No big surprise, but the Indians have sent top prospect Trevor Bauer to Triple-A after he was in the mix for the final rotation spot.
Cleveland previously reassigned Daisuke Matsuzaka to minor-league camp, taking him out of the rotation mix, but fellow reclamation projection Scott Kazmir remains in the running along with Carlos Carrasco.
Bauer was acquired from the Diamondbacks in the big swap that saw Shin-Soo Choo leave Cleveland and has No. 1 starter upside if he can consistently throw strikes, but at age 22 and with just 14 starts at Triple-A he was a longshot to make the Opening Day roster.
Letting him dominate for a month or two in the International League before a call-up is certainly a reasonable idea. Plus, it potentially gives our own Craig Calcaterra a chance to make the trek to Columbus to see Bauer pitch and, more importantly, perhaps talk him into a rap battle or at least a nice lunch date.
Astros’ star second baseman José Altuve underwent surgery on his right knee, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports. Neither the specifics of the surgery nor a concrete timetable for the infielder’s recovery have been officially confirmed by the club yet.
Altuve, 28, suffered the injury in July after he jammed his knee on a close play at third base. Even after he completed an initial 3.5-week stint on the 10-day disabled list, chronic knee pain continued to dog him in the months that followed. As manager A.J. Hinch told reporters on Thursday, he would have held the second baseman out of the lineup under any other circumstances, but instead chose to commend Altuve for showing up and pushing through the pain as the Astros tried for a repeat championship title this postseason.
Per McTaggart, the Astros expect Altuve to make a full recovery by spring. The perennial All-Star infielder finished his 2018 run with a .316/.386/.451 batting line, 13 home runs, and an .837 OPS through 599 plate appearances. He fared slightly worse during Houston’s ALDS and ALCS campaigns, slashing .265/.324/.412 with three extra-base hits over 37 PA. The Astros were eliminated by the Red Sox during Thursday’s 4-1 loss in ALCS Game 5.