Bryan Stow’s condition improves

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Based on everything we’ve heard, Bryan Stow likely suffered brain damage in the beating he received at Dodger Stadium on Opening Day. Yet within the overall sense of gloom about his condition, there have been occasions of good news. The latest coming today:

Doctors say the medical condition of a San Francisco Giants fan who was severely beaten outside Dodgers Stadium is continuing to improve, and they’ve upgraded him from critical to serious … Doctors there said Wednesday that Stow is now breathing without a ventilator and has been able to intermittently follow some basic commands. They say he’s also been weaned off two of five anti-seizure medications used to address brain swelling and that they’re lowering the doses of his remaining medications.

When things are as dire as they have been, you take whatever good news you can find.

No, the Astros aren’t being targeted for HBPs in spring training

Alex Bregman
Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images
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On Wednesday, Astros third baseman Alex Bregman was hit by Cardinals pitcher Ramon Santos. It marked the seventh time an Astros batter had been hit in spring training exhibition games thus far, the highest total among all teams. As expected, teams are exacting revenge for the Astros’ cheating ways!

Well, not quite. The pitch Santos hit Bregman with was a 3-2 breaking ball that got away. Usually, if a pitcher is going to hit a batter as an act of revenge, he’ll attempt to do it with a first-pitch fastball.

José Altuve was also hit by a pitch against the Tigers on Sunday. The pitch, which looks to be the off-speed variety, appeared to graze his uniform as opposed to hitting him flush, so it was likely unintentional on the part of pitcher Nick Ramirez.

Other Astros to have been hit in spring training thus far: Alex De Goti, Aledmys Díaz, Osvaldo Duarte, Dustin Garneau, and Jake Meyers. Not exactly a who’s-who list of Code Breaker operatives.

Will some pitchers intentionally throw at the Astros this year? Almost certainly, despite commissioner Rob Manfred’s warning. Have they been doing it from the moment exhibition games began earlier this month? Certainly not.