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Astros visit White House; Jose Altuve takes center stage


The World Series champion Houston Astros visited President Trump in the White House today.

As we’ve mentioned in the past, White House visits, once a routine, low-level ceremonial thing for championship sports teams, have become controversial in the Trump Era. Some teams and players have decided not to bother going or to say that, if they won a championship, they would not go. In the case of the Golden State Warriors, Trump himself disinvited the team, though he did so after they apparently said they would not go. Kind of a “you can’t fire me, I quit” sort of a thing.

The Astros are not fully represented in Washington today either. The recently-retired Carlos Beltran previously said he would not go and, true to his word, did not go. Current Astro Carlos Correa likewise did not make the trip. Beltran had said skipping the White House trip was not political, but he is on record saying he is disappointed in the government’s response to the hurricane damage in Puerto Rico, so draw your own conclusions. Correa, also from Puerto Rico, has not offered his reasoning, though it may be safe to assume he has similar reasons to Beltran’s. I imagine at some point he’ll say something about it.

Then there’s Jose Altuve. The reigning AL MVP did make the trip to Washington today. Though, based on his facial expressions, it seems like maybe he wished he hadn’t:

It likewise seems that either (a) he didn’t want to shake Trump’s hand; or (b) Trump skipped him in the handshake line:

Not sure what comes next. Is it an awkward Altuve interview in which he says, unconvincingly, that he was totally happy to be there or some unhinged Trump tweets at 5:37am tomorrow morning in which he talks about how Altuve is a “low energy loser” or something?

Not that both of those things can’t happen. Anything can happen these days, it seems.

UPDATE: New video shows that a handshake did, in fact occur:

It seems that Trump didn’t know who Altuve was at first, but in his defense, if I was president and an NFL team showed up, I might not know what their star player looked like, so we’ll give him a pass.

Justin Turner suffers broken wrist after being hit by a pitch

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Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner left Monday’s Cactus League game against the Athletics after he was hit by a pitch. He went for X-rays, revealing that he suffered a broken wrist, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports. Shaikin adds that Turner is unlikely to return before May, noting that Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman missed six weeks with a similar injury last year and Astros outfielder George Springer missed nine weeks in 2015.

Needless to say, this is a huge loss for the Dodgers. Last year, Turner hit .322/.415/.530 with 21 home runs and 71 RBI in 543 plate appearances, helping the Dodgers reach the World Series. He made the All-Star team for the first time in his career and finished eighth in NL MVP balloting.

Thankfully, the Dodgers have some versatile players on the roster. Logan Forsythe could move from second base to third, giving Chase Utley more playing time at second. Enrique Hernandez could man the hot corner as well. Chris Taylor has played some third base, or he could shift to second base in Forsythe’s stead. The club should shed some light on how it plans to move forward following Turner’s injury.