Josh Holden: from prospect to soldier

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Good story in the New York Times this morning about Josh Holden, a West Point graduate-turned Cincinnati Reds farmhand.  His baseball race was run as of 2008, so he went back to fulfill his five-year commitment to Uncle Sam. As is often the case with stories about servicemen, one is struck by the subject’s positive attitude and puts the petty complaints you and I have about our job in clear relief:

“Personally, it couldn’t have worked out better for me,” Holden said. “I got to chase a dream, and now that I’m a soldier, I hope that I am giving the Army as much as it has given me.”

And here’s a random thing from the article that I never knew:

On the final day of spring training, Holden showed up to the Reds’ complex and noticed that one of the clubhouse attendants was wearing a black shirt, a baseball ritual that signals players are going to be cut.

Did you know that? I didn’t know that.  And how does that work for the Rockies?  When I was down at their place for spring training this year — on a non-cut day — everyone was wearing black.

Astros extend winning streak to 11 games

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The Astros rallied late to keep their winning streak alive, extending it to 11 games with a 7-4 victory over the Royals on Sunday afternoon. The club is now 48-25, leading the Mariners by a full game in the AL West.

The Royals took a 4-2 lead after three innings, but Brian McCann knocked in a run with a single in the top of the fourth to cut the deficit to one run. Carlos Correa hit a game-tying solo home run in the eighth. The Astros kept their foot on the gas, scoring two more runs on RBI singles from Evan Gattis and Marwin Gonzalez in the top of the eighth and another in the top of the ninth on Correa’s sacrifice fly.

Starter Lance McCullers allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks with nine strikeouts over six innings. Tony Sipp worked a scoreless seventh. Ken Giles did the same in the eighth. Hector Rondon finished off the win in the ninth, working around a one-out walk with a game-ending double play.

After winning all 10 games on their road trip against the Rangers, Athletics, and Royals, the Astros will head home for a nine-game homestand against the Rays, Royals, and Blue Jays. Each club is below .500.