service time club, reaching 10 years with the team he has two stints with.

Maldonado has played for five different teams, accounting for five seasons with the Astros. His longest stint with a franchise is six seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers. Over the last 12 years, Maldonado earned a Gold Glove at catcher in 2017 as well as the 2017 American League Defensive Player of the Year award.

While the 35-year-old is in his 12th major-league season, his service time correlates to being on the roster, so that is why the two numbers don’t match.

Astros’ catcher Martin Maldonado ropes a double in a memorable night.

Although sat down in the ninth inning for J.J. Matijevic, Maldonado was making strong contact at the plate Friday. The righty went 1-for-3 on the night with a double and two strikeouts. Toronto’s closer — Jordan Romano — is a righty, leading manager Dusty Baker to counter the matchup, even though Romano fares better against left-handed hitters (.476 career OPS).

The move was interesting, as Chas McCormick was also pinch-hit for by Jason Castro prior to Maldonado, but McCormick, who has had recent success, has a below-average OPS against right-handed pitching this season.

Many noted Baker’s decision to put the game in the hands of Matijevic, who was making his major-league debut, was not the main factor for the Astros’ loss Friday. The bats were still stale with runners in scoring position, as Tucker’s bad luck has limited his OPS almost south of .400.

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The Astros return to play 3:10 p.m. Saturday in their second contest with the Toronto Blue Jays. Jose Urquidy takes the mound against right-hander Alek Manoah.