Astros second baseman Jose Altuve hasn’t appeared in a game since making an early exit last Wednesday in Colorado with discomfort in his right hamstring. And he is not starting Sunday …
Altuve ran sprints forward and backward Saturday afternoon at Safeco Field and told Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle that he felt “great” during and after the workout, but Astros manager A.J. Hinch has understandably decided to play it safe with his star second baseman. “Very happy with where he’s at,” Hinch said Saturday. “I’m going to go one day too long rather than one day too short, I can tell you that.”
Atluve should be ready to go for Monday night’s series opener against the Angels.
The first truly big free agent signing of the offseason has gone down: the Chicago White Sox just announced that they have signed catcher Yasmani Grandal to a four-year, $73 million deal.
Grandal, 31, was the best catcher available in free agency. He is coming off a fine year with the Milwaukee Brewers, with whom he had to settle for a one-year pact in 2019. He hit .246/.380/.468 with 28 homers and 77 driven in. It was his fourth straight season with 20+ homers. While his catching has been criticized due to some high-profile mistakes in the postseason, the two-time All-Star once again proved himself to be one of the best pitch-framers in the game if not the best. Between the bat and the glove he has a claim to being one of the best all-around catchers in baseball.
The signing leaves open the question of what happens to James McCann, who was himself an All-Star this year. It’s not that hard a question, of course, as Grandal is a far superior catcher to McCann in every respect. The Sox could make McCann a backup. Alternatively, they could try to trade him to fill other holes on the roster.
The White Sox finished 72-89 in 2019 but are showing signs of coming out of rebuilding mode and into contention mode. This signing pushes them a big step into that direction.