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Family, friends await Astros prospect in Canada

Toro among storylines as club heads north of border to face Jays
@brianmctaggart
August 29, 2019

HOUSTON – This weekend’s series against the Blue Jays will be a homecoming of sorts for Astros rookie infielder Abraham Toro, who was born in a suburb of Montreal. His parents moved to Canada from Venezuela shortly before he was born. He can speak French, Spanish and English. Toro, who

HOUSTON – This weekend’s series against the Blue Jays will be a homecoming of sorts for Astros rookie infielder Abraham Toro, who was born in a suburb of Montreal. His parents moved to Canada from Venezuela shortly before he was born. He can speak French, Spanish and English.

Toro, who was called up earlier this month, said several members of his family, including his mother and sister, will make the 5 1/2-hour drive from Montreal to see his return to his home country. The Astros play in Toronto for a three-game series beginning Friday at Rogers Centre.

He'll have something to brag about after hitting his first Major League home run in the ninth inning of the Astros' 9-8 loss to the Rays in Thursday's series finale.

“It’s going to be great to see my family and friends,” said Toro, who is ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Astros' No. 6 prospect. “Some of my friends sent me the [Astros] schedule and said, ‘Hey, I’m going to be in Toronto,’ and I said, ‘Why Toronto?’ I looked at the schedule and said, ‘Oh, that’s nice.’ I didn’t even know at first.”

Toro played at Rogers Centre when he was 15 years old during the Tournament 12, which is a national amateur baseball tournament held each September that showcases an opportunity for the best 150 amateur players from Canada. Other than seeing his friends and family, Toro is looking forward to a return to Canada for other reasons.

“I would say going to Tim Hortons,” he said. “That’s one of my spots in the offseason.”

The series will also mark a return to Toronto for relief pitcher Joe Biagini, who was traded from the Blue Jays a month ago along with Aaron Sanchez for outfielder Derek Fisher. Sanchez is on the injured list and won’t travel. Lourdes Gurriel Jr., the brother of Astros slugger Yuli Gurriel, is on the injured list with a quad strain.

Astros Hall of Famer Craig Biggio will be in Toronto this weekend to watch the series, which will feature his son, Blue Jays infielder/outfielder Cavan Biggio, who made his Major League debut in May.

Worth noting

• Hard-throwing right-hander Josh James is scheduled to pitch Thursday in what could be his final Triple-A rehab outing. That means he could be activated from the injured list when rosters expand on Sunday. James has been out since July 23 with right shoulder soreness.

• Sanchez (right pectoral soreness) and Brad Peacock (right shoulder discomfort) won’t travel with the team to Toronto this weekend and aren’t playing catch. Once they start playing catch, the Astros will have a better timeline for their return. No update on their condition is expected until next week.

• Shortstop Carlos Correa, on the IL since Aug. 20 with back discomfort, has yet to start swinging a bat and won’t travel to Toronto.

• All-Star reliever Ryan Pressly, who had surgery on his right knee last week, is doing “quite well,” manager AJ Hinch said, and he could start some soft throwing without torquing his knee to keep his arm strength up. That will happen this weekend.

• Hinch said Double-A manager Omar Lopez will join the Astros as an extra coach when the club returns home next week. Triple-A manager Mickey Storey, whose team could be in the Pacific Coast League playoffs, will also be with the club at some point later next month.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.