Mike Trout

Mike Trout will have to force the issue in order to stick around


Make no mistake: the Angels are looking at Friday’s promotion of top prospect Mike Trout to the majors as a short-term fix.  The plan is for the 19-year-old to help out this weekend and then return to the minors if the hamstring injury suffered by Peter Bourjos last night proves as minor as hoped.

The only way for Trout to change that is to have the weekend of his life and to convince the Halos that they’re much better off with him than they would be without.  Trout possesses that kind of talent; he’s hit .324/.415/.534 as a 19-year-old in Double-A.

Still, it’s going to be a tough sell.  Bourjos is the Angels’ lone outfielder not making a boatload of money, and he’s exceeded expectations offensively this season while playing center as well as anyone in the majors.  Vernon Wells and Torii Hunter have both been big disappointments, but Wells finally found his stroke last month and it’s hard to imagine the Angels sending Hunter to the bench.

There is one route the Angels could go, but it’d be a big risk: they could release Bobby Abreu.  Abreu is getting on base 40-percent of the time as the team’s primary DH, but he has just three homers and 35 RBI in 85 games.  Of course, he’s been more productive than Wells or Hunter, but unlike those two, he has no defensive value at all.

Still, the real reason for the Angels to consider releasing him is that he’s 74 plate appearances away from having his $9 million option for next season vest.

If the Angels did cut him, they’d most likely face a grievance and it’s possible they’d end up paying him that $9 million anyway.

Plus, Abreu still has value, even if he’s not worth $9 million per year anymore.

So, Abreu will likely stick and Trout will probably head back to the minors next week and stay there until Sept. 1 or one of the aforementioned players lands on the DL.

But it would be fun to see him force the issue.

ALDS, Game 1: Rangers vs. Blue Jays lineups

Toronto Blue Jays' starting pitcher David Price works against the Baltimore Orioles during first inning of a baseball game in Toronto, Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015. (Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT

Here are the Rangers and Blue Jays lineups for Game 1 of the ALDS in Toronto:

CF Delino DeShields
RF Shin-Soo Choo
3B Adrian Beltre
DH Prince Fielder
1B Mike Napoli
LF Josh Hamilton
SS Elvis Andrus
2B Rougned Odor
C Robinson Chirinos

SP Yovani Gallardo

With left-hander David Price on the mound for Toronto the Rangers are going with Mike Napoli at first base over Mitch Moreland. Beyond that it’s a pretty standard lineup for Texas, or at least standard for what manager Jeff Banister used down the stretch once Josh Hamilton was healthy enough to play left field.

LF Ben Revere
3B Josh Donaldson
RF Jose Bautista
DH Edwin Encarnacion
SS Troy Tulowitzki
1B Justin Smoak
C Russell Martin
2B Ryan Goins
CF Kevin Pillar

SP David Price

After returning from the disabled list for the final weekend of the regular season Troy Tulowitzki is in the lineup and batting fifth. That allows Ryan Goins to play second base in place of the injured Devon Travis. Justin Smoak gets the nod over Chris Colabello at first base against a right-hander.

Astros leave Chad Qualls off playoff roster, add Preston Tucker

Chad Qualls Getty
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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.