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Astros stand pat, count on players returning

Club waiting on COVID test results in advance of Rangers series
@brianmctaggart
August 31, 2020

HOUSTON -- The Trade Deadline passed Monday afternoon without the Astros making any moves under first-year general manager James Click, who said he had conversations with several clubs about adding both pitchers and hitters. Ultimately, the Astros decided stand pat with hopes of welcoming back key injured players over the

HOUSTON -- The Trade Deadline passed Monday afternoon without the Astros making any moves under first-year general manager James Click, who said he had conversations with several clubs about adding both pitchers and hitters. Ultimately, the Astros decided stand pat with hopes of welcoming back key injured players over the final four weeks of the regular season.

“We weren't going to make a move just to make a move,” Click said. “We were going to make a move if we thought that helped us put ourselves in a better position to win a World Series. And at the end of the day, I just couldn't line up something that we thought was reasonable both for the current team and the permanent franchise overall.”

Click said about 60 percent of the conversations he had leading up to the Deadline centered around pitching, which is no surprise considering the number of injuries the Astros have endured this year. Ace Justin Verlander, starter Jose Urquidy, closer Roberto Osuna and key relievers Brad Peacock, Josh James, Chris Devenski and Austin Pruitt have missed extended time, but there’s hope Urquidy, Peacock and Devenski could return soon. The team hasn’t ruled out Verlander, James or Osuna returning, either.

“You don't want to count those guys as your Trade Deadline additions, but at the same time we have to make sure that anybody that we added today would have a fit on this roster, even when we get all those reinforcements back,” Click said.

Click has been pleased with how the younger players unexpectedly pressed into key roles have performed, including Enoli Paredes, Blake Taylor and Andre Scrubb in the bullpen and Kyle Tucker at the plate. Cristian Javier and Framber Valdez weren’t expected to be in the rotation to start the year but have pitched well.

“That was one of the big reasons there were not moves made today, was watching these kids step up and grow into these high-pressure roles, get those big hits, get those big outs,” he said. “Like I said, that just raises the bar for entry, and we're excited about the team we have, we're excited about the guys that are coming back. And we think we're in prime position to compete for a World Series going forward.”

Astros awaiting test results
Click said Monday the Astros were still awaiting the results from COVID-19 tests performed Sunday morning after the club learned a member of the Oakland A’s traveling party tested positive for the virus, which forced the postponement of Sunday’s series finale at Minute Maid Park. The Astros are scheduled to play the Rangers in a three-game series beginning Tuesday in Houston.

“We want to make that decision as soon as possible,” Click said. “So we are having active conversations with our doctors and our infectious disease specialists on what we need to do to make sure that we can play this game tomorrow safely. Those questions are almost entirely about the testing results. So as soon as we have those, we'll know exactly what we're doing.”

Oakland’s series against the Mariners that was scheduled to begin Tuesday has been postponed through Wednesday. The A’s conducted testing and contact tracing for the entire traveling party in line with MLB protocols, and all members of the A’s traveling party were to remain at a hotel in Houston through Monday night to await results.

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