As we enter the 2014 season’s first weekend, here are the latest notes regarding the teams in the American League’s West division.
Dexter Fowler sick: The Astros best hitter so far in the season missed last night’s game against the Angels due to a stomach virus. It is expected that he will miss today’s game as well. Fowler, one of the new members of the team, hit .500 through the first three games of the season. Fowler spent the beginning of his career with the Colorado Rockies and hit a career-high .300 in 2012. The 28-year old center fielder was acquired by Houston in a trade with the Rockies in December.
Jason Castro sits out Friday: The Astros starting catcher missed Friday’s action because of a sore foot after getting hit by a pitch in Thursday’s game against the Yankees. According to MLB.com’s Gene Duffey, Castro wore a boot on the foot yesterday just as a precautionary measure. Carlos Corporan took over catcher duties for the Astros on Friday. The emergency catcher is outfielder and first baseman Marc Krauss who says he hasn’t caught since high school.
Second postponed game of season for A’s: In a bizarre episode, the A’s and Mariners had to postpone their game Friday night due to soggy field conditions following rain on Friday. The A’s reportedly received advice from a weatherman that they should leave the field uncovered on Thursday so that the field could dry from the rain earlier in the week. It rained more than they were expecting and the field was deemed unplayable on Friday. The two teams opted not to play a doubleheader this weekend and will instead reschedule the game for later in the season.
Cook and Gentry to return soon from D.L.: Manager Bob Melvin announced on Friday that reliever Ryan Cook (shoulder) and outfielder Craig Gentry (back) will be returning soon. MLB.com’s Alex Espinoza reports that Cook had a good rehab outing in Class-A Advanced Stockton and will likely return early this week. Gentry who is just coming back from paternity leave, will likely have one or two more rehab starts before he returns to the big-league club.
Baylor discharged from hospital: Angels hitting coach Don Baylor is home and recovering following a five-hour surgery on his broken femur which occurred catching the first pitch from Vladimir Guerrero on Opening Day on Monday. MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez reports that twelve weeks is the expected recovery time for that type of injury.
Halos get first win of the year: The Angels pounded the Astros last night 11-1 to win their first game of the 2014 season. Mike Trout, Josh Hamilton, and Kole Calhoun each homered in the win. Righty Garrett Richards earned his first win of the season as well. After hitting 1 for 19 with runners in scoring position in the first three games of the season, the Halos managed to go 4 for 10 Friday night.
Justin Smoak is on fire: During the Mariners first four games of the season, the most impressive member of the club has been first baseman Smoak. He is hitting .353 with 2 homers and 7 RBI. Last season he hitting .230 with runners in scoring position and in 2014 so far he is 2 for 4 with a double and a homer. The Mariners as a whole have been impressive winning 3 of their first 4 games and getting excellent starting pitching from their rotation.
Joe Saunders day-to-day after being struck by ball: Evan Longoria of the Rays smashed a ball that hit lefty Saunders in his left ankle Friday night. Saunders had to leave the game, but X-rays were negative.
Nick Martinez to major M.L. debut on Saturday: The rookie was named fifth starter at the end of Spring Training and is likely only going to get this start for now since Yu Darvish is expected to return to action tomorrow. Martinez pitched in five games in Double-A last year after pitching well in Single-A earlier in the year. MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan quoted Martinez on his big day:
“Fun day … I’m going to enjoy it all and take it all in. Good or bad, it will be a great learning experience. The nerves on the mound, I can’t wait for that, but I’m hoping I react the right way. This is something you dream about since you were a kid. I can’t wait to get out there.”
Marinez will be facing David Price and the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday.