Astros call up 5-foot-7 second baseman Jose Altuve

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The Astros likely got a little worse Tuesday with Jeff Keppinger’s departure, but they also got a little more interesting.

Jose Altuve is listed at 5-foot-7, but according to just about everyone who has seen him in person, he’s likely much closer to 5-foot-5.  And now he’s the game’s most compact major leaguer after being called up from Double-A to take over at second base.

Altuve was absolutely tearing it up in the minors this season.  He started out at Single-A Lancaster and batted .408/.451/.606 with five homers and 19 steals in what, admittedly, is a fantastic environment for hitters.  He hadn’t slowed too much following the move up to Double-A, though.  He was hitting .361/.388/.569 in 35 games for his new team.  Overall, he was at .389/.426/.591 with 10 homers and 24 steals in 357 at-bats.

The Astros are almost certainly rushing Altuve.  He’s just 21, and it’s not at all likely that he’s ready to hit for power in the majors.  Still, he’s the most intriguing position player they’ve developed since Hunter Pence, and given that the Astros are in need of a little excitement, it’s not too surprising that they chose to give him a look.

Jered Weaver dealing with “dead arm”

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Padres starter Jered Weaver lasted just two-thirds of an inning in Wednesday afternoon’s Cactus League appearance against the Royals. He yielded four runs on three hits, throwing 31 pitches before getting pulled. His spring ERA now sits at an ugly 10.13.

Weaver said he’s been dealing with a “dead arm” since his last bullpen session, but added he’s dealt with the issue in previous springs, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

The Padres signed Weaver to a one-year, $3 million contract last month. The right-hander is coming off of the worst season of his 11-year career. His fastball averaged a career-low 83 MPH and he put up a 5.06 ERA with a 103/51 K/BB ratio in 178 innings.

Ian Kinsler doesn’t think Puerto Rico or Dominican Republic players play the game the right way

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Update: Whoops…

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Earlier, Craig wrote about Dan Duquette’s dogwhistle language in his criticism of Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista. We have some more dogwhistling, this time coming from Tigers (and Team U.S.) second baseman Ian Kinsler. Via Billy Witz of The New York Times:

I hope kids watching the W.B.C. can watch the way we play the game and appreciate the way we play the game as opposed to the way Puerto Rico plays or the Dominican plays. That’s not taking anything away from them. That just wasn’t the way we were raised. They were raised differently and to show emotion and passion when you play. We do show emotion; we do show passion. But we just do it in a different way.

The goal of the World Baseball Classic, created by Major League Baseball, is to promote baseball across the globe. It’s players like Puerto Rico’s Javier Baez who are doing the best job in that regard, not boring white guys from the U.S. Potential baseball fans are not swayed into liking the sport when a player hits a home run and solemnly puts his head down to stroll the bases. They get excited and energized when players show emotion, flip their bats, celebrate. Baez did more to make baseball appeal to new and lapsed audiences with his premature celebration tag than the entire U.S. team has done this tournament.

Furthermore, it is hypocritical to want to diversify the sport’s audience while squelching incoming cultures.

Jim Leyland also got in on the action:

Go Puerto Rico.