Prospect Whitley issues apology for suspension

February 27th, 2018

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Forrest Whitley issued an apology via Twitter on Tuesday morning. The right-hander, the Astros' top-ranked prospect and the ninth-ranked prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline, was suspended for 50 games without pay by the Commissioner's Office for a violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
"It's an incredibly unfortunate situation that I will never forgive myself for," Whitley's apology began. "Nobody is more disappointed than I am. I'm GOING to bounce back from this and make my teammates, family and the ones closest to me proud. I am more driven than I've ever been."

Drafted No. 17 overall by the Astros in 2016, Whitley is currently on Double-A Corpus Christi's roster. His suspension begins at the start of the 2018 Texas League season.
Peacock goes two innings in first start
Although his role is still to be determined, right-hander Brad Peacock continues to build on a career year with the Astros, when he went 10-2 with a 3.22 ERA as a starter and 3-0 with a 1.77 ERA as a reliever. He could do either, or both, again this season.
Peacock made his first start this spring, working two scoreless innings in an 8-2 win over the Mets on Tuesday at First Data Field.
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Peacock struggled a bit in the second inning, giving up back-to-back walks to open the frame before getting a strikeout and double play to end his 34-pitch, 20-strike outing. Peacock yielded just one hit and struck out three.
"Felt good," Peacock said. "I had a little trouble there in the second, but I had a good changeup and it got me out [of trouble]. Still trying to get the slider to lefties, back door, a little better."
But it was the changeup that Peacock was most satisfied with. 
"I've been working on my changeup this spring and I threw some good ones today," Peacock said. "I threw all four pitches today and felt good with it, so it's definitely something to build on."

Gose takes mound
threw live batting practice on Tuesday for the first time this spring. He stayed back in West Palm Beach while the Astros traveled to play the Mets in a Grapefruit League game in Port St. Lucie.
Gose is a converted outfielder who threw 10 2/3 innings last season for the Tigers' Class A Advanced Lakeland club before being shut down by an elbow injury. The left-hander, who is said to have hit 100 mph last year with his fastball, came to the Astros as a Rule 5 Draft pick last December.
"He'll throw one or two of those and then he'll get into a game hopefully soon after that," Hinch said. "He's coming off a pretty significant injury. He didn't have a complete season last year. He's new to pitching, so he's been on a little bit more of a rehab schedule more so than a regular schedule."

"Ted" Tucker?
Back in 2015 when the Astros made their first-round Draft pick (fifth overall), the comparisons were already being made between his swing and that of Hall of Famer Ted Williams.
"When that came out in a morning meeting a couple days ago, the boys took it upon themselves to rename him," Hinch explained on Tuesday.
The nameplate above his clubhouse locker reads "Ted Tucker."
"So he's going to go by 'Ted' from here on out in our clubhouse," Hinch said.

Tucker, playing along with it, promptly went out and slugged his second home run of the spring -- to the opposite field no less.
"So you can call him any name you want as long as he keeps homering," Hinch said. "He's not going to take down that nameplate, he's going to have to wear it as a young guy. It's fun. There's great camaraderie on this team, and our guys love the new guys that come in. We'd had his brother [] on the team, so they're familiar with the family, and we had heard about Kyle Tucker long before he arrived here."

Tucker's swing is unique: "He's got a little bit of a different setup, he's got a little bit different hand path. But his bat-to-ball skills are really good," Hinch said. "He's strong, he's got a little lower hand slot for being such a big guy.
"People talk about these graceful left-handed swings. He's got more of a physical swing with the way he goes about it, so it looks different. The bat-to-ball skills are pretty elite from what we've seen in the Minor Leagues and then the first impression here."
Position battle
A trio of quality candidates continues to battle for playing time in left field.  is among them. The versatile along with right fielder also figure to be in the mix.
Fisher got the start in left field on Tuesday and moved over to center field in the later innings. He went 0-for-2 with a bases-loaded walk and a strikeout. He scored a run and also reached on an error.

Up next: The Astros host the split-squad Twins at 12:05 p.m. CT on Wednesday (live on MLB.TV). Right-hander gets his first start of the spring.