Monday, March 14, 2016

Monday Morning Hot Links

The Astros beat the Braves yesterday 7-6 behind a 3-run Jose Altuve homer, but the biggest news of the weekend (and, apologies if you came here looking for some NOOZ and didn't find any, it was a rather busy weekend at ACHQ) was the injury bug that reared its ugly head:

*Lance McCullers has a sore shoulder and, despite a clean MRI taken on Friday, could still land on the DL to open the season. He was scheduled to start a game this past weekend, but the soreness prevented that from happening, and there is no timetable for his return. "150 games are more important than those first two (starts)," McCullers told the Chronicle.

*Max Stassi has an injured hamate bone which, as Hinch says in this MLB.com video, affects Stassi's hitting more than it does his catching. Stassi will see a specialist in Houston today and rejoin the team in Kissimmee on Wednesday.

*As far as depth, Alfredo Gonzalez is the only other catcher on the 40-Man roster (other than Castro, of course). Gonzalez has only played in 32 games for Corpus, but hit .321/.409/.378 across three levels in 2015. Tyler Heineman hit .285/.334/.379 between Corpus and Fresno last year, but would have to be added to the 40-Man roster.

*Jim Crane loves what he sees in the 2016 Astros. Try the first link if you have trouble with the second.

*Brian Smith loves how much fun the Astros are having.

*Luke Gregerson threw live BP for the first time, and is ready to go.

*Teoscar Hernandez - who struggled in Corpus last year (.219/.275/.362) - is impressing A.J. Hinch in camp.

*Correa's rise makes the Astros hungry for more.

*Colby Rasmus: We just love the game more than anybody else.

*The Astros' ESL program is paying off for pitching prospect Juan Minaya.

*The Astros' shift from development to domination is almost complete.

*Fresno State made the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 15 years and alum Doug Fister couldn't be happier.

*Kevin Chapman and Jake Buchanan won an Astros basketball shooting contest.

*Guys like John Kruk and Dmitri Young are worried about Pablo Sandoval.

*Someone leaked the bracket halfway through the train wreck that was CBS' Selection Show.

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