The Astros had interest in trading for catcher Martin Maldonado before the Cubs acquired him from the Royals on Monday, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports (subscription link). Maldonado was a pre-deadline pickup for Houston last July, when it acquired him from the division-rival Angels, but the Astros’ attempt to re-sign him during the offeason failed. The Astros then brought in free agent Robinson Chirinos, who has been their No. 1 backstop all year but has slumped of late. Chirinos is a better hitter than Maldonado, but the latter is far and away the superior defender. Astros backup catcher Max Stassi is another defense-first option, though he’s having a much worse season at the plate than Maldonado. For Houston, re-acquiring Maldonado could have brought about the end of the out-of-options Stassi’s time on its 40-man roster.
More on a few other American League clubs…
- Indians ace Corey Kluber’s recovery from the fractured right forearm he suffered May 1 took a significant step Wednesday, per Paul Hoynes of cleveland.com. Kluber threw an all-fastball, 20-pitch bullpen session – his first since incurring the injury – without any issues. “Everybody came out smiling,” manager Terry Francona said. Kluber will throw a bullpen again Sunday, though there’s still no timetable for his return to the majors. Despite having to deal with long-term absences of Kluber and fellow rotation stalwarts Carlos Carrasco and Mike Clevinger this season, the Indians are 54-40 and tied for the AL’s second wild-card spot.
- Royals shortstop Adalberto Mondesi went to the injured list with a left shoulder subluxation Wednesday. Fortunately, the injury isn’t as severe as Mondesi initially feared, Lynn Worthy of the Kansas City Star tweets. With that said, it remains unknown how much time the 23-year-old cornerstone will miss. A former stud prospect, Mondesi has developed into an untouchable major leaguer for the Royals, having combined passable offense with plus defense and excellent base running since a breakout 2018.
- Athletics third baseman Matt Chapman left their win over the Mariners on Wednesday with left ankle soreness, Oakland announced. Chapman is day-to-day, Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle relays. Winners of eight of 10 and tied with Cleveland for the AL’s second wild-card position, the A’s are rolling thanks in part to Chapman, who’s enjoying another superstar-caliber campaign. The 26-year-old has torched the opposition for a .279/.363/.552 batting line with 22 home runs and 4.2 fWAR over 405 plate appearances in 2019.
- The Twins designated reliever Mike Morin for assignment Tuesday, which came as somewhat of a surprise considering the 3.18 ERA and .79 BB/9 the right-hander has posted in 22 2/3 innings this season. Manager Rocco Baldelli admitted it was a “very difficult” decision to jettison Morin, who did “his job very well” (via Do-Hyoung Park of MLB.com). With 37 players on their 40-man roster after Morin’s DFA, the Twins “will almost certainly” select a reliever from the minors (recent pickups Cody Allen and Carlos Torres are among the candidates) or acquire one via trade to replace him.