They’re not worried about his bat or his glove or his chi or anything like that. Just his health, as he has taken a lot of foul tips to the cabeza lately:
“He’s taken more than I’ve ever seen,” said manager Bruce Bochy, a catcher himself during his playing days with the Astros, Mets and Padres. “He’s getting enough shots that are hitting him pretty good that I’ve got concern.”
So what to do about that concern? One thing Bochy is suggesting is maybe Posey using a different mask, though it’s unclear whether the hockey mask he uses now is any worse than the traditional catcher’s mask when it comes to foul tip protection.
How about a position switch? Andrew Baggarly says in the article that that’s not so easy, what with Pablo Sandoval at third, Aubrey Huff at first and Brandon Belt waiting in the wings to take first base over when Huff is gone.
Maybe I’m just being dense here, but Belt has played in 29 games at AAA since being sent down and he has played the outfield in at least 24 of them. Think maybe that Buster Posey could handle first base then? Or, given how strong his arm is and the fact that he once was an infielder and is a pretty good overall athlete that he could maybe handle right field?
Houston made one unexpected change to the roster for the ALDS, leaving off veteran reliever Chad Qualls.
Qualls warmed up but never appeared in the Wild Card game win over the Yankees and during the regular season the 36-year-old right-hander logged 49 innings with a 4.38 ERA and 46/9 K/BB ratio. Qualls was on the Astros’ last playoff team in 2005.
Utility man Jonathan Villar has been bumped off the roster in favor of outfielder Preston Tucker, as the Astros opted for a good left-handed bat off the bench versus the Royals rather than Villar’s speed.
It’s been a tough season for the mythology of Jonny Gomes‘ veteran clubhouse savior reputation.
First he signed with the rebuilding Braves and performed poorly while Atlanta fell apart after a surprisingly decent start. Then he was traded to the Royals, for whom he played just 12 games and hit .167. And now Kansas City has left Gomes off the ALDS roster.
It makes sense, though. Gomes’ only real use to the Royals would be as a pinch-hitter versus left-handed pitching, but manager Ned Yost rarely pinch-hits and will no doubt be more willing to use 25th man Terrance Gore as a pinch-runner in the late innings.
Beyond that, not many surprises on the Royals’ roster for their series against the Astros. They went with 11 pitchers, which means both Chris Young and Kris Medlen are on the roster. Jeremy Guthrie is not.