Hinch: Marisnick not ready for WS roster spot

Astros outfielder needs more time in return from fractured thumb

October 24th, 2017

LOS ANGELES -- Astros outfielder , who fractured his right thumb on Sept. 13, won't be healthy enough to be added to the team's World Series roster, manager A.J. Hinch said Monday. Marisnick has been throwing a baseball for about a week, but he hasn't made enough progress health-wise.

The Astros will meet the Dodgers in Game 1 of the World Series presented by YouTube TV on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium.

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"He'll be an injury fill-in, if needed," Hinch said. "Right now, there's not enough time to get him ready, enough for us to feel comfortable, especially in a National League game. His thumb is healed, he's throwing, he's feeling good. He hasn't hit enough to be an option off the bench in a National League-style game. And if needed, we're going to have to play four of those."

Gear up for the World Series

That bodes well for outfielder , who was on the roster for the first two rounds of the postseason, but hasn't seen much action. The Astros aren't expected to make any additional changes to their roster, which has to be set by Tuesday morning.

Marisnick hit .243 in the regular season, but he set highs with 16 homers and 35 RBIs while playing Gold Glove-caliber defense in the outfield.

Morton, McCullers up next

With and set to start the first two games of the World Series, respectively, Hinch said right-handers Charlie Morton and , who combined to shut out the Yankees in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series presented by Camping World on Saturday, would start Games 3 and 4 in some order.

"I need to gather and get the order done and see how Games 1 and 2 go," Hinch said Monday.

Morton threw five scoreless innings in the 4-0 win over the Yankees in Game 7, with McCullers throwing four more scoreless frames in relief. Morton is 1-1 with a 6.23 ERA in three starts this postseason, and he had allowed nine runs in eight innings in his first two starts prior to Saturday.

McCullers threw three innings in relief in Game 4 of the AL Division Series presented by Doosan against Boston on Oct. 8 before holding the Yankees to one run and two hits in six innings in Game 3 of the ALCS on Tuesday at Yankee Stadium.

SoCal connections

Several Astros players have strong ties to Southern California, and they will have family and friends in the stands for Games 1 and 2 of the World Series at Dodger Stadium. That includes relief pitcher , who's from Orange County, and reliever Joe Musgrove, who's from the San Diego area.

"I have a lot of family and a lot of friends that are trying to get tickets and scrambling right now," Musgrove said. "I have my immediate family who I want to be here, and I'm trying to get as many of my close friends and relatives here that I can, but obviously it's really hard without spending a fortune. I have a lot of friends who are working and are going to make the trip up here, and even to Houston."

Devenski said his immediate family, some friends and a couple of coaches will make the trip, and that's typically the same group that comes to see him play when the Astros are in Anaheim to face the Angels.

"The phone's been blowing up, but I put it on silent," Devenski said. "I just know who my circle is and who's important to me."

Kiké praises Astros owner

Dodgers utility player Enrique "Kiké" Hernandez, who crushed three homers in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series against the Cubs, has a deep fondness for the Astros, who drafted and developed him before trading him shortly after he made his big league debut in Houston in 2014. More importantly, Hernandez said he has a special place in his heart for Astros owner Jim Crane.

When Crane sent a plane to Puerto Rico in the days following the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria, Hernandez's family was among those who were able to be flown to the mainland. Hernandez said as he explored options to get his family over, he was told commercial flights wouldn't be available for weeks.

"I don't know exactly how it got arranged," Hernandez said. "I know that [Carlos] Beltran's wife reached out to all the wives and girlfriends for the players in the [World Baseball Classic], and he said, 'Hey, they're sending this plane and are going to be bringing some people back.'

"Right away, I called my parents and let them know, and my fiancée did the same thing. I'm extremely thankful that was the way they're doing it. ... What Jim Crane did, he's always going to have a special place in my heart."


Different feeling for Fields

Dodgers reliever Josh Fields, who was with the Astros from 2013 until midway through last year, has flourished with the Dodgers this year, posting a 2.84 ERA in 57 regular-season outings while striking out 60 batters in 57 innings. He's appeared in only three games in the postseason, throwing one scoreless inning.

Fields, whom the Astros acquired in the Rule 5 Draft from the Red Sox prior to the 2013 season, was traded to the Dodgers on Aug. 1, 2016, in exchange for Minor League outfielder Yordan Alvarez, who represented the Astros in the All-Star Futures Game last year.

"It's different," Fields said. "I played with a lot of these guys the last several years. It's going to be fun. It's going to be an intense series for sure."

Worth noting

• Veteran pitcher Mike Fiers, who's not on the Astros' postseason roster but has been with the team, has fond memories of Houston's previous series against the Dodgers in 2015, when the Astros swept them at Minute Maid Park. Fiers threw a no-hitter against the Dodgers on Aug. 21, 2015.

"You'll always remember that every day pretty much," he said. "It's with you. Playing the Dodgers, a lot of new guys on this team, but it's a big accomplishment for me."

• How much confidence did bench coach Alex Cora have that the Astros were going to win Games 6 and 7 of the ALCS against the Yankees? McCullers said when the team woke up Friday morning prior to Game 6, Cora had sent the 10-day forecast for Los Angeles.

"It was good until I saw it was going to be 100-something degrees," McCullers joked.

• Astros shortstop said he gave the jersey he wore in the Game 7 win over the Yankees on Saturday to his father, who would simulate World Series games with a young Carlos back in their native Puerto Rico.

"Now I get to live it and be part of it," Correa said. "I can't even believe I'm going to the World Series with the team that drafted me. At 23 years old, I feel blessed and I'm very thankful to be here. I can't wait to be part of my first World Series."