With stars on COVID list, Astros face hot Mariners

MLB

It’s not unusual for a team to turn over a fifth of its roster during the offseason.

But in one day?

That’s what hit the Houston Astros, as second baseman Jose Altuve, third baseman Alex Bregman, designated hitter Yordan Alvarez, catcher Martin Maldonado and utility infielder Robel Garcia were placed on the injured list Wednesday because of COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

The quintet might not be ready when the Astros visit American League West-leading Seattle for a three-game series that starts Friday night.

“We have to go forward with whoever’s here,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “You pick up the flag and you keep on persevering. It’s better it happens now than it happens later in the year. Out of adversity comes opportunity. It’s a time for some guys to shine.”

The Astros recalled infielder Taylor Jones, catcher Garrett Stubbs and infielder Abraham Toro from their alternate training site in Corpus Christi, Texas, and infielder Alex De Goti and outfielder Ronnie Dawson were called up to the 40-man roster.

“We recalled a few guys who have some big league experience, but we’re adding a couple of guys who are going to make their big league debuts,” Astros general manager James Click said of De Goti and Dawson. “That’s a special time, special moment for those guys.”

Dawson was in the lineup at designated hitter in Wednesday’s 6-4 loss to visiting Detroit, the Astros’ fifth consecutive defeat.

“It’s just a challenge for the rest of our guys to pick us up and get us back on the right track,” Click said. “We’ve obviously (struggled) a little bit in the past (few) games. When it rains, it pours. It’s a difficult situation but we can’t let that take our focus away from winning …”

Astros right-hander Jose Urquidy (0-1, 5.23 ERA) will get the task of trying to snap the skid Friday. The Mariners are scheduled to start left-hander Yusei Kikuchi (0-0, 3.75). Urquidy is 0-0 with a 2.25 ERA in one career appearance against Seattle; Kikuchi is 0-2 with a 6.46 ERA in five starts against the Astros.

The Mariners return home after a 5-2 trip to Minnesota and Baltimore. They swept a doubleheader against the Orioles on Thursday, 4-2 and 2-1, as Mitch Haniger homered in both games.

Haniger is hitting .321 with four homers and 10 RBIs.

“I feel good,” Haniger said. “Still working on some things to find that right timing with my hands, but it’s been good so far. For me, my swing is always kind of a work in progress. I’m just trying to swing at good pitches, and I’m happy with how the last couple days have went and we’ve just got to keep building off that.”

Haniger missed most of the past two seasons, including all of the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign, because of injuries.

“He’s a game-changer,” Mariners shortstop J.P. Crawford said of Haniger. “I’m happy he’s healthy, that’s the main thing. He’s healthy, he’s ready to go. And not even (just) on the offensive side, he’s an absolute weapon out there in right field, too — covering tons of ground, making diving plays every other day. You can’t teach that type of ballplayer. I’m happy he’s healthy, and I’m happy he’s back in our lineup.”

–Field Level Media

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Latest Local News

More Local News