Astros claim Fernando Martinez off waivers from Mets

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As expected, Fernando Martinez didn’t make it very far on the waiver wire after being dropped from the 40-man roster by the Mets earlier this week. One spot, in fact.

Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that the 23-year-old former top prospect was snatched up by the Astros, who have the No. 1 waiver priority by virtue of their MLB-worst 56-106 record last season.

Martinez’s stock has plummeted during the past couple years because of chronic knee problems and mediocre production in the minors, but he’s certainly still worth taking a flier on for a rebuilding, talent-starved team like the Astros.

Mets fans are no doubt frustrated to lose Martinez for nothing after years of seeing him rumored to be the centerpiece of various blockbuster trade possibilities, but at this point his value is pretty marginal and general manager Sandy Alderson surely tried to get something in return for him via trade before placing him on waivers.

Blame injuries and the previous regime’s maddening tendency to rush top prospects through the minors. Or the fact that even the best prospects fail to pan out half the time, especially when the hype machine starts as a teenager.

Video: Albert Almora, Jr. saved by the ivy

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The ALCS had a weird play in Game 4 on Tuesday night, but Game 4 of the NLCS did as well. This one involved Cubs outfielder Albert Almora, Jr. and his attempt to spark a rally in the bottom of the ninth inning against Dodgers reliever Ross Stripling.

After Alex Avila singled, Almora ripped a double to left field, past a diving Enrique Hernandez. The ball rolled to the ivy in front of the wall. Most outfielders there would’ve put their hands up, which would have alerted the umpires to call an immediate ground-rule double. Hernandez didn’t, instead fishing the ball out and firing it back into the infield. Avila had stopped at third base, but Almora kept running. Much to his surprise, he pulled up into third base to see his teammate standing there, resigned to his fate as a dead duck. Third baseman Justin Turner applied the tag on Almora for what he thought was the first out of the inning.

Almora, however, was then sent back to second base after the umpires correctly called a ground-rule double.

Unfortunately for the Cubs, the lucky break didn’t help as closer Kenley Jansen came in and took care of business, retiring all three batters he faced without letting an inherited runner score. The Dodgers won 6-1 and now lead the NLCS three games to none. They’ll try to punch their ticket to the World Series on Wednesday.