It’s been an awful week by just about any measure. The Astros are going to help honor those who were lost, injured or affected by the awfulness that went down, however:
The Astros will honor the victims of Boston and West, Texas with a moment of silence at the beginning of tonight’s game.
In addition, the Houston Astros are encouraging fans attending games during this homestand against Cleveland and Seattle (April 19-24) to please bring donation items to assist with the relief efforts in the aftermath of the devastation caused by the explosion at the fertilizer plant this week in West, Texas.
If you’re going to the game, or if you’re in the area, the items the Astros are collecting include the following:
- gift cards for grocery stores or home supply stores;
- travel size toiletries;
- powdered sports drinks;
- toilet paper;
- hand sanitizer;
- non-perishable canned or boxed food items;
- clean sheets and towels (new or gently used); and
- unopened boxed or bagged dog and cat food.
Cash donations will also be accepted and will be directed to the ongoing relief efforts.
Yankees’ special advisor and former outfielder Hideki Matsui expects to help the club “convince or recruit” Japanese two-way star Shohei Otani, according to a report from MLB.com’s Deesha Thosar. The Yankees are currently viewed as the favorites to sign Otani, though there still figures to be plenty of competition for his services when he finally becomes eligible to enter Major League Baseball.
Matsui also told Thosar that while he hasn’t seen a player find success as a hybrid pitcher/slugger in the majors, he’s taken notice of Otani’s success in both areas. “He’s done well in Japan, so as a baseball fan I’m looking forward to how he’s going to do here in the Majors and in the U.S.,” Matsui said, later adding, “If [pitching and hitting is] something he wants to do, and the team wants it, then why not?”
Neither the Yankees nor any other suitor should be too concerned with Otani’s ability to translate his .332 batting average and 3.20 ERA to MLB — at least, not just yet. There are still a few roadblocks in his path to the major leagues, most notably the lack of approval from the Players Association. Per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, the union doesn’t want to sign off on an agreement that would give the Nippon Ham Fighters a $20 million posting fee in exchange for Otani’s services. According to the posting system rules, Otani himself would be eligible to receive no more than a $4 million signing bonus.
The good news in all of this? The union agreed to reach a final decision by Monday, November 21, so there’s still a chance Major League Baseball will see the talented two-way player bring his unique skillset to the field in 2018.