Rookie sensation Yordan Alvarez garnered some first base experience during his time in the minors, but the Astros have no intention of trying him there in the majors this year, per Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle. The team wasn’t “comfortable” with Alvarez’s performance at first in the minors, according to manager A.J. Hinch. Thanks in part to that, the Astros will stick with the hot-hitting Yuli Gurriel as their starter, with Rome noting Aledmys Diaz will serve as the backup when he comes off the injured list. Alvarez will continue as a designated hitter/left fielder, a role which has suited him well during what has been a brilliant introduction to the majors. Through his first 69 plate appearances, the 22-year-old has slashed .317/.406/.733 (196 wRC+) with seven home runs.
More from the majors’ West divisions…
- The Angels received an encouraging second opinion this week on infielder Zack Cozart’s problematic left shoulder, manager Brad Ausmus revealed (via Dave Sessions of MLB.com). The doctors “seem to be narrowing it down to a couple things it could be, and I guess the MRI is to further narrow that down,” Ausmus said. Cozart has been down since May 28 with inflammation in his shoulder, a joint that also cost him a significant chunk of 2018. He underwent season-ending surgery on a torn labrum last season, ending his first year with the Angels after just 58 games. Cozart will visit Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who performed his surgery a year ago, for more imaging tests Friday, Sessions relays.
- The Rangers were within a week of summoning reliever Matt Bush back to the majors before he was diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. Bush had been rehabbing a prior UCL injury all season, but this week’s news means he’ll wind up missing the entire campaign and surely a large portion of 2020. The Rangers plan on sticking with in-house relievers to help fill Bush’s void in the immediate term, according to Wilson, though he suggests the injury will place a greater urgency on the club to acquire outside help before the July 31 trade deadline.
- Padres left-handed reliever Jose Castillo – out all season because of a flexor strain – could be one bullpen session away from restarting a rehab assignment, manager Andy Green said Thursday (via AJ Cassavell of MLB.com). The 23-year-old was pitching in what was supposed to be his final rehab appearance June 10 when he suffered a setback. Castillo was a quietly outstanding piece of the Padres’ bullpen as a rookie in 2018, when he pitched to a 3.29 ERA/2.64 FIP with 12.21 K/9 and 2.82 BB/9.