Results tagged ‘ Astros ’

Astros, Nix come to agreement

Astros’ fifth-round draft pick Jacob Nix, who was considered to be a tough signing based on his commitment to UCLA, told MLB.com on Tuesday he had agreed to a deal to join the Astros. He said he’ll be in Houston next week to sign his contract, take a physical and have a press conference.

MLB.com’s Jim Callis reported Nix agreed to a $1.5 million signing bonus, which is well above the assigned slot value of $370,500 for the 136th pick.

“It’s a dream come true,” he told MLB.com. “It’s pretty crazy we were able to come to an agreement in the fifth round.”

Nix is a 6-foot-3 right-handed pitcher from Los Alamitos High School in California. He pitched on Team USA’s under-18 team gold medal winning team in 2013. Also on the team was Houston’s Brady Aiken, whom the Astros selected with the No 1. overall pick, and the two are friends.

“After not being drafted on the first day, I was expecting to go to school and we ended up sorting out a better deal in the fifth round,” Nix said. “I had my dollar figure and if I got my dollar figure I’d turn pro and if it were a dollar less I was going to college. It was a fairly easy decision.”

Nix said he will report to Kissimmee, Fla., next week to begin his pro career.

Altuve returns to lineup for Astros

Astros second baseman Jose Altuve, who led the Major Leagues with 90 hits entering Tuesday, was back in the starting lineup against the Nationals for the first time since Thursday. He was hit on the hand by a pitch in that game and didn’t start over the weekend against the Rays in Houston.

Altuve was back in the No. 2 spot in the batting order behind Dexter Fowler, who led off the game with a single and was erased on Altuve’s double play.

“I feel really good,” said Altuve, who had a pinch-hit at-bat in the ninth inning Sunday. “I feel 100 percent. I’m going to be ready to go and get on base and play defense to keep winning some games.”

The Astros’ lineup is clearly much more effective with Altuve in it. He has hit safely in 30 of his last 34 games and leads the American League with 24 stolen bases. Defensively, he ranks third among Major League second baseman in total chances (320), but has made just two errors.

“It’s always exciting when you pencil the big guy in the lineup,” manager Bo Porter said. “We’re happy to have him back. That was a scare, but the news was good right away with it not being a fracture and the soreness and the swelling is behind him, so he’s ready to go.”

Astros sign Jose Veras to Minor League deal

The Astros welcomed a familiar face back to the organization on Sunday, announcing they had reached a Minor League deal with right-handed pitcher Jose Veras, who spent the first half of last season with the club.

Veras will first report to the Astros complex in Kissimmee, Fla., on Monday and then to Triple-A Oklahoma City. He was released by the Cubs last week after signing a one-year, $4-million deal in December. The Astros had made offer in the winter to try to re-sign him.

Veras was projected to be the Cubs closer, but he lost the closer’s job to Hector Rondon after compiling an 8.10 ERA in 12 games. After Veras, 33, was designated for assignment earlier this month, the Cubs had 10 days to trade him or release him.

Veras, 33, traded last midseason to Detroit after appearing in 42 games for the Astros and posted a 2.94 ERA with 19 saves in 43 innings. He was a strong presence in the Astros’ young clubhouse, and the team struggled to close out games after he was dealt. <p>

Astros promote Tucker, trade Chambers

With prospect Preston Tucker on his way to Triple-A Oklahoma City after being promoted from Double-A Corpus Christi on Thursday, the Astros opened a spot on the RedHawks roster by trading outfielder Adron Chambers to the Blue Jays for left-handed pitcher Alejandro Solarte and infielder Will Dupont.

“We felt we’d give Chambers a chance to get with the big league club somewhere else,” Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said.

The Astros signed Chambers as a left-handed bat who could play all three positions in a reserve role, but Alex Presley has filled that role in Houston. Chambers, 27, was hitting .281 with two homers and 15 RBIs in 25 games for the RedHawks.

Solarte and Dupont are both 19 and will report to Kissimmee, Fla.

“They’re guys we like,” Luhnow said. “We’re trying to fill out our short-season rosters, and we figured if we could find some guys that were already playing that we liked a little bit, that would a good way to get some value back. Our outfield picture [at Oklahoma City] is getting pretty crowded.”

Tucker, who was named to the Texas League All-Star squad, currently leads the league in homers (17) and RBIs (43) while hitting .276 in his 65 games with 17 doubles and a .536 slugging percentage. He will start in the outfield at Oklahoma City along with Domingo Santana and Austin Wates, and Marc Krauss is splitting time between the outfield, designed hitter and first base.

“We have four guys that can play out there,” Luhnow said. “I think Tucker, Santana and Wates need to get regular time, and Krauss needs to work in and get some time first and DH and outfield so he can be that versatile guy for us. It’s a pretty good mix there.”

When asked about any upcoming promotions in the Minor Leagues, Luhnow said nothing is on the front-burner. Several Astros Minor League players have earned All-Star selections in their respective leagues, and Luhnow wants them to enjoy that experience.

Astros sign second-rounder Reed

The Astros on Wednesday finalized a contract with University of Kentucky first baseman A.J. Reed, who was taken as the top pick in the second round of last week’s First-Year Player Draft. Reed received a signing bonus of $1.35 million, which is the assigned value of the pick.

The 21-year-old Reed (6-foot-4, 240 pounds) led the NCAA in home runs (23), slugging (.735) and OPS (1.211) as a junior. He also hit .336 (75-for-223) this season with 18 doubles, 73 RBIs and a .476 on-base percentage. Reed walked 49 times in 2014 and struck out just 48 times.

A two-way player in college, Reed was also Kentucky’s Friday night starter and led the SEC with 12 wins. He was the Collegiate Baseball Player of the Year, the SEC Player of the Year and is a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award, which goes to the best collegiate baseball player in the country.

“A.J. Reed was one of the best college bats in the draft this year, and his accomplishments speak for themselves,” Astros scouting director Mike Elias said. “What impresses us most with A.J. is his ability to use his power to both fields, his defensive prowess at first base, and the enthusiasm with which he plays the game. He’s going to be a fun player to watch and should immediately establish himself as one of our top power prospects in the minors.”

Reed is the first Top 10 pick by the Astros to officially sign, though MLB.com has reported the club has reached deals with third-round pick J.D. Davis, a third baseman from Cal State Fullerton; sixth-round pick Brock Dykxhoorn, a right-handed pitcher from Central Arizona College; eighth-round pick Bobby Boyd, a center fielder from West Virginia University; ninth-round pick Bryan Radziewski, a left-handed pitcher from the University of Miami; and 10th-round pick Jay Gause, a right-handed pitcher from Faulkner University in Alabama.

No. 1 overall pick Brady Aiken, a left-handed pitcher from the San Diego agree, has agreed to a $6.5 million signing bonus and could have a contract done soon.

The Astros also announced the signing of right-hander Ryan Thompson (23rd round), right-hander Vince Wheeland (24th round), left-hander Zach Davis (25th round), infielder Mott Hyde (26th round), right-hander Brandon McNitt (27th round) and right-hander Keegan Yuhl (35th round). Terms of the contracts were not disclosed.

Altuve out of lineup for first time

After saying this spring his goal was to play in 162 games this year, Astros second baseman Jose Altuve was unhappy with being out of the lineup Wednesday against the D-backs. Altuve felt discomfort in his left oblique swinging at a 61-mph curveball Tuesday and was out of the lineup for the first time this season as a result.

“They asked me if I could play and I said, ‘Yes,’” said Altuve, who leads the Major Leagues with 88 hits and the AL with 24 steals and 279 at-bats. “I don’t think it’s something to take a day off, but if they want to keep me on the bench, I’m going to be ready to come in the game whenever they want.”

Astros manager Bo Porter always likes to play it safe with any kind of injury, and that is certainly the case with his best hitter.

“Altuve obviously wants to play, but at the same time you have to protect them from themselves,” Porter said. “We feel like if he gets treatment today and tomorrow, he should be fine and ready to go. This is not something we want to linger and become a problem where he could miss two or three weeks trying to recover from.”

Altuve said that he was going to try to get Porter to change the lineup.

“Whenever his baseball career is over, he’s got a chance to be an attorney because he tried to plead his beset cast to get himself in the lineup,” Porter said. “Jose Altuve is arguably one of the best players in our game. He’s not someone you can replace, but at the same time it’s the next guy up. Marwin [Gonzalez] is going to play second base today, and the guys we run out there we believe they’re going to give us an opportunity to win the game.”

Porter wasn’t asked if he would even stay away from Altuve in a pinch-hit situation.

“I wouldn’t go that far, because if the big guy is standing on deck over there it makes the other team think twice,” he said.

Springer returns to Astros lineup

Astros rookie George Springer, who leads the club in RBIs and OPS, returned to the lineup Wednesday against the D-backs after missing the two previous games in Arizona with a sore right knee. He was hitting second behind Dexter Fowler and ahead of Jon Singleton.

“Two days [out] is better than 15,” Astros manager Bo Porter said of playing it safe with Springer. “He took two days, his knee calmed down, everything is fine and the trainers gave him the OK. He’s back in the lineup today.”

Springer hates missing games and told Porter on Monday and Tuesday in Arizona he could have played.

“I always try to snake my way in there no matter what,” Springer said. “Obviously, I have the utmost respect for [Porter] and the decisions he makes. He’s obviously doing it my best interest. He told me [to sit] and I said, ‘OK, I’ll get it checked out’ and now I’m good to go.”

Since making his Major League debut on April 16, Springer is tied for seven the American League in RBIs and ranks among the top 10 among AL rookies in homers (second), RBIs (second), slugging percentage (second), runs (third), on-base percentage (third), walks (third), extra-base hits (tied for third) and total bases (fourth).

Astros, Velazquez reach agreement

The Astros agreed to terms with another draft pick Tuesday, reaching a deal with seventh-round selection Derick Velazquez, a right-hander pitcher from Fresno State University.

Velazquez, a 6-foot-4, 200-pound pitcher from Fresno State, spent much of the year pitching relief for the Bulldogs before moving into a starting role late in the season. In 56 1/3 innings, Velazquez had an ERA of 4.79 and a 3-5 record for Fresno State. He struck out 28 and walked 23.

“It’s just a relief,” Velazquez told MLB.com. “It’s just a dream come true. I think when I get on the plane, it will really hit me.”

He said he will report to Kissimmee, Fla., before hitting to short-season Tri-City.

Velazquez, a junior, is from Los Banos, Calif., and played at Merced College for one season, where he was a junior college All-American and the Nor-Cal Player of the Year. His record was 11-0 with a 1.43 ERA.

MLB.com has previously reported the Astros have reached deals with second-round pick A.J. Reed, a first baseman from Kentucky; third-round pick J.D. Davis, a third baseman from Cal State Fullerton; eighth-round pick Bobby Boyd, a center fielder from West Virginia University; ninth-round pick Bryan Radziewski, a left-handed pitcher from the University of Miami; and 10th-round pick Jay Gause, a right-handed pitcher from Faulkner University in Alabama.

Astros’ sixth-round pick Brock Dykxhoorn, a right-handed pitcher from Central Arizona College, said Saturday he had agreed to a signing bonus and was sorting out the final details of the contract.

Second-round pick Reed heading to Houston

A.J. Reed, the burly slugger who’s a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award as the college national player of the year, has reached an agreement on a contract with the Astros, he told MLB.com on Monday. He was taken with the first pick of the second round (42nd overall).

Reed, a 6-foot-4, 240-pound left-hander, was a two-way star at Kentucky as a pitcher and a hitter, but Houston drafted as a hitter. He said he’ll be in Houston on Wednesday to sign his deal and take a physical.

“I’m excited,” he told MLB.com. “I’m glad the whole process is over and I’m excited to get out here and start over.”

Reed led the nation in homers (23), slugging (.735) and OPS (1.211), while ranking as the Southeastern Conference leader, and fourth in the NCAA, in pitching victories (12). Reed hit .336 with 18 doubles, one triple, 73 RBIs, 49 walks and a .476 on-base percentage while posting a 2.09 ERA as the Wildcats’ Friday night starter.

“I’m ready to play that full year,” he said. “The past couple of summers, I didn’t really hit that much, just kind of pitched. I’m ready to see what it’s like playing that 60-game college season and player another 70, 80 games in the summer and fall. I’m anxious to see how I respond to that and what it takes to do that.”

Reed was asked if he would miss pitching.

“I don’t know if that’s something I can tell right now,” he said. “I’m excited that I finally can focus on one area.”

In his storied three-year career, Reed has a .306 average in 172 games, with 35 doubles, three triples, 40 homers and 168 RBIs, with a .559 slugging percentage and a .415 on-base percentage. On the mound, Reed — a first-team All-America selection — has a 19-13 record with a 2.83 ERA in 248 innings, allowing just 53 walks and striking out 174.

MLB.com previously reported the Astros had agreed to terms with ninth-round pick Bryan Radziewski, a left-handed pitcher from the University of Miami, eighth-round pick Bobby Boyd, a center fielder from West Virginia University, and 10th-round pick Jay Gause, a right-handed pitcher from Faulkner University in Alabama.

Astros’ sixth-round pick Brock Dykxhoorn, a right-handed pitcher from Central Arizona College, said Saturday he had agreed to a signing bonus and was sorting out the final details of the contract.

Astros reach agreement with third-round pick Davis

The Astros have reached an agreement with third-round pick, Cal State-Fullerton two-way standout J.D. Davis. He was the first pick of the second day of the First-Year Player Draft, taken at No. 75 overall.

Davis will receive a bonus of $748,600, which is the assigned pick value for that selection. He will report to short-season Tri-City later this week. Davis was a hitter and pitcher in college, but will play third base in the Astros system.

“I’m pretty excited,” he told MLB.com. “I just can’t believe it’s finally here. I got drafted three years ago and it didn’t work out, and now it’s finally come true. I can’t wait to get out there and be a part of the Astros organization.”

Davis, a 6-foot-3, 215-pound right-hander, led Fullerton with a batting average of .338, a slugging percentage of .523 and an on-base percentage of .419. He also led the team with 53 strikeouts and 32 walks.

“J.D. Davis was one of our favorite players in the draft this year,” scouting director Mike Elias said the day he was drafted. “He’s one of the best power bats available in the top three rounds of the draft. We love his swing. We think he can play third base.”

In Fullerton’s NCAA Tournament game against Nebraska, Davis hit a two-out, eighth-inning grand slam in a 5-1 victory. Fullerton was later eliminated by No. 1 seed Oklahoma State. Davis was named to the 2014 NCAA Stillwater Regional All-Tournament Team as the designated hitter.

MLB.com previously reported the Astros had agreed to terms with ninth-round pick Bryan Radziewski, a left-handed pitcher from the University of Miami, eighth-round pick Bobby Boyd, a center fielder from West Virginia University, and 10th-round pick Jay Gause, a right-handed pitcher from Faulkner University in Alabama.

Astros’ sixth-round pick Brock Dykxhoorn, a right-handed pitcher from Central Arizona College, said Saturday he had agreed to a signing bonus and was sorting out the final details of the contract.

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