Brad Ausmus interviewed for the open Houston managerial position, but he withdrew from consideration for the job on Friday.
In a text message to MLB.com, he attributed the decision to “personal reasons” and said he wishes the Astros “the best of luck.”
The 43-year-old Ausmus spent nine of his 18-big league seasons with Houston, playing for the team in 1997-98 and 2001-08 before finishing up with the Dodgers in 2009-10. He was widely viewed as a future manager during his playing career.
Whether Ausmus’ decision had anything to do with his current gig as Team Israel’s manager in the World Baseball Classic is unclear. Assuming that Israel is able to advance out of the preliminary rounds, Ausmus would be tied up with the team for a portion of March, something that would definitely interfere with any sort of major league job.
The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.