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Carlos Beltran wins the 2013 Roberto Clemente Award

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ST. LOUIS — Carlos Beltran was chosen as the Roberto Clemente Award recipient before Game 3 of the World Series Saturday night.

The Clemente Award goes to the player who best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship and community involvement. Beltran was selected from a list of 30 Club nominees by a panel of dignitaries that included Commissioner Bud Selig, past award winners and the Clemente family. Additionally, fans were able to cast a vote for the award.

 “Major League Baseball is thrilled to present our most prestigious off-field honor, the Roberto Clemente Award, to a fellow, gifted Puerto Rican standout, Carlos Beltran,” Commissioner Selig said. “It is an honor to recognize one of our game’s most accomplished players and his wife, Jessica, for their extraordinary work through the Carlos Beltran Foundation and the Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy.  Their family’s commitment to making a difference in the lives of young people in St. Louis and their home of Puerto Rico is a powerful example for others and a testament to the philanthropic spirit of Roberto Clemente.”

Beltran’s baseball bona fides are without question. His community involvement may be less known, but is no less impressive. He opened the Carlos Beltran Academy in Puerto Rico in August 2011. The Academy allows young athletes education opportunities they otherwise wouldn’t have access to. He established the school with an initial $3 million personal contribution, and maintains it through annual fundraising events. This past June, the school had its first graduation ceremony where 44 boys  received their high school diploma.

There is a special resonance here as well, as both Beltran and Clemente are products of Puerto Rico. Beltran’s comments accepting the award a few moments ago made special notice of the example Clemente set for him, both in baseball and philanthropic terms.

“I’ve said many times throughout my career, the impact Roberto Clemente has had on me, not only as a baseball player, but also as a humanitarian and Puerto Rican,” said Beltran. “I am so humbled and blessed that God has given me the opportunity to help others and make an impact on the lives of children, just as Roberto did for many years. I have had many people support me throughout my career and I am just proud to share this honor with them.”

Congratulations, Carlos Beltran.

Gerrit Cole set to begin throwing program

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 24:  Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates sits in the dugout in the second inning during the game against the Houston Astros at PNC Park on August 24, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
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During the Pirates’ FanFest on Saturday, right-hander Gerrit Cole announced that he is back up to full health after being shut down with elbow inflammation in September. Per Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Cole said he’ll start a throwing program on Monday as he works on regaining his form for the 2017 season.

The 26-year-old pitched through 116 innings for the Pirates in 2016, delivering a 3.88 ERA and 2.5 WARP before landing on the disabled list in June with a triceps strain and again in August with elbow inflammation. It was a steep drop for the right-hander, who saw a considerable spike in his ERA and BB/9 rate and struggled to strike out batters at the 8.7 mark he managed in 2015.

The upside? Inflammation was the worst of Cole’s issues in 2016, and while the newfound health issues didn’t help his case for an extension, a more serious injury doesn’t appear to be on the horizon.

The White Sox wanted Astros’ top prospects for Jose Quintana

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 27:  Jose Quintana #62 of the Chicago White Sox pitches against the Seattle Mariners during the first inning at U.S. Cellular Field on August 27, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
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The Astros, Braves and Nationals came sniffing around White Sox left-hander Jose Quintana during the Winter Meetings, but each appeared to find the Sox’ asking price well beyond what they were willing to give up for the starter. On Saturday, Peter Gammons revealed that the White Sox had floated Francis Martes, Kyle Tucker and Joe Musgrove as a possible return for Quintana.

It’s a strategy that worked well for Chicago in the past, most recently when they dealt Chris Sale to the Red Sox for Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech, among others, and flipped Adam Eaton to the Nationals for a trio of pitching prospects. Astros’ GM Jeff Luhnow didn’t appear eager to sacrifice some of his core talent to net a high-end starter, however, and told the Houston Chronicle’s Jake Kaplan as much on Wednesday:

We’re prepared to trade players to improve our club right now. […] We’re just not prepared to trade away players that are core to our production in 2017, and those are sometimes the players that are required to get these deals done.

While Lunhow was speaking specifically to the inclusion of third baseman Alex Bregman in future deals, it’s not unrealistic to think that top prospects Francis Martes and Kyle Tucker would also be considered instrumental to the Astros’ plans for the next few seasons.

Martes, 21, currently sits atop the team’s top prospect list on MLB.com. The right-hander blazed through his first full season in Double-A Corpus Christi, posting a 3.30 ERA and career-best 9.4 K/9 over 125 1/3 innings in 2016. Tucker, meanwhile, profiles as the Astros’ second-best prospect and made a successful jump to High-A Lancaster last season, slashing .339/.435/.661 in 69 PA. Rookie right-hander Joe Musgrove is the only player left off the top prospect list, but he got off to a decent start with the club in 2016 as well, going 4-4 with a 4.06 ERA and 3.44 K/BB rate in 62 innings during his first major league season.