So, the Astros are taking their prospects on trips now

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According to MLB.com’s Brian McTaggert, the Astros recently brought eight players and six staff members down to the Dominican Republic for a 10-day getaway:

The group spent the 10 days touring the country, with the players working out at the Astros’ Dominican Academy in the mornings, then interacting with the various communities and villages they visited in the afternoons. It was a learning experience, not only for the players from the States, but the Dominican-based players as well.

“There were a lot of things to it,” assistant director of player development Allen Rowin said. “We were trying to get the U.S. players to understand where their Latin brethren are coming from, to see firsthand where the guys come from in the Dominican, to see the complex and understand what they’re doing, and also for them to kind of have a feel for what the Latin guys go through when they come to the States.

The players on the trip were all draft picks from the last three years, including 2012 first overall pick Carlos Correa and a 2013 pick in Brett Booth.

All in all, it seems like a very good experience for the kids and maybe something more teams should do. It also, however, sounds like an extra benefit that prospects should not be entitled to given the strict draft cap rules now employed by Major League Baseball. Now, I highly doubt the Astros were using a trip to the Dominican Republic as a carrot to get Booth to sign with them a few months back. I’m assuming the Astros cleared the trip with MLB as well.

But this is one of the problems with salary caps in general: anything outside the norm that teams do for players needs to be monitored closely to make sure there are no unfair advantages. Just as NBA teams next summer won’t be able to promise LeBron James luxury boxes and such perks, MLB teams have to be limited in what they can do for prospects, given the rules in place.

Gary Sanchez likely headed to disabled list

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Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez exited Sunday afternoon’s game against the Rays in the 10th inning due to a hip/groin issue. Manager Aaron Boone said Sanchez is likely headed to the 10-day disabled list, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports.

Sanchez went 0-for-4 with a walk before departing. He appeared to suffer the injury running to first base when he grounded into a 6-4-3 double play in the 10th inning. On the season, Sanchez is batting .190/.291/.433 with 14 home runs, 41 RBI, and 36 runs scored in 265 plate appearances.

Austin Romine replaced Sanchez in the 10th inning and will handle the bulk of the catching responsibilities while Sanchez is out.