Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle reports that Dexter Fowler has been getting tutelage from former Giants outfielder Barry Bonds. Since back-to-back-to-back two-hit games to start the season, Fowler has slumped, batting just .114 in 47 trips to the plate over 11 games. Only one of his five hits has gone for extra bases.
Drellich writes that Fowler has been receiving instruction from Bonds for roughly a year, including over the off-season, but Bonds and Fowler have been collaborating at the O.co Coliseum while the Astros have battled the Athletics over the weekend.
Fowler says Bonds isn’t only helping with hitting:
“I don’t think it’s just one thing,” Fowler said. “It’s a plethora of things. To point out one thing, it’s mentally, it’s physically, it’s everything.”
Ryan Howard is another notable player to have been coached by Bonds, going all the way back to 2010. It’s tough to deduce if it helped, since Howard was injured for much of 2011 and ’12. The Astros, who have had Fowler lead off for most of the season, hope Bonds can help their center fielder turn his season around.
Cubs infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with back soreness. The move is retroactive to April 14. While it doesn’t appear to be the precursor to any serious injury, Zobrist has already missed six straight days of activity after feeling his back tighten up last weekend. Should he see the minimum time on the DL, as expected, he’ll be eligible to return by the start of the Cubs’ series against the Indians on Tuesday.
Prior to his injury, the 36-year-old outfielder raked an impressive .326/.408/.465 with three extra-base hits in 49 plate appearances. He last appeared for the Cubs during their homestand last weekend and helped propel the team to a 14-10 win over the Braves with three hits, two walks and two RBI. Provided that he can remain healthy going forward, it’s a promising start for the veteran outfielder, who has yet to return to the All-Star-worthy numbers he posted with the club in 2016.
With Zobrist sidelined for the time being, Ian Happ and Albert Almora Jr. have shared the leadoff spot and center field duties over the last week. Happ went 0-for-8 with six strikeouts in two games before passing the baton to Almora, who collected five hits and two RBI in 11 at-bats.