Astros catcher Max Stassi out two months after wrist surgery

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Max Stassi was slated to take over as the Astros’ backup catcher following the offseason trade of Hank Conger, but the 25-year-old prospect is now out for at least six weeks after surgery to repair a fractured hamate bone in his left wrist.

Stassi has had brief stints with the Astros in each of the past three seasons, spending most of that time at Double-A and Triple-A putting up underwhelming numbers offensively. However, he’s shown 15-homer power and Houston still likes his long-term potential to develop further at the plate.

Jason Castro is entrenched as the Astros’ primary catcher, so without Stassi they figure to turn to Alfredo Gonzalez, Roberto Pena, or Tyler Heineman as the temporary understudy.

Angels hire Brad Ausmus as special assistant to the GM

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Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports that the Angels have hired former Tigers manager Brad Ausmus as a special assistant to GM Billy Eppler.

Ausmus, 48, managed the Tigers for four seasons, accruing a 314-332 (.486) record. The Tigers fired him after the 2017 season and hired former Twins manager Ron Gardenhire in his place.

Ausmus will assist with scouting and evaluations of players in the Angels’ system, amateurs, and players in other organizations.