HOUSTON (AP) Houston rookie Tyler White was the victim of a prank on Saturday that left his Range Rover Evoque on the warning track in center field before the game.
Some of Houston’s veterans, led by ace Dallas Keuchel, orchestrated the prank.
Keuchel says: “As long as you don’t take it out of context it’s all fun and games and it makes you a little bit stronger. So (White) is one of the guys we like and we’ll continue to get on him a little bit and it will make him tougher.”
White wasn’t amused by the incident and fumed as he made the long walk from home plate to the outfield to try and move the car. But he couldn’t find the keys and he soon retreated back to the clubhouse. A clubhouse employee finally moved the SUV, but not before Carlos Gomez hit a ball that crashed onto the top of it. Keuchel said they’d pay for any damages the stunt caused.
The Astros and ace Dallas Keuchel have tabled extension talks until the off-season, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports. He notes that the Astros would like to sign him to at least a four-year deal, which would cover at least one of his free agency years.
Keuchel, 27, will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the season, and won’t be eligible for free agency until after the 2018 season. He’s due a hefty raise over his 2015 salary of $524,500, as he currently leads the American League with 16 wins and a 2.24 ERA, along with a 173/42 K/BB ratio over 192 2/3 innings. The lefty finished with a 2.93 ERA last season as well.
The Astros enter play Friday with a 73-61 record, leading the AL West by two games over the Rangers. They stand a good chance at ending their post-season drought, which extends back to 2005, so it may not be until late October or November that the two sides will discuss a new contract.
Houston just made a huge addition for the stretch run, activating outfielder George Springer from the disabled list after he missed two months with a fractured wrist.
Springer has played 159 career games since being called up in mid-April of last year, hitting a combined .247 with 33 homers, 81 walks, 19 steals, and an .813 OPS. He strikes out a ton, but few players can match his mix of power, speed, and plate discipline.
Springer figures to play right field nearly every day, with Carlos Gomez in center field and Colby Rasmus, Preston Tucker, or Jake Marisnick in left field. Houston is in first place at 73-61, holding a two-game lead over Texas in the AL West.