Astros add veteran De Jong to bullpen

August 23rd, 2020

The Astros summoned a fresh bullpen arm from their taxi squad on Sunday by activating right-hander .

De Jong was signed from the independent Sugar Land Skeeters on Aug. 3 and assigned to the alternate training site in Corpus Christi, Texas. He was added to the taxi squad at the start of the Astros’ current road trip.

De Jong has some Major League experience, having appeared in seven games for the Mariners in 2017 and five for the Twins from ’18-19. The Astros optioned right-hander Humberto Castellanos, who threw three innings in relief Saturday in a 13-2 loss after starter lasted just 1 1/3 innings.

“He actually put us in a better position,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said of Castellanos. “You hate to have a sacrificial lamb, but he was kind of it last night to save our bullpen. We’re going to try to get him back at some point in time because you appreciate what a young man does to help save your staff.”

De Jong said he threw a weighted ball during the COVID-19 shutdown and saw a spike in velocity, going from 88-91 mph with his fastball to 92-94 mph as a starter. He said he has learned to use his lower half more efficiently, too. The average velocity on his four-seamer in 2018 with the Twins was 89.2 mph.

Also, was moved to the 45-day injured list. Alvarez is set to have knee surgery this week, ending his 2020 season.

Worth noting
Baker said the Astros are talking to MLB with the hope of allowing them to bring some of their rehabbing players who were at the alternate training site and close to returning to join the club in Houston this week to continue working out. That group includes pitchers and and utility infielder . The Astros temporarily shuttered their alternate training site last week after one positive coronavirus test.