A charity event put on by Astros’ wives ends due to a lack of wives

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This is what happens when you rebuild a roster with youth.

The wives of Houston Astros players have, for several years, put on a charity gala to benefit the Houston Area Women’s Center. A minor brouhaha has erupted over the past few days when it was learned that the Wives Gala would not be held this year, which will have a negative impact on the Women’s Center. Two Astros blogs are even protesting it by going dark for a day.

There have been a few competing explanations for this. One was a change in focus of Astros charities under the new ownership group, but today there came a statement from the Astros Vice President of Community Relations on that which gets to the point a bit more directly:

There was no event canceled because there was no event planned because the wives group no longer had any wives in it,” Vaillancourt said. “This change is not at all a reflection on the value of the Women’s Center. We really respect and appreciate everything that the Women’s Center does.”

In other news, the Astros will not be growing playoff beards due to their lack of ability to grow facial hair and will have no champagne showers because the only guy of age on that team when they broke camp just got signed by the Mets.

UPDATE: My knowledge of how any team spends its charity money is pretty low. As I imagine it is on the part of most fans and even team bloggers. For that reason I can’t weigh in with any sort of authority on how the Astros handle their philanthropic pursuits and can’t criticize or endorse bloggers’ decision to boycott coverage of the team for a day. Heck, I can think of reasons to boycott the Astros based sheerly on the basis of watching them closely being cruel and unusual punishment.

That said, if there is a change in the Astros’ charitable direction, it’s probably worth noting that there are still some pretty major charitable acts being led by and or joined by the Astros.  I don’t think most of us on the outside are in a great position to judge how well a team is doing in this regard, whether it’s making good choices or bad ones or any of that.

Report: Cardinals, Yadier Molina making “major progress” on contract extension

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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Cardinals and catcher Yadier Molina are making “major progress” on a contract extension. Molina told the team he won’t discuss an extension during the season, hence the rapid progress.

Molina is entering the last guaranteed year of a five-year, $75 million contract signed in March 2012. He and the Cardinals hold a mutual option worth $15 million with a $2 million buyout for the 2018 season. The new extension would presumably cover at least the 2018-19 seasons and likely ’20 as well.

Molina is 34 years old but is still among the most productive catchers in baseball. Last season, he hit .307/.360/.427 with 38 doubles, 58 RBI, and 56 runs scored in 581 plate appearances. Though he has lost a step or two with age, Molina is still well-regarded for his defense. The Cardinals also value his ability to handle the pitching staff.

Sandy Leon homered twice in one inning, including a grand slam

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Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon achieved a rare feat during Monday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition against the Orioles: he homered twice in one inning. One of those homers happened to be a grand slam.

Leon led off the top of the fifth inning with a solo home run off of Logan Verrett. Verrett continued to get knocked around, giving up three singles and a walk before being relieved by Brian Moran. Moran gave up a walk to load the bases, then a single to knock in a run and keep the bases loaded. Leon stepped back to the plate and swatted a grand slam to left field, making it an eight-run fifth for the Red Sox. The Sox would tack on one more before the inning was mercifully ended.

How often do players homer twice in one inning during the regular season? Not that often. Since 2010, the feat has been accomplished four times in the American League and twice in the National League. The Orioles’ Mark Trumbo was the only one to do it last year.

As for Leon, he’s on track to open the season as the starting catcher in Boston, Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald reported last week.