Evan Gattis has stayed out of the spotlight for quite some time, with nary a word printed about whether the former catcher/designated hitter was pursuing a new contract until the Astros invited him to be a part of the first-pitch ceremony prior to tonight’s Game 1 of the World Series. (MLBTR reached out to Gattis’ camp earlier this season to inquire but did not receive a reply.) He’ll catch tonight’s first pitch from former teammate Brian McCann, who retired following Atlanta’s ousting from this year’s playoffs.
Gattis broke the silence surrounding his status today when he spoke with FOX 26’s Mark Berman today about his 2019 absence from baseball (Twitter link). Gattis has not formally retired, but he also doesn’t sound like he’s seeking out any new opportunities.
“I really don’t have an answer,” said Gattis. “I don’t even know if I could play, but right now I don’t want to. [Baseball] was a huge part of my life, but I was ready.”
At this point, if Gattis wished to make a return to baseball, he’d surely need to settle for a minor league pact, though the slugger didn’t seem to have any problem with that notion. “If I really want to play,” Gattis told Berman, “I’ll go play, whether it be in Double-A, Triple-A or the big leagues. But it has been such a big transition, much like before I came back to play in baseball again.” Gattis, for those unfamiliar with his remarkable journey, battled depression and drug use after walking away from baseball following high school (as chronicled by USA Today’s Bob Nightengale back in 2013).
Now 33 years of age, Gattis last suited up in 2018 when he appeared in 128 games for Houston and batted .226/.284/.452 with 25 home runs in 451 trips to the plate. He won a World Series ring with the ’Stros a year prior and spent parts of four seasons with the club (plus another two in Atlanta), becoming a fan favorite of many along the way. In all, he’s a career .248/.300/.476 hitter in 706 MLB games (2662 plate appearances).