It seems like forever ago now, but Brad Hawpe was an All-Star as recently as 2009.
He had a rough 2010 season for the Rockies and Rays, was even worse in part-time action with the Padres last season, and last night the Rangers released him after signing Hawpe to a minor-league contract in January.
Certainly no longer calling Coors Field home hurt Hawpe’s production, but he was typically pretty solid on the road during his prime and injuries have been a much bigger factor in his rapid decline. He underwent Tommy John elbow surgery in August and is still unable to throw from the outfield, limiting him to first base.
General manager Jon Daniels indicated that Hawpe returning to the Rangers as a Triple-A player is possible if he’s unable to land a big-league contract and/or better opportunity elsewhere.
It has been evident throughout the playoffs that Astros second baseman José Altuve’s right knee is bothering him. Altuve battled a right knee issue in July, then banged it up again in Game 2 of the ALDS and it’s been a problem ever since.
Manager A.J. Hinch said that if it were the regular season, he wouldn’t put Altuve in the lineup. Per MLB.com’s Richard Justice, the full quote:
He’s hurt. And if it was any other time of the year, he wouldn’t be in the lineup or wouldn’t be playing. He’d probably be on the DL. … But he’s showing up every day in good spirits, ready to go, giving 100 percent of what he’s got. He should be commended.
Hinch also said of Altuve, “His teammates revere him. The production that he’s doing on one leg is pretty incredible. And he’s trying not to talk about it. And therefore I am.”
During the ALCS, Altuve has hit .250/.368/.313 in 16 at-bats. He has just one extra-base hit but he has racked up three singles and drawn three walks while scoring four runs. Hinch has had Marwin González start at second base Games 3 and 4 and is doing so again on Thursday night in Game 5.