Astros select Josh Fields from Red Sox with first pick in Rule 5 draft

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With the top pick in the Rule 5 draft the Astros snagged right-hander Josh Fields from the Red Sox.

Fields was the Mariners’ first-round pick in 2008, going 20th overall out of the University of Georgia, but never reached the majors and is now 27 years old.

He’s always had very good strikeout numbers, but walked 5.9, 5.7, and 6.7 batters per nine innings in his first three pro seasons. That all changed this year, as Fields cut his walk rate to 2.8 per nine innings while posting a 2.01 ERA with 78 strikeouts in 58 innings between Double-A and Triple-A for the Red Sox.

Boston got Fields in the Erik Bedard trade and chose not to protect him, so the Astros will gladly add his mid-90s fastball to their bullpen mix and hope the improved control is for real.

Mike Napoli tore his ACL

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Mike Napoli suffered a torn right ACL and meniscus while playing for Triple-A Columbus the other night. The injury will require season-ending surgery.

Given that Napoli will turn 37 this year, given that he will need 10-14 months of rehab and given that, as it was, he was unable to find a major league gig, it’s almost certain that this injury will end Napoli’s career.

Napoli was off to a 1-for-24 start at Columbus after signing a minor league contract with the Indians this spring. He hit .193/.285/.428 for the Rangers in 2017. If this is it for Napoli, he’ll end his career with a line of .246/.346/.475 with 267 homers and 744 driven in. He appeared in the World Series with the 2011 Rangers, the 2013 Red Sox and the 2016 Indians, winning a ring with Boston.