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Marisnick placed on DL; Tucker recalled

Springer could return during upcoming road trip
MLB.com

HOUSTON -- The Astros placed Jake Marisnick on the 10-day disabled list on Saturday, after the center fielder pulled up abruptly with a left groin injury in the seventh inning of Friday's 5-2 loss to the Mariners at Minute Maid Park.

As George Springer's reliable defensive backup, Marisnick slashed a double to left field and felt the groin issue when sprinting out of the batter's box en route to second base.

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HOUSTON -- The Astros placed Jake Marisnick on the 10-day disabled list on Saturday, after the center fielder pulled up abruptly with a left groin injury in the seventh inning of Friday's 5-2 loss to the Mariners at Minute Maid Park.

As George Springer's reliable defensive backup, Marisnick slashed a double to left field and felt the groin issue when sprinting out of the batter's box en route to second base.

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"It's kind of just something that grabbed me a little bit," Marisnick said after Friday's game. "It's more something that scares you [more] than it's painful. With where we're at, they felt it was better to get me out of there than pressing."

The Astros recalled Kyle Tucker, the club's No. 2 overall prospect according to MLB Pipeline, to replace Marisnick on the 25-man active roster and aid an injured outfield.

"Rather than wait a couple days, which you wish you could always do, we decided to make a move," Astros manager AJ Hinch said.

The Astros have two off-days over the next 10 days (Monday and Thursday), so instead of keeping Marisnick active during games he wouldn't play because of the injury, the Astros brought back Tucker, who will be in Sunday's lineup. Hinch said he's unsure if Marisnick's stint will be a minimum of 10 days.

"So if it is minor and it's only a short time [on the DL], at least we have a full team for the time that Jake's out," Hinch said. "Tuck comes back. He had gone down and played pretty well in Triple-A. He will be in there tomorrow."

After his ballyhooed Major League debut on July 7, Tucker made all of his outfield appearances in left field and batted just .156 during a 16-game stint. Tucker, however, is raking in Triple-A since Aug. 1. Tucker is 13-for-34 (.382) with a 1.093 OPS in eight games since his demotion to Fresno on Aug. 1.

Watch: MiLB Video

While Tucker's addition adds a left fielder, the Astros are likely to go with the combo of Tony Kemp and Derek Fisher in center field. Fisher was recalled from Fresno to replace Springer (left thumb sprain) when he was placed on the 10-day DL on Monday.

Worth noting
• Springer took swings in a batting cage on Saturday, Hinch said. Springer has now hit in a batting cage twice and the Astros plan to be more aggressive with his batting practice Monday and/or Tuesday. The club is targeting the end of next week for his return. Springer is eligible to return from the DL on Thursday, the Astros' off-day before a nine-game road trip to Oakland, Seattle and Anaheim.

Christian Boutwell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston.

Houston Astros, Jake Marisnick, Kyle Tucker

Astros place Devenski on 10-day DL

No. 4 prospect Perez called up from Triple-A Fresno
MLB.com

LOS ANGELES -- The Astros placed relief pitcher Chris Devenski on the 10-day disabled list Friday with left hamstring tightness, retroactive to Tuesday. Rookie left-hander Cionel Perez, Houston's No. 4 prospect per MLB Pipeline, was called up from Triple-A Fresno for his second stint with the big league club.

Devenski, an All-Star last year, has pitched only twice since July 14, and both outings were rough. He failed to record an out either time, allowing a combined eight earned runs and seven hits with no strikeouts in blowout losses to the Angels (July 22) and the Rangers (July 27).

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LOS ANGELES -- The Astros placed relief pitcher Chris Devenski on the 10-day disabled list Friday with left hamstring tightness, retroactive to Tuesday. Rookie left-hander Cionel Perez, Houston's No. 4 prospect per MLB Pipeline, was called up from Triple-A Fresno for his second stint with the big league club.

Devenski, an All-Star last year, has pitched only twice since July 14, and both outings were rough. He failed to record an out either time, allowing a combined eight earned runs and seven hits with no strikeouts in blowout losses to the Angels (July 22) and the Rangers (July 27).

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"Devenski has had on-and-off hamstring soreness for a little while coming out of the [All-Star] break," Astros manager AJ Hinch said. "We felt it was affecting his pitching and the ball wasn't coming quite out [of his hand] the way it normally does. He's never one to tell us, never one to not want to take the ball. I talked to him a ton in Seattle and he's not quite himself and 100 percent." 

Hinch said Devenski would take off the rest of the road trip, which ends Tuesday in San Francisco, to make sure the soreness subsides. For the season, Devenski is 2-2 with a 4.19 ERA in 42 games.

Video: OAK@HOU: Perez fans Davis to notch 1st career K

Correa 'excited' after first rehab
Hinch said shortstop Carlos Correa was scheduled to take Friday off after playing seven innings at shortstop and getting three at-bats Thursday for Double-A Corpus Christi in Frisco, Texas, in his first rehab outing since going on the disabled list in late June with back soreness.

"I texted him last night to see how he felt," Hinch said. "He was excited."

Correa, who struck out twice and grounded into a double play Thursday for the Hooks, will play back-to-back games Saturday and Sunday. He'll probably take another day off Monday and play on Tuesday as he continues to inch forward toward a return.

"But the first day of playing seven innings of real baseball, on his feet, made a couple of good defensive plays, according to Omar Lopez, his manager," Hinch said. "All positive signs."

Altuve out for the weekend
Hinch ruled All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve, who's nursing a right knee, out for this weekend's series against the Dodgers. Altuve could come off the 10-day disabled list as early as Sunday, but he has yet to resume any baseball drills on the field.

"I'm not completely confident that he'll be back in San Francisco [on Monday and Tuesday]," Hinch said. "All signs are going positive. It's a slow process. Until we can run him and get him taxed a little bit, we're not going to know a ton. We may do it tomorrow; we may do it Sunday. We hope to do it here in L.A. to give him a test."

Altuve left the July 25 game against the Rockies after his knee began to bother him. He still leads the Majors in hits (134) despite missing more than a week of action. He's hitting .329 with nine homers and 46 RBIs in 104 games this year.

Odds and ends
• Veteran catcher Brian McCann rejoined the club Friday in Los Angeles to continue his rehab. For the first time since he had surgery a month ago to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee, McCann was able to do some squatting, Hinch said. He also hit on the field Friday, and Hinch said he's optimistic he's past his issues and now needs to build up strength so he can do more things.

• Reliever Roberto Osuna, acquired Monday in a trade with the Blue Jays, pitched a scoreless sixth inning Friday night for Double-A Corpus Christi. Osuna faced four batters, allowed one hit, recorded one strikeout and threw 18 pitches. He was scheduled to join the club for Sunday's series finale at Dodger Stadium. 

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

Houston Astros, Chris Devenski

Astros acquire Osuna from Blue Jays

Reliever currently serving 75-game suspension under Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse policy
MLB.com

SEATTLE -- Before finalizing the deal to acquire All-Star closer Roberto Osuna from the Blue Jays, Astros president of baseball operations and general manager Jeff Luhnow said the club performed "unprecedented" due diligence, including asking for permission to speak directly to Osuna, as well as reaching out to several members of his own team.

As news of the trade, which was announced Monday, started to spread, Astros manager AJ Hinch also gathered his team for a meeting in the visitor's clubhouse at Safeco Field prior to the game against the Mariners to address the trade, in which the Astros acquired Osuna in exchange for right-handed pitchers Ken Giles, David Paulino and Hector Perez, all of whom are in the Minor Leagues.

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SEATTLE -- Before finalizing the deal to acquire All-Star closer Roberto Osuna from the Blue Jays, Astros president of baseball operations and general manager Jeff Luhnow said the club performed "unprecedented" due diligence, including asking for permission to speak directly to Osuna, as well as reaching out to several members of his own team.

As news of the trade, which was announced Monday, started to spread, Astros manager AJ Hinch also gathered his team for a meeting in the visitor's clubhouse at Safeco Field prior to the game against the Mariners to address the trade, in which the Astros acquired Osuna in exchange for right-handed pitchers Ken Giles, David Paulino and Hector Perez, all of whom are in the Minor Leagues.

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Osuna is currently working on a rehab assignment while serving a 75-game suspension under the MLB-MLBPA Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse policy. His suspension will end Sunday. Osuna is also still facing domestic assault charges in Canada for alleged crimes against his girlfriend.

Osuna, 23, will join the Astros in Los Angeles on Sunday, when he's expected to address his new teammates. The Astros will make a corresponding 25-man roster move at that time.

"We did a lot of work on this deal over the course of not just the past few days, but past weeks," Luhnow said. "We are confident the player understands the magnitude of what he's been charged with and is remorseful about what has occurred and proactively has taken steps to address any of his past behavior …

"We do feel like the Houston Astros and the city of Houston will provide Roberto with an environment that will enable him to get a fresh start and get back to focusing on pitching and hopefully help us win going forward. And also allow him to continue down the path he is on right now towards putting what happened behind him and making sure that nothing like this ever happens like this again in the future, which we all hope is the right outcome."

Video: Jeff Luhnow on giving Roberto Osuna a second chance

Luhnow said the Astros support Major League Baseball's policies regarding domestic violence and referenced the case of Minor League outfielder Danry Vasquez, who was released by the club in 2016 after the team obtained video of him assaulting a woman at Double-A Corpus Christi.

When the video was released in March, Astros pitchers Justin Verlander and Lance McCullers Jr. took to Twitter to express disgust with Vasquez. Verlander held his ground Monday when asked about acquiring Osuna.

"It's a tough situation," he said. "I think the thing for us to remember here is that the details haven't come to light. We don't know the whole story. Obviously, I've said some pretty some inflammatory things about stuff like this in the past and I stand by my words, but I think with an ongoing case as is this one, it's kind of see what happens. It will be interesting. I think he plans to talk with us when he gets here, and we'll go from there and see what happens."

Video: Verlander, McHugh, Correa on Osuna acquisition

Hinch spoke to Osuna and Blue Jays manager John Gibbons after the deal was made. He said he addressed the team to let them know Luhnow and Osuna would be in Los Angeles for this weekend's series against the Dodgers and they would "get together as a family would" to help incorporate Osuna into the team.

"From the baseball side, it's hard to argue there's a [better] young reliever who's been dominant in his career and has been very good at the back end of games," Hinch said. "That comes with some extra topics we're going to have to address as a team. As we get to know him and know the situation, we'll know more about it."

Hinch said Osuna was "very excited" and "very appreciate of the organization" for giving him an opportunity.

"He was very thankful to me, to Jeff, to anybody involved," Hinch said. "He just wanted to say 'thank you' 10 or 12 different times. It was a 'yes sir,' 'no sir' conversation. It was very respectful. He was very remorseful for being a distraction on his first entrance on a team, but he can't wait to get started."

Video: Hinch discusses trade for Roberto Osuna

Luhnow said one of the pre-conditions before finalizing the trade was having an opportunity to speak to Osuna, whom he had never met before. He asked Toronto for permission, and the two had a lengthy conversation. He wouldn't disclose the details of what they talked about it.

"But suffice it to say, I came out of that conversation with what I wanted to accomplish," he said. "I wanted to get to understand Roberto as a person a little bit more and hear more about his thoughts, where he was today, what his plans are for the future, what he plans to do when he gets to Houston. All the things I was looking to hear from him, I did. I was very happy with that conversation."

Luhnow also reached out personally to several of Osuna's former teammates, friends and acquaintances to get a better picture of him as a person. He also said he took the temperature of several members of his clubhouse to get their assessment. Shortstop Carlos Correa said six-time All-Star Jose Altuve was one of those consulted.

"Some of those are steps we would have taken for any player but because the situation was more charged and we knew it was going to be more controversial, we wanted to be sure as best we could we were making the best decision," Luhnow said. "We understand there's going to be a lot of people that don't agree with this decision and we understand that and appreciate that, and we wanted to go the extra mile that if we were to acquire this player that we felt as good about it as we possibly can given the circumstances."

Before his arrest in early May, Osuna was widely regarded as one of the game's most exciting and valuable young relief pitchers. A native of Mexico, he joins the Astros after a four-year start to his career with the Blue Jays, including an All-Star appearance in 2017. This season, Osuna appeared in 15 games for the Blue Jays, posting nine saves and a 2.93 ERA.

"I am excited to join the Houston Astros and move forward with a fresh start to my career," Osuna said in a statement released by Houston. "The positive character of my new teammates is a big reason for their success and I look forward to bringing a positive contribution to this great group of guys as we work towards many more winning seasons. I thank Jeff Luhnow and the entire Astros organization for believing in me -- I will not let them down."

Hinch said Osuna will throw in a Minor League game later this week at Double-A or Triple-A before joining the team Sunday at Dodger Stadium.

Giles, the hard-throwing former closer who struggled to find consistency in Houston, was sent to Triple-A earlier this month after TV cameras caught him using a curse word directed at Hinch while being removed from a game. In May, Giles punched himself in the face while walking off the mound after giving up four runs against the Yankees.

After coming to Houston in a seven-player trade in December 2015 that included the Astros sending former No. 1 overall pick Mark Appel to the Phillies, Giles never found his footing in Houston. He appeared in 166 games with the Astros and had 61 saves and a 3.57 ERA.

"The success he had with us was really important for our ascent to the World Series title," Hinch said. "He's had some blowups and needs a fresh start and will get that in Toronto. He's a good Major League pitcher. He had his peaks and valleys with us, but I don't know we get to the World Series without them last year."

On Friday, the Astros acquired relief pitcher Ryan Pressly from the Twins in exchange for a pair of prospects. The Astros added Pressly and Osuna to a bullpen that currently includes Hector Rondon, Will Harris, Chris Devenski, Collin McHugh, Brad Peacock, Joe Smith and Tony Sipp. One of them likely won't be with the club on Sunday.

"There's decisions to be made moving forward," Hinch said.

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

Houston Astros, Roberto Osuna

Top prospect Whitley could join September mix

RHP close to returning from oblique injury at Double-A
MLB.com

HOUSTON -- The Astros hope to have the conversation about right-hander Forrest Whitley's Major League debut in September.

Among the many different looks the Astros' roster could have in the final month of the regular season, there's a version of the defending World Series champions that could feature Whitley, the club's top prospect according to MLB Pipeline's latest rankings.

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HOUSTON -- The Astros hope to have the conversation about right-hander Forrest Whitley's Major League debut in September.

Among the many different looks the Astros' roster could have in the final month of the regular season, there's a version of the defending World Series champions that could feature Whitley, the club's top prospect according to MLB Pipeline's latest rankings.

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Whitley was placed on the Minor League disabled list July 9 with a strained oblique and was originally expected to miss several weeks.

"He's progressing well and we are expecting him to be back on the original time frame," Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said on Friday. "He'll be back. He'll be pitching. Hopefully he'll be pitching well and be a guy that we can at least have a conversation about to bring him up here in September."

Kyle Tucker, the Astros' highly regarded rookie outfielder and No. 2 prospect who Luhnow believes will be a "cornerstone" in the clubhouse for the future, is batting .154 with six hits in 43 big league plate appearances since his debut July 7.

Video: HOU@COL: Tucker hits a clutch pinch-hit, 2-run triple

MLB Pipeline released the updated re-rankings for the Astros' top 30 prospects this week. Some notes:

• The organization has three players ranked in the top 100 overall prospects: Whitley (No. 7), Tucker (8) and outfielder Yordan Alvarez (42).

• No. 4 prospect Cionel Perez, who was optioned Friday to make room for incoming reliever Ryan Pressly following a trade with the Twins, made four relief appearances for the Astros after his debut on July 11.

• The biggest jump? Right-hander Josh James, a Triple-A Fresno pitcher who went from unranked to No. 6 in the Astros' farm system.

• The biggest drop? Hard-throwing righty David Paulino went from No. 8 to 23. Paulino made nine career appearances split from 2016-17 with the Astros before being dealt an 80-game suspension last season for performance-enhancing substance use. Paulino was recently sent from Triple-A to the Astros' Gulf Coast League affiliate, a stint that began in early June.

Hinch featured speaker at luncheon
Astros manager AJ Hinch was the special guest and featured speaker at an annual luncheon on Saturday that awards scholarship funds to local student athletes who are either heading to college or already in the middle of their college careers.

The Texas Italian American Sports Foundation has been awarding scholarships since 1982, and to date, more than $600,000 has been distributed. That includes $19,000 this year, awarded to athletes from a variety of sports, including baseball, soccer, lacrosse, football, volleyball and swimming.

Speaking to the student-athletes about setting goals, Hinch remembered a conversation he had with Astros second baseman Jose Altuve prior to the 2015 season, soon after Hinch was hired.

Altuve, Hinch recalled, told him he's a "goal-oriented guy." He told Hinch he'd won a batting title, and a Silver Slugger Award, but never a Gold Glove and never a World Series.

"I said, 'OK, well, let's do both,'" Hinch said.

Altuve won the Gold Glove in '15, and the Astros, of course, won the championship two years later.

"This team really does want to do special things," Hinch said. "We're going to see different managers come through, different players come through, different coaches come through. But what doesn't change is when we wear the Astros' uniform, what it should mean to the players, the coaches, the fans. Now the bar is set for winning, and hopefully it's that way for the next decade plus."

Several Astros personalities attended the luncheon, including former TV broadcaster Bill Brown, who emceed the event, radio announcer Robert Ford, television announcer Todd Kalas and AT&T SportsNet reporter/host Julia Morales. The guest list also included Enos Cabell, who currently works for the Astros, and Tim Purpura, former GM of the club.

The event also honored the memory of longtime TIASF supporter Dennis Liborio, the former Astros clubhouse manager who passed away this week. A segment of the scholarships were named after him, and the organization has set up a fund to donate to the program in his memory at tiasf.org.

Christian Boutwell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston. Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.

Houston Astros, Forrest Whitley

7 contenders with prospects to make a big deal

MLB.com

At this time of year, when buyers are competing to bolster their rosters for the stretch run and sellers are looking to next season and beyond, arguably nothing is more important than the prospects contenders have -- and are willing -- to trade.

While much attention is paid to the top name or two in each team's farm system, depth matters too.

At this time of year, when buyers are competing to bolster their rosters for the stretch run and sellers are looking to next season and beyond, arguably nothing is more important than the prospects contenders have -- and are willing -- to trade.

While much attention is paid to the top name or two in each team's farm system, depth matters too.

Catch up on the Latest Trade Talk

Just look at the Dodgers, who were able to acquire Manny Machado from the Orioles without giving up their top two prospects, outfielder Alex Verdugo (No. 29 overall, per MLB Pipeline) and catcher Keibert Ruiz (No. 38 overall). They also held onto right-hander Dustin May (No. 83 overall), whom Baltimore reportedly coveted.

And yet, Los Angeles' five-player package, which was headlined by outfielder Yusniel Diaz, was enough to get a deal done. Diaz was the Dodgers' No. 4 prospect at the time of the trade, and he now tops the O's system while ranking 57th overall.

:: Complete prospect coverage ::

So which clubs are in the best position to make a trade like that between now and Tuesday's 4 p.m. ET non-waiver Trade Deadline? Here are seven teams with the prospects to swing a summer blockbuster, ordered based on the number of prospects they have on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 list.

Note: Prospect Points are determined by assigning a numerical value to each spot in the Top 100, giving 100 points to No. 1, 99 points to No. 2, and so on. A team's total is calculated by adding the values assigned to each of its Top 100 prospects.

1. Braves
Top 100 prospects (8): Right-hander Mike Soroka (No. 15 overall, per MLB Pipeline), right-hander Kyle Wright (No. 25), right-hander Ian Anderson (No. 40), third baseman Austin Riley (No. 44), catcher Cristian Pache (No. 58), left-hander Luiz Gohara (No. 63), right-hander Touki Toussaint (No. 78), left-hander Kolby Allard (No. 93)
Prospect Points ranking: 3rd
The Braves' system is stacked, as the club has four more prospects in the Top 100 than any other team on this list. With Atlanta in rebuilding mode over the past several years, the club hasn't made a major Trade Deadline acquisition since Michael Bourn in 2011, and that was under a different regime. Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos was at the helm in Toronto when the Blue Jays picked up David Price from the Tigers for Matthew Boyd, Daniel Norris and Jairo Labourt in July '15, but Anthopoulos has expressed his reluctance to trade young assets for a rental player this time around. If the Braves do deal from their wealth of Top 100 prospects, it will likely be for controllable talent. They are believed to be in the market for relief help and have also been linked to Toronto starter Marcus Stroman, who is under team control through '20.

2. Yankees
Top 100 prospects (4): Left-hander Justus Sheffield (No. 28 overall), outfielder Estevan Florial (No. 47), right-hander Jonathan Loaisiga (No. 77), right-hander Albert Abreu (No. 79)
Prospect Points ranking: 12th
The Yankees' farm system remains among the best in the game without even taking into account Gleyber Torres and Clint Frazier, who have both lost their prospect status. The club's system has also been heralded for its depth, even beyond the players in the Top 100. Though the Yankees made a bid for Machado and have discussed Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard with the Mets, general manager Brian Cashman seemingly has been hesitant to raid the farm for a big-name player. New York has already acquired Zach Britton and J.A. Happ without moving any Top 100 prospects, and there's a chance it won't make any other major moves, even with Aaron Judge sustaining a chip fracture in his right wrist on Thursday and the Yankees sitting 4 1/2 games behind the Red Sox in the American League East entering Friday.

Video: Yankees acquire J.A. Happ

3. Dodgers
Top 100 prospects (4): Verdugo, Ruiz, catcher/third baseman Will Smith (No. 74 overall), May
Prospect Points ranking: 11th
Yep, even after acquiring Yu Darvish last July and Machado on July 18, the Dodgers still possess an impressive collection of youngsters in the Minors. But it remains to be seen if president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and general manager Farhan Zaidi are looking to make another big transaction. On one hand, the Dodgers' World Series window is open now, and adding a big-name pitcher such as deGrom or Chris Archer could be the move that brings home a title. Furthermore, it would give the club an insurance policy if Clayton Kershaw decides to opt out of his contract in the offseason. On the other hand, the Dodgers have an incredibly deep roster, six healthy starters and a bullpen that could get Josh Fields and Tony Cingrani back from the disabled list soon.

4. Phillies
Top 100 prospects (3): Right-hander Sixto Sanchez (No. 17 overall), third baseman Alec Bohm (No. 46), right-hander Adonis Medina (No. 73)
Prospect Points ranking: 14th
Another surprise contender in the National League East, the Phillies have been consistently featured in Trade Talk throughout July, and their reported willingness to part with right-hander Medina made them a finalist for Machado. But after falling short in their pursuit of Machado, Philadelphia has turned its attention to lower-cost players. Meanwhile, the club has remained steadfast in its refusal to deal the crown jewel of its farm system, Sanchez, who has recorded a 2.51 ERA in Class A Advanced this season. Still, even if Sanchez remains off the table, the Phils have the pieces to make a Trade Deadline splash should the club's front office decide it is one big acquisition away from emerging as the favorite in a wide-open NL.

5. Brewers
Top 100 prospects (3): Second baseman Keston Hiura (No. 27 overall), right-hander Corbin Burnes (No. 53), right-hander Freddy Peralta (No. 82)
Prospect Points ranking: 17th
Milwaukee was a Trade Deadline seller in general manager David Stearns' first season in charge, sending Jonathan Lucroy and Jeremy Jeffress to the Rangers and Will Smith to the Giants in 2016, and Stearns held off on making a notable deal last July despite being in contention for the postseason. It's been a different story this year, with the Brewers landing reliever Joakim Soria and third baseman Mike Moustakas, though the highest-ranked prospect they moved in those transactions was outfielder Brett Phillips, who was 10th on Milwaukee's list before being sent to Kansas City for Moose. That leaves Stearns with a strong system to trade from as he looks to address the rotation, which remains the club's biggest area of need. Peralta has already made a significant impact in the Majors, posting a 3.74 ERA with an 11.8 K/9 rate in eight starts, so it's unlikely the Brewers would move him for another starter. Meanwhile, the belief around baseball, according to The Athletic (subscription required), is that Milwaukee won't trade Hiura, who has recorded an .868 OPS in the Minors this season. But Burnes could be in play as the headliner in a blockbuster deal.

Video: Joel Sherman on possible Trade Deadline stories

6. Astros
Top 100 prospects (3): Right-hander Forrest Whitley (No. 7 overall), outfielder Kyle Tucker (No. 8), outfielder Yordan Alvarez (No. 42)
Prospect Points ranking: 6th
After winning the 2017 World Series championship with former highly rated prospects such as Carlos Correa, George Springer, Alex Bregman and Lance McCullers Jr. playing key roles and trading for Gerrit Cole in the offseason, the Astros still have a good deal of promising youngsters on the farm. But Houston's MLB roster is so talented that the club likely won't need to move any of its top prospects for a substantial upgrade. Of course, if Astros president of baseball operations and general manager Jeff Luhnow does want to bring in, say, the Reds' Raisel Iglesias or the Marlins' J.T. Realmuto, he likely could make it happen by dangling Whitley, Tucker and/or Alvarez.

7. A's
Top 100 prospects (3): Left-hander Jesus Luzardo (No. 12 overall), left-hander A.J. Puk (No. 39), catcher Sean Murphy (No. 54)
Prospect Points ranking: 10th
Although the A's financial restrictions are well documented, executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane hasn't been averse to dipping into the farm system to make a trade when the club has been in contention in the past. In July 2014, Beane sent top prospect Addison Russell along with youngsters Billy McKinney and Dan Straily to the Cubs for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel. The A's supplemented their system by trading Sonny Gray to the Yankees and Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson to the Nationals last summer, adding Luzardo, Jorge Mateo (Oakland's No. 7 prospect), James Kaprielian (No. 9), Sheldon Neuse (No. 10) and Dustin Fowler in those deals. Luzardo may be off the table, but Beane still has plenty to work with here.

Thomas Harrigan is an editor for MLB.com.

Milwaukee Brewers, Atlanta Braves, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Oakland Athletics, Los Angeles Dodgers, Houston Astros

Astros confident Tucker will adjust to Majors

MLB.com

ANAHEIM -- The Astros don't have to reach far back in their memory bank to remember the last time a top prospect struggled in his Major League debut. Alex Bregman went 1-for-32 upon reaching the Majors in 2016 before turning into a World Series hero in '17 and Most Valuable Player in this year's All-Star Game with a 10th-inning homer.

Astros outfielder Kyle Tucker, who was taken No. 5 overall in the 2015 MLB Draft (three picks after Bregman), was off to a 4-for-31 start in his Major League career entering Saturday's game. Tucker made his debut July 7 and at 21 years old is the youngest active player in the American League. He's the No. 8-ranked prospect by MLB Pipeline.

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ANAHEIM -- The Astros don't have to reach far back in their memory bank to remember the last time a top prospect struggled in his Major League debut. Alex Bregman went 1-for-32 upon reaching the Majors in 2016 before turning into a World Series hero in '17 and Most Valuable Player in this year's All-Star Game with a 10th-inning homer.

Astros outfielder Kyle Tucker, who was taken No. 5 overall in the 2015 MLB Draft (three picks after Bregman), was off to a 4-for-31 start in his Major League career entering Saturday's game. Tucker made his debut July 7 and at 21 years old is the youngest active player in the American League. He's the No. 8-ranked prospect by MLB Pipeline.

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"He's having an adjustment period to this level," Astros manager AJ Hinch said. "He's done this at every level. He did it in A ball, he did it in Double-A, he did it in Triple-A and now in the big leagues. He's learning on the fly. They're positioning him very well and the balls he's hitting hard, he's hitting into the defense. He hasn't gotten the ball in the air as much as he's going to, and that will help him once he does that. He's seeing all these guys for the first time. It's a good reminder that it's a tough league."

Tucker showed signs of adjusting in his first at-bat of Saturday's 7-0 victory over the Angels, notching a single for the Astros' first hit off Nick Tropeano and later scoring on Yuli Gurriel's sacrifice fly. He finished the game 1-for-4 with a strikeout.

Video: HOU@LAA: Gurriel opens the scoring with a sac fly

Hinch reminisced about Mike Trout's first month in the big leagues, which wasn't smooth sailing, either. He went 7-for-43 when he made his debut in 2011 with the Angels and won AL Rookie of the Year the following season.

"This happens," Hinch said. "Trout had to be sent back down and he seemed to work out all right. Kyle needs to continue to adjust and try to contribute and play defense."

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

Houston Astros, Kyle Tucker

Top prospect Tucker earns 1st hit, RBI in debut

Starting in LF, 21-year-old singles in 4th at-bat before bases-loaded walk
MLB.com

HOUSTON -- Kyle Tucker, the next in line from among the Astros' stream of can't-miss prospects, shook off three strikeouts to begin his Major League career by coming through with a single and a bases-loaded walk in the Astros' 12-6 win over the White Sox on Saturday afternoon.

"It was awesome," Tucker said. "I had a lot of fun tonight and we came up with the win, so that makes it even better. Just being in the big leagues is awesome, especially this team."

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HOUSTON -- Kyle Tucker, the next in line from among the Astros' stream of can't-miss prospects, shook off three strikeouts to begin his Major League career by coming through with a single and a bases-loaded walk in the Astros' 12-6 win over the White Sox on Saturday afternoon.

"It was awesome," Tucker said. "I had a lot of fun tonight and we came up with the win, so that makes it even better. Just being in the big leagues is awesome, especially this team."

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The Astros called up Tucker, the No. 8 overall prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, late Friday with the intent of making him their starting left fielder. He received a huge ovation each time he stepped to the plate in his debut at Minute Maid Park, but White Sox starter James Shields struck him out three times in a row.

Video: CWS@HOU: Tucker gets warm welcome before first at-bat

Tucker lined a single to right in the seventh off reliever Bruce Rondon for his first hit and drew a bases-loaded walk in the eighth for his first Major League RBI.

"It was kind of a relief to put a ball forward after the first three strikeouts," Tucker said with a smile. "You're going to strike out at times. You're going to have some bad ABs, and bad games, and you have to grind through it and move on to the next AB."

Video: CWS@HOU: Tucker walks, plates his 1st career run

Tucker was hitting .306/.371/.520 with 14 homers and 66 RBIs in 80 games at Triple-A Fresno. Astros manager AJ Hinch said Tucker will play the corner outfield spots, but mostly left field -- a position at which the Astros have started five different players.

"There's only one first day and we've seen a lot of really good ones come up the last couple of years, at least while I've been here," Hinch said. "It's special. It takes you back to your first days. Certainly, it's an exciting day for Kyle and his family. Our team got better by adding him to the mix. We'll give him the next test in the big leagues and see where it takes him."

Video: Hinch discusses calling up Kyle Tucker to the Astros

To make room for Tucker, the Astros optioned outfielder Jake Marisnick to Triple-A Fresno for the second time this year.

Tucker, 21, has a smooth left-handed swing and continues to develop power. He figures to quickly become a part of the Astros' young core of position-player stars, including Jose Altuve, George Springer, Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman. Tucker was drafted fifth overall in the 2015 MLB Draft out of Tampa, Fla., three picks after Bregman went second overall out of LSU. They were both drafted by the Astros on the day Correa made his Major League debut.

Tweet from @astros: Looking good, @KTuck30. 😎 pic.twitter.com/yrcpl5yXvg

"First things first, he was playing really well in Triple-A and starting to push his way into the conversation over the last couple of weeks," Hinch said. "We're in an area of our schedule here where we're going to face a lot of right-handed pitching. That was important. …

"We've got to see if he can be a part of what we're doing for the season. I think he's earned the right to get the at-bats. He came up and made an incredibly strong impression in the spring and has continued that in Triple-A. He's going to get the opportunities to get some at-bats and join a team [where] he doesn't have to be the guy on. He doesn't have to carry us."

Tucker didn't play in Fresno's game Friday night against Las Vegas and was summoned to the clubhouse by a team trainer to meet with field coordinator Josh Bonifay, who delivered the news to Tucker. There were phone calls to his parents and brother -- former Astros outfielder Preston Tucker -- before catching a red-eye flight.

"It was special," Tucker said. "It's awesome just to be here and to get that news is great. I was super excited to get ready and get on the plane and come here."

Video: CWS@HOU: Tucker on MLB debut, Bregman on hot bat

Tucker didn't exhibit much excitement while meeting with the media Saturday, but that's not a surprise. He has a "calm heartbeat," Hinch said, though there's certainly some emotions underneath the surface.

"I didn't put too much pressure on [myself]," he said. "I went out and played my game in Triple-A and played as hard as I could and tried to win as many games as we could there and we're doing really well. There's guys that have gone up and down a lot. They've got a lot of talent down there. I'm happy to be here now."

Video: CWS@HOU: Tucker's family on debut, getting to Houston

In 2017, splitting time between Class A and Double-A in 2017, Tucker was named the Astros' Minor League Player of the Year after slashing .274/.346/.528 with 25 homers, 90 RBIs, 33 doubles, five triples, 70 runs scored and 21 stolen bases in 120 games. He was one of just 10 Minor Leaguers with a 20-20 season (homers and steals) and at age 20, was the youngest Minor Leaguer since Javier Baez in 2013 to hit 20 homers, steal 20 bases and knock in 90 RBIs.

Video: Kyle Tucker talks about being called up by the Astros

"His bat is his calling card," Hinch said. "He can do a lot of different things on the field but he can really hit. The only thing he hasn't answered is whether he can consistently hit at the Major League level, and that's what this is for. This is the next challenge for him."

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

Houston Astros

Whitley, Alvarez selected to Futures Game

Right-hander's participation in question due to oblique strain
MLB.com

HOUSTON -- Astros top pitching prospect Forrest Whitley has been diagnosed with a left oblique strain after his start Thursday night at Double-A Corpus Christi, general manager Jeff Luhnow said Friday. Whitley will be examined by team doctors in Houston on Monday.

Whitley, the Astros' top pitching prospect and the club's No. 2 overall prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, recorded two outs in the first inning against Arkansas on Thursday, throwing 17 pitches.

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HOUSTON -- Astros top pitching prospect Forrest Whitley has been diagnosed with a left oblique strain after his start Thursday night at Double-A Corpus Christi, general manager Jeff Luhnow said Friday. Whitley will be examined by team doctors in Houston on Monday.

Whitley, the Astros' top pitching prospect and the club's No. 2 overall prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, recorded two outs in the first inning against Arkansas on Thursday, throwing 17 pitches.

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The 2016 first-rounder has appeared in six games this season (all starts), posting an 0-1 record, a 4.29 ERA and 30 strikeouts across 21 innings for Corpus Christi after serving a 50-game suspension to start the season.

Tweet from @ChrisThomasson7: Here's higher quality video of @MLB top pitching prospect Forrest Whitley's short outing for the @CCHooks tonight before leaving hurt after just two outs. The @Astros are calling it an oblique injury.@kiii3sports @kiii3news #3SportsBlitz #Astros pic.twitter.com/l1SFJgmumx

Whitley and outfielder Yordan Alvarez, ranked by MLB.com as the Astros' No. 3 prospect, were selected to participate in the the 2018 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, which will be played at 3 p.m. CT on July 15 at Nationals Park. Alvarez will be on the World Team and Whitley was named to the U.S. Team, but his status for that event is likely now in question.

McCann eyes return this season

Days after surgery repaired a torn meniscus, Brian McCann said he expects to return during the 2018 regular season from a long-avoided procedure to repair his right knee.

McCann, 34 underwent successful arthroscopic surgery Tuesday. On Friday, in his first remarks to reporters since the procedure, McCann said he feels "100 percent" and believes he will return at some point in the regular season.

"It wasn't stable," McCann said of an injury that's sent him to the 10-day disabled list multiple times in multiple seasons. "I could deal with the pain, but it was getting to the point where I couldn't swing a bat. I had no stability in my knee. It would give out on me when I would go to swing. It was just affecting the way I was playing baseball. It needed to be done."

While splitting catching duties for half of the season with Max Stassi, McCann is batting .206 with 32 hits in 155 at-bats. As for McCann's return, it will not be in July, Astros manager AJ Hinch said.

"It won't be this month," he said. "We'll see how it is at the tail end of next month, into September. The good news is everybody is saying the right things and feeling optimistic."

Worth noting

• The Astros traded right-handed pitcher James Hoyt to the Indians in exchange for Minor League right-hander Tommy DeJuneas. Hoyt appeared in 43 games for the Astros last season and 22 games in 2016 and threw one-third of an inning for Houston this season. DeJuneas will be assigned to Class A Advanced Buies Creek.

• Alvarez was promoted to Triple-A Fresno from Corpus Christi on Friday after hitting .325 (55-for-169) with 13 doubles, 12 home runs, 46 RBIs and a 1.005 OPS in 43 games for the Hooks this season. He replaces outfielder Jon Kemmer, who was traded to the Twins for cash considerations.

• The Astros also announced Friday the Houston Sports Authority Board of Directors will vote at its public board meeting Monday to approve an extension of the Astros' lease at Minute Maid Park. The meeting is scheduled for 2:15 p.m. CT on Monday on the second floor of Partnership Tower and will include Astros owner Jim Crane, Houston mayor Sylvester Turner, chairman of Houston Sports Authority J. Kent Friendman, Houston Sports Authority CEO Janis Burke and Harris County judge Ed Emmett. The Astros' original lease agreement for the ballpark, their home since 2000, was set to expire in March 2030.

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

Christian Boutwell, a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston, contributed to this report.

Houston Astros

Astros sign 14 international free agents

Signings include players from the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Cuba
MLB.com

HOUSTON -- The Houston Astros have agreed to terms on contracts with 14 international free agents, including eight players from the Dominican Republic, five from Venezuela and one from Cuba. The announcement was made by Mike Elias, Astros assistant general manager, player acquisition. Terms of the contracts were not disclosed.

"Today's signings are the result of a large and coordinated effort by many people in the Astros organization, including members of the front office, international operations staff, player development personnel, and the sports medicine department," Elias said. "Our international scouting staff , led by Roman Ocumarez and Eve Rosenbaum, has done a terrific job finding, evaluating and signing these players and compiling a diverse and talented 'J2' class."

HOUSTON -- The Houston Astros have agreed to terms on contracts with 14 international free agents, including eight players from the Dominican Republic, five from Venezuela and one from Cuba. The announcement was made by Mike Elias, Astros assistant general manager, player acquisition. Terms of the contracts were not disclosed.

"Today's signings are the result of a large and coordinated effort by many people in the Astros organization, including members of the front office, international operations staff, player development personnel, and the sports medicine department," Elias said. "Our international scouting staff , led by Roman Ocumarez and Eve Rosenbaum, has done a terrific job finding, evaluating and signing these players and compiling a diverse and talented 'J2' class."

Ocumarez serves as the Astros Assistant Director, International Scouting, while Rosenbaum is the club's Manager, International Scouting.

"July 2 marks the beginning of the international signing period, and we are still working toward additional signings, some of which we hope to secure very soon," Elias said. "Bringing quality, international talent into our pipeline year after year has been a key component of our organizational strategy, and we expect these young players to further strengthen our thriving farm system."

Included in today's announced signings are five pitchers, five outfielders, three infielders and one catcher. See below for a listing of the 14 international free agents signed by the Astros today:

Ayendy Ortiz, SS, San Pedro de Macoris, DR
Carlos Calderon, RHP, San Cristobal, DR
Cristian Gonzalez, SS, Azua, DR
Daniel Pacheco, RHP, Puerto Ordaz, VZ
Danny Subero, RHP, Caracas, VZ
Frank Perez, OF, Ciego de Avila, Cuba
Jairo Jose, OF, Santo Domingo Este, DR
Jesus Liranzo, OF, Santo Domingo, DR
Johangel Ramirez, RHP, Maturin, VZ
Miguel Palma, C, Caracas, VZ
Omar Diaz, OF, Santo Domingo Este, DR
Reimy Beltre, RHP, Bonao, DR
Tomas Ramirez, OF, Santo Domingo, DR
Yohander Martinez, SS, Caracas, VZ

Houston Astros

Springer out of lineup, but available, for finale

Top prospect Perez optioned to Double-A as Gurriel returns from paternity leave
MLB.com

ST. PETERSBURG -- After making a pair of diving catches on the Tropicana Field turf on Saturday and taking a tumble into the stands while trying to track down a foul ball, Astros outfielder George Springer was nursing a sore back and was out of the lineup for Sunday's series finale at the Rays.

"He's beat up a little bit, but he's fine and available," Astros manager AJ Hinch said. "We feel like after tumbling into the stands -- we forget about that play -- and then he had a little jolt at the end with the great play [in the eighth inning], a couple of dives, he's just a little beat up. He'll get treatment most of the day, and we'll see if I use him later in the game."

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ST. PETERSBURG -- After making a pair of diving catches on the Tropicana Field turf on Saturday and taking a tumble into the stands while trying to track down a foul ball, Astros outfielder George Springer was nursing a sore back and was out of the lineup for Sunday's series finale at the Rays.

"He's beat up a little bit, but he's fine and available," Astros manager AJ Hinch said. "We feel like after tumbling into the stands -- we forget about that play -- and then he had a little jolt at the end with the great play [in the eighth inning], a couple of dives, he's just a little beat up. He'll get treatment most of the day, and we'll see if I use him later in the game."

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With a day off Monday, the Astros are playing it safe with Springer, who's in a massive slump. The World Series Most Valuable Player had four hits in his last 58 at-bats prior to Sunday, including a 1-for-34 funk he's currently riding. Springer wasn't available for comment pregame.

Because Springer is nursing an injury, the Astros decided to keep first baseman AJ Reed and instead optioned left-handed pitcher Cionel Perez to Double-A Corpus Christi following Saturday's game to make room on the roster for first baseman Yuli Gurriel, who was activated from the paternity list and in the lineup Sunday.

Perez, the Astros' No. 6-ranked prospect by MLB Pipeline, warmed up in the eighth inning Saturday and was one hitter away from making his Major League debut. Reed was called up Thursday when Gurriel went on the paternity list and figures to stay with the club until veteran reliever Joe Smith is activated from the disabled list, likely on Tuesday.

Smith was scheduled to throw his second and final rehab outing Sunday at Corpus Christi and is expected to join the club for the series opener against the Rangers in Arlington.

Gurriel rejoined the club Sunday following the birth of his son, Jayren, in Houston.

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

Houston Astros, Yuli Gurriel, Cionel Perez, George Springer

Lefty prospect Perez called up by Astros

MLB.com

ST. PETERSBURG -- Needing an extra arm in the bullpen, the Astros called up left-handed pitching prospect Cionel Perez from Double-A Corpus Christi prior to Friday's game against the Rays to take the roster spot of shortstop Carlos Correa, who was placed on the disabled list with a sore back.

Perez, the Astros' No. 6 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, struck out 71 batters in 57 1/3 innings at Corpus Christi, going 5-1 with a 2.20 ERA in 14 games (10 starts). Since making his professional debut last year, he's struck out 154 batters and walked 48 in 151 innings.

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ST. PETERSBURG -- Needing an extra arm in the bullpen, the Astros called up left-handed pitching prospect Cionel Perez from Double-A Corpus Christi prior to Friday's game against the Rays to take the roster spot of shortstop Carlos Correa, who was placed on the disabled list with a sore back.

Perez, the Astros' No. 6 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, struck out 71 batters in 57 1/3 innings at Corpus Christi, going 5-1 with a 2.20 ERA in 14 games (10 starts). Since making his professional debut last year, he's struck out 154 batters and walked 48 in 151 innings.

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"He's an exciting young player," Astros manager AJ Hinch said. "We saw him in the spring and he's had a terrific first half at Double-A. He just pitched in [Tuesday's Texas League] All-Star game and can provide a little bit of depth and length in the bullpen if we need him the next couple of games. I don't know how long his stay will be, but he's a good, young, exciting pitcher we're excited about."

Perez was told he was heading to the big leagues by Corpus Christi manager Omar Lopez prior to Thursday's game in what Perez called a "beautiful moment." Perez lives in Tampa and said his father and girlfriend were set to attend his debut.

"I'm excited for my first time in the big leagues," he said. "It surprised me a lot. It was something I did not expect and I'm very excited."

The 22-year-old signed with the Astros in 2016 out of Cuba. He originally agreed to a $5.15 million deal, but the Astros voided the deal because of concerns about his elbow. Perez two months later signed for $2 million. Perez's strength is a mid-90s fastball that has sink, along with a slider he's worked to throw harder.

"I worked on my physical conditioning more than anything else and also my secondary pitches, specifically my slider and the shape of my slider and throwing my slider harder, as well as my fastball command," Perez said.

The Astros still plan to develop Perez as a starter, though it's difficult to crack the Astros' five-man rotation this year.

"We're excited about him as a potential starter down the road," Hinch said. "Our need now is in the 'pen, and that's where he'll get his innings, if I can get him in there."

Perez's stay with the Astros could be short, depending on the timing of veteran reliever Joe Smith's rehab outing. Smith, who's on the disabled list with elbow soreness, was scheduled to throw one inning Friday at Corpus Christi and could be activated in the next few days.

"It's possible we ask [Smith] to do a second relief outing in a couple of days depending on how it goes tonight," Hinch said. "We want him to feel like he went through an outing, have a little bit of endurance built up, use both his pitches and then we'll determine whether he's ready now or we wait until the next series."

Worth noting
Correa flew to back Houston to be examined by the team's spinal doctors and will rejoin the club Tuesday in Arlington. He's eligible to come off the disabled list next Friday.

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

Houston Astros, Carlos Correa, Cionel Perez

Astros sign Draft picks Schroeder, McKenna