Carlos Beltran made an early exit from today’s Grapefruit League game against the Marlins after he was hit on the right foot by a pitch from right-hander Jacob Turner in the first inning. While the veteran outfielder was diagnosed with a right toe bruise after X-rays ruled out a fracture, he told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com that he was in a lot of pain.
“I tried not to think about it, and tried to run regular around the bases, but then it got sore,” Beltran said, before adding, “It’s painful. It’s painful.”
The injury comes just two days before Beltran is scheduled to join his native Puerto Rico for the upcoming World Baseball Classic. While he’s considered day-to-day right now, he didn’t rule out the possibility that it could affect his participation in the tournament.
Beltran, who turns 36 in April, batted .269/.346/.495 with 32 home runs, 97 RBI and an .842 OPS last season. He’s owed $13 million this season.
No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.
First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.
On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.
Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.