Ryan Dempster won’t be ready to return when eligible

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Ryan Dempster has been out since June 16 with a strained right shoulder and won’t be ready to return from the disabled list when eligible Sunday, according to Doug Padilla of ESPN Chicago.

Padilla reports that Dempster “will miss at least one more start” and because he’s yet to throw off a mound it wouldn’t be surprising if he didn’t return before the All-Star break.

Missing an extra turn or two in the rotation isn’t a huge deal, except in Dempster’s case he’s very likely to be traded … as long as teams are convinced he’s healthy. And if he sits out an extra week or two that might only leave 3-4 starts to prove he’s back to normal before the July 31 trade deadline.

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.