The Houston Astros are off to a good start in 2021. They are entering an important stretch where they play the Detroit Tigers, Seattle Mariners, and Colorado Rockies. While these are all competitive teams, they are very beatable. Beating these teams will go a long way to returning to the top of the AL West. Here are some Astros news and notes as they enter this key stretch.
The Return Of AJ Hinch
Former Astros manager AJ Hinch is returning to Houston for the first time since being fired for his role in the Astros sign-stealing scandal. The current Tigers manager has been very apologetic about everything that occurred in Houston. Hinch said this about his return to Houston: “Houston fans have been tremendously supportive to me and my family,” he said. “It’s home for me. That city matters to me. The fans have been tremendous and obviously, it will be very emotional when I see them.” Hinch was there through the rebuilding years and the postseason years. He will always be linked to Houston for all of the positive and negative reasons. Houston plays Detroit in a three-game series starting Monday and going through Wednesday.
Cristian Javier Sent To Alternate Training Site
With the team having two off days over the next eight days, Cristian Javier has been sent down to the alternate training site. Despite pitching five scoreless innings in his last start, Javier was the odd man out. He will still be built up as a starter and should rejoin the team sometime around April 22.
Jake Odorizzi To Make Season Debut
Javier has been sent down to the alternate training site, but Jake Odorizzi will be coming up. Odorizzi was building up his workload after signing late in the off-season. His season debut will come Tuesday, April 13 versus the Tigers. Manager Dusty Baker hasn’t said whether or not Odorizzi will have any restrictions, but it wouldn’t be surprising if he was on a pitch count.
On the injury front, the Astros have fortunately not been hit hard in the early going. However, the team did have to place reliever Enoli Paredes on the Injured List. The young pitcher will be shut down for a couple of weeks due to right-side soreness. There is no timetable for his return at the moment, but since he won’t throw for a while, it will be much longer than the minimum of ten days. Paredes has given up one run in an inning and a third and has walked six batters.
Pedro Baez will have to wait a little longer for his Astros debut because he was transferred to the Injured List, due to right shoulder soreness. The veteran had been building up his workload after testing positive for COVID-19 in early March. There is no timetable for his return at the moment either.
Fortunately, the Astros have good news and notes on the injury front as well. Andre Scrubb is close to his season debut according to general manager James Click. Scrubb had been on the Injured List due to a shoulder issue, but his return is imminent. The young reliever should return sometime within the next week or so.
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