Eyeing pennant, Astros could make additions

Houston might look into pitching market at Deadline

Eyeing pennant, Astros could make additions

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- The Astros figure to be in the market for a starting pitcher all season after their winter quest to land another starter, notably Jose Quintana of the White Sox, was fruitless because of their unwillingness to give up top prospects.

The pursuit of a starting pitcher would only intensify into the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline if any of their starters get injured. Dallas Keuchel missed the final month of last season with left shoulder inflammation, Lance McCullers Jr. sat out the final two months with a right elbow sprain and Charlie Morton made only four starts for the Phillies after tearing his left hamstring.

Continue Reading

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Musgrove solid after receiving good news

Right-hander made OD roster but was told to keep it a secret

Musgrove solid after receiving good news

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Astros pitcher Joe Musgrove was told by manager A.J. Hinch several days ago he had made the Opening Day roster for the first time in his career. Hinch instructed Musgrove to keep it quiet in the clubhouse, and the young right-hander passed the test.

Hinch announced early Sunday that Musgrove, 24, had made the rotation and will start the fourth game of the regular season April 6 against Seattle. Musgrove made his final start in Grapefruit League play in Sunday's 5-1 win over the Nationals at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches and allowed four hits and one run in five innings, throwing 79 pitches.

Continue Reading

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Astros go yard twice, while Musgrove sharp

Astros go yard twice, while Musgrove sharp

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Marwin Gonzalez and Jake Marisnick, Houston's Nos. 8 and 9 batters in the lineup, homered in successive innings to power the Astros past the Nationals, 5-1, Sunday afternoon at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.

The Astros broke a 1-1 tie with a four-run fourth inning off Nats starter Gio Gonzalez, who had given up just two runs in five previous outings combined. But on Sunday, the left-hander was stretched to 91 pitches (58 strikes) and allowed five runs on six hits over five innings. He struck out five and walked two.

Continue Reading

Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com. and covered the Nationals on Sunday.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hoyt, Gustave vying for final roster spot

With Musgrove making OD squad, relievers compete to lock up final slot in bullpen

Hoyt, Gustave vying for final roster spot

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- It's down to relievers James Hoyt and Jandel Gustave for the last spot on the Astros' Opening Day roster after manager A.J. Hinch on Sunday told starting pitcher Joe Musgrove he had made the team. He will start the fourth game of the season, April 6 against Seattle, and Mike Fiers will start the fifth game, April 7 against Kansas City, with Collin McHugh likely beginning the year on the disabled list.

With the 12 position players set and the rotation largely mapped out -- Dallas Keuchel will start Opening Day, April 3, against Seattle and Lance McCullers Jr. and Charlie Morton will start the second and third games of the season -- Gustave and Hoyt are battling for the final spot in the eight-man bullpen. 

Continue Reading

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Reddick gets his wish to face lefties

Reddick gets his wish to face lefties

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Astros outfielder Josh Reddick recently told manager A.J. Hinch he would like to get more at-bats against left-handed pitching in the final few days of camp, which is why he was in the lineup against Nationals left-handed starter Gio Gonzalez on Sunday.

Reddick, batting in the seventh spot, had two at-bats against Gonzalez, going 1-for-2 with an RBI in the Astros' 5-1 win.

Continue Reading

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Sipp could pitch Monday vs. Cards

Sipp could pitch Monday vs. Cards

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Veteran lefty reliever Tony Sipp, who was scratched from his Grapefruit League outing Saturday because of back stiffness, could pitch again Monday, manager A.J. Hinch said Sunday. Hinch said Sipp was feeling better and that he would like to work him into the game against the Cardinals.

"Really, our innings were filled up [Sunday] anyway," he said. "We've mapped out the rest of the spring for all of our bullpen, so when something like this happens it's hard to re-insert somebody right away, so we took an extra day for precautionary reasons, but we're hopeful he's able to go tomorrow."

Continue Reading

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Todd Kalas honors famous father with home run call

|
Todd Kalas honors famous father with home run call

When your dad is a Hall of Fame baseball announcer, there's no better way to recognize his work and legacy than to be able to use one of his most famous home run calls while you're behind the mic.

Continue Reading on Cut4

McHugh will make Grapefruit League debut Monday

Right-hander is expected to begin season on disabled list

McHugh will make Grapefruit League debut Monday

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Right-hander Collin McHugh, who's been behind in his throwing program this spring after coming down with "dead arm" earlier in camp, will start Monday's game against the Cardinals, marking his first Grapefruit League start of the spring.

Astros manager A.J. Hinch doesn't believe McHugh will be ready to start the regular season, meaning he could be on the disabled list on Opening Day. That would mean both Mike Fiers and Joe Musgrove would make the rotation, but McHugh should only miss one or two turns through the rotation before he's ready, if he keeps progressing.

Continue Reading

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Altuve drives in run as McCullers struggles

Altuve drives in run as McCullers struggles

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Tanner Roark, making his first start since returning from the World Baseball Classic, held the Astros to one run and three hits and struck out five batters in 5 1/3 innings to lead the Nationals to a 4-1 win Saturday afternoon at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.

The Nationals built a 4-0 lead on the strength of a Jayson Werth sacrifice fly in the third inning and a three-run fourth, which included a two-run double by Daniel Murphy on the last pitch thrown by Astros starter Lance McCullers Jr. Murphy went 2-for-4 in what was also his first Grapefruit League start since returning from the Classic.

Continue Reading

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Correa, Beltran back after playing for Puerto Rico

Shortstop scratched Saturday but expected to play Sunday

Correa, Beltran back after playing for Puerto Rico

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Carlos Beltran shaved his blond beard, but Carlos Correa's bleach blond hair was still atop his head when he rejoined the Astros on Saturday morning. Both spent much of March playing in the World Baseball Classic for Puerto Rico, which lost to the United States in Wednesday's championship game.

The Puerto Ricans bleached their hair as a sign of solidarity, and Correa said he'll slowly trim his hair in the next few weeks as the color fades. Correa returned to camp battling an illness, though, which kept him out of the lineup Saturday against the Nationals.

Continue Reading

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Astros send four to Minor League camp

Prospects Fisher, Davis to remain but won't make club

Astros send four to Minor League camp

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Considering the Astros roster is nearly set a little more than a week out from the regular season, some of the team's end-of-camp roster moves are a mere formality. On Saturday, the Astros reassigned pitchers Tyson Perez and Jordan Jankowski and outfielders Jon Kemmer and Alejandro Garcia to Minor League camp. The Astros also gave lefty C.J. Riefenhauser his unconditional release.

None of those five players were candidates to make the team, and the moves leave the Astros with 34 players remaining in camp. Four other players -- catcher Juan Centeno, infielders Reid Brignac and J.D. Davis and outfielder Derek Fisher -- were told by manager A.J. Hinch they won't make the club, but will remain in camp. Centeno and Fisher will stay through the final Grapefruit League game on Wednesday, and Brignac and Davis will travel to Houston for next week's exhibitions.

Continue Reading

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Astros tab Keuchel for 3rd straight OD start

Astros tab Keuchel for 3rd straight OD start

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- In an announcement that came as no surprise, Astros manager A.J. Hinch said Friday former Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel will be the team's Opening Day starter April 3 against the Mariners in Houston. It will be his third consecutive Opening Day start.

Keuchel, who went 9-12 with a 4.55 ERA last year after his Cy Young season of 2015, battled shoulder discomfort all of last season and has looked strong this spring. Keuchel threw five innings Wednesday in his third start in Grapefruit League play, after which Hinch informed him he'd start the opener.

Continue Reading

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bregman proud to play for USA despite few ABs

Bregman proud to play for USA despite few ABs

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- While saying he had no regrets about agreeing to play for the United States in the World Baseball Classic, Astros third baseman Alex Bregman admitted he felt a little misled about how much he would play for Team USA, which beat Puerto Rico for the championship on Wednesday.

Bregman played in only two games, making one start, for the U.S., going 2-for-4. Nolan Arenado of the Rockies got most of the playing time at third base, and Brandon Crawford of the Giants held down shortstop. Bregman was back in Astros camp on Friday and was in the starting lineup, going 0-for-3 in the 2-0 victory against the Mets.

Continue Reading

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Fisher steals three and Morton blanks Mets

Fisher steals three and Morton blanks Mets

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Derek Fisher stole three bases and scored the Astros' first run off Noah Syndergaard on Friday, leading Houston to a 2-0 win over the Mets at First Data Field.

Running at will against Syndergaard, who allowed the most stolen bases in Major League Baseball by a wide margin last season, Fisher singled and swiped his first two bags in the second inning. Then he singled again, stole second, took third on a wild pitch and scored on Reid Brignac's RBI single in the fifth.

Continue Reading

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gregerson, lucky eagle return to Astros

Gregerson, lucky eagle return to Astros

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- The eagle has landed.

The ceramic eagle that became the de facto mascot of the United States team that won the World Baseball Classic -- and had one if its wings clipped in the dogpile celebration Wednesday night -- was displayed proudly in the Astros' clubhouse at Ballpark of the Palm Beaches on Friday morning.

Continue Reading

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Photos: It's back to Spring Training for Team USA

|
Photos: It's back to Spring Training for Team USA

Team USA topped Puerto Rico for its first World Baseball Classic title on Wednesday night, but the players didn't get a lot of time to soak it in -- less than 48 hours later, they were back at Spring Training, with the Major League season just over a week away.

Still, "WBC '17 champion" is a pretty cool title to bring back to the clubhouse.

Continue Reading on Cut4

Davis not worrying about who's ahead of him

Astros' No. 13 prospect blocked at 3B by Bregman, may play 1B, OF at Triple-A

Davis not worrying about who's ahead of him

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Astros third baseman Alex Bregman could be on the verge of becoming a star. Colin Moran has had a terrific spring camp at the plate and figures to start at third base at Triple-A Fresno to begin the season.

J.D. Davis, ranked as the Astros' No. 13 prospect by MLBPipeline.com, doesn't need to be reminded of any of this. The Astros are stacked at the big league level and have built up talent at the upper levels of the Minor Leagues, too, making the track to the big leagues more difficult for promising prospects like Davis.

Continue Reading

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Correa, Beltran among All-Classic Team standouts

Along with Hosmer, pair selected unanimously to field of 12 honorees

Correa, Beltran among All-Classic Team standouts

Following a thrilling World Baseball Classic that culminated in the United States winning its first title thanks to Wednesday's 8-0 win over Puerto Rico, World Baseball Classic, Inc. (WBCI) announced the All-World Baseball Classic Team.

From the champions, tournament Most Valuable Player Marcus Stroman of the Blue Jays (2.35 ERA, six-plus scoreless innings in final), Eric Hosmer of the Royals (unanimous choice) and Christian Yelich of the Marlins were selected. Stroman, as WBC 2017 MVP, joined Japan's Daisuke Matsuzaka ('06 and '09) and the Dominican Republic's Robinson Cano ('13) as MVPs in Classic history.

Continue Reading

Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Springer, Gurriel power Astros; Keuchel sound

Springer, Gurriel power Astros; Keuchel sound

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- George Springer and Yulieski Gurriel blasted first-inning homers, and Dallas Keuchel allowed two runs and five hits in five innings to lead the Astros to an 8-4 win over the Twins on Wednesday afternoon at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.

Springer crushed the first pitch of the game thrown by Twins starter Phil Hughes and launched it over the wall in right field for his first homer of the spring. Gurriel followed one-out singles by Jose Altuve and Brian McCann later in the inning with a three-run blast to make it 4-0.

Continue Reading

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Davis among top prospect performers

Davis among top prospect performers

J.D. Davis is heating up at the perfect time. As the season draws near, hits are coming in bunches for the Astros' No. 13 prospect.

The 23-year-old third baseman went 3-for-4, his first three-hit game of Spring Training, in Houston's 8-4 win over the Twins on Wednesday.

Continue Reading

William Boor is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Astros 'appreciate greatness' in Ryan

In camp for a few days, Hall of Famer addresses starting pitchers

Astros 'appreciate greatness' in Ryan

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- When Nolan Ryan talks, you listen. That's why Astros manager A.J. Hinch had the Hall of Fame pitcher and Astros executive advisor address a group of starting pitchers Wednesday morning before their 8-4 win against the Twins, where the message was about preparation.

Ryan, whose son Reid is the Astros' president of business operations, has been in camp for a few days. Among the pitchers who participated were Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers Jr., Charlie Morton, Collin McHugh, Joe Musgrove, Mike Fiers and Brad Peacock.

Continue Reading

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

This fan in a Nolan Ryan jersey sat next to Ryan

|
This fan in a Nolan Ryan jersey sat next to Ryan

In 1995, Joan Osborne asked us, "What if God was one of us? Just a slob like one of us? Just a stranger on the bus, trying to make his way home." 

For many Texas baseball fans, she may as well have been asking about Hall of Famer and all-time strikeout leader, Nolan Ryan. With the Ryan Express at Astros camp on Wednesday, MLB.com's Brian McTaggart spotted one fan wearing Ryan's rainbow-colored Astros uniform that was faced with the most metaphysical of questions.

Continue Reading on Cut4

Gurriel, Fisher HRs back Fiers vs. Miami

Gurriel, Fisher HRs back Fiers vs. Miami

JUPITER, Fla. -- Solo home runs from Yulieski Gurriel and Derek Fisher propelled the Astros to a 2-1 win over the Marlins on Tuesday afternoon at Roger Dean Stadium.

Mike Fiers, who dealt with a mild right hamstring strain earlier in camp, made his first start since March 5. The Astros' right-hander, competing for the fifth rotation spot, threw four scoreless innings, striking out five.

Continue Reading

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Roster moves a signal of depth for Astros

White, Moran, Reed, Hernandez optioned after debuting in bigs last year

Roster moves a signal of depth for Astros

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Infielders Tyler White and Colin Moran, first baseman A.J. Reed and outfielder Teoscar Hernandez -- all of whom made their Major League debuts last year -- were optioned to Minor League camp Tuesday in the Astros' latest round of roster cuts.

None of the four were expected to make the club, because the Astros are going to carry 13 pitchers -- 12 position players -- but they will provide experienced depth at Triple-A Fresno this year. General manager Jeff Luhnow said it's a signal the organization has taken a big step forward to have that kind of talent at the ready at Triple-A.

Continue Reading

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Astros expect OD feel for lineup post-Classic

Houston looks to have players participating in WBC '17 back in camp Friday

Astros expect OD feel for lineup post-Classic

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- The Astros still had five players participating in the World Baseball Classic heading into Tuesday night's semifinal between the United States and Japan after Puerto Rico punched its ticket to Wednesday's championship game with a thrilling win over the Netherlands on Monday.

Houston manager A.J. Hinch said Tuesday that he expects all five players -- designated hitter Carlos Beltran (Puerto Rico), shortstop Carlos Correa (Puerto Rico), third baseman Alex Bregman (United States), reliever Luke Gregerson (United States) and outfielder Norichika Aoki (Japan) -- to travel back to Florida on Friday. With all the position players in camp, Saturday's lineup against the Nationals should have an Opening Day feel for the Astros.

Continue Reading

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Correa crushes HR, sparks PR to WBC '17 final

Astros' star hits 441-foot blast, dazzles at third base

Correa crushes HR, sparks PR to WBC '17 final

Carlos Correa showed again on Monday night why he is one of the brightest young stars in baseball, and it only took him two innings at Dodger Stadium. The 22-year-old Astros shortstop, playing third base for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic, homered and made a spectacular defensive play in his team's 4-3 victory in 11 innings over the Netherlands.

With Francisco Lindor on second and one out in the bottom of the first, Correa launched a 1-2 curveball from Dutch starter Rick Van Den Hurk into the left-center-field bleachers to tie the score at 2. The 441-foot blast was Puerto Rico's answer to Wladimir Balentien's 422-foot shot to nearly the same location in the top of the inning.

Continue Reading

Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Altuve set to see plenty of action with Astros

All-Star second baseman returns from World Baseball Classic

Altuve set to see plenty of action with Astros

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Get ready for a steady diet of Jose Altuve.

Altuve, who rejoined the Astros on Monday for the first time in two weeks following Team Venezuela's elimination from the World Baseball Classic, was in the lineup at second base and went 0-for-4 in a 12-6 loss to the Cardinals at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.

Continue Reading

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.