Nolan Ryan meets with Astros owner about returning to the organization’s front office

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MLB.com beat writer Brian McTaggart has the story:

HOUSTON — Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan met with Astros owner Jim Crane and president of business operations Reid Ryan on Tuesday morning at Minute Maid Park, a source confirmed for MLB.com.

Reid, son of the Texas legend, said last week Crane was scheduled to meet with his father sometime this week, perhaps to discuss a return to the organization in an official capacity.

Ryan served as an adviser to former Astros owner Drayton McLane from 2004-2008. He then took a high-level position with the Rangers, but that ended in October after some clashing with young GM Jon Daniels.

Ryan, an old-school baseball man, is probably interviewing for a position on the business side of things in Houston. That would avoid any issues with Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow — whose data-based approach is similar to Daniels’ — and would allow the 66-year-old Ryan to work closely with his son.

Kendrys Morales pitched a scoreless inning Sunday

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Nothing went right for the Blue Jays this weekend. The club was swept in a four-game series against the Athletics, including a 9-2 loss on Sunday. Not wanting to burn out his bullpen in a lopsided game — and perhaps thinking about the general entertainment value involved — Blue Jays manager John Gibbons decided to send designated hitter Kendrys Morales out to pitch the ninth inning. And in typical baseball fashion, he saw better results than some of the dudes who do this all the time.

Morales, who actually pitched in Cuba nearly 20 years ago, worked around a walk for a scoreless inning. He induced three fly outs and topped out at 87.4 mph on his fastball, per Brooks Baseball. He received a standing ovation on the way back to the dugout. Morales hasn’t been hearing that sort of thing for his contributions with the bat recently.

Morales, 34, is batting just .163/.248/.279 with three home runs through 32 games this season. There’s been some understandable clamoring for top prospect Vladmir Guerrero, Jr. to cut into his at-bats. For his part, Morales has been doing everything he can to break out of his slumber at the plate, including ditching the glasses he started wearing during spring training. Hey, whatever works. Morales also had two of Toronto’s four hits on Sunday.

On the heels of Morales’ first MLB appearance on the mound, it feels rather appropriate that the Blue Jays will get their first look at Angels sensation Shohei Ohtani — at least as a hitter — beginning on Tuesday.