J.A. Happ scratched from Sunday start with oblique injury

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According to Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle, the Astros have scratched J.A. Happ from his scheduled start against the Phillies tomorrow with an oblique injury.

Happ was pulled from Tuesday’s start against the Astros’ Triple-A team with a strained right oblique. It’s really not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, since he’ll only be pushed back to face the Reds on Tuesday, but Happ was originally scheduled to pitch opposite Roy Oswalt, the man he was traded for last July.

Still, as Astros manager Brad Mills explained to Levine, they just didn’t want to take any chances with the 28-year-old southpaw.

“The more we thought about it and talked about it, we wanted to give him a couple more days,” Mills said. “I know that he used to be a Phillie and he’s got a lot of excitement about throwing against his old teammates, but the smart thing was to give him a couple more days to try to heal that thing.”

“If something was to happen tomorrow, I wouldn’t forgive myself.”

Bud Norris will get the nod tomorrow, instead.

Henderson Alvarez signs with Tigres de Quintana Roo

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Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.

The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.

That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.