Astros meet to discuss Osuna joining club

Newly acquired pitcher to be activated Sunday after serving 75-game suspension

August 5th, 2018

LOS ANGELES -- As the Astros prepare to welcome closer into their clubhouse Sunday, owner Jim Crane and general manager Jeff Luhnow led a team meeting inside the visitor's clubhouse at Dodger Stadium prior to Saturday's game to address the situation.

Astros manager AJ Hinch was the only high-ranking member of the club to meet the media after the meeting, acknowledging Crane and Luhnow spoke to the players. Hinch said Osuna will address the team prior to being activated for Sunday's series finale against the Dodgers.

"I'm not going to get into the meeting today," Hinch said. "We have a lot to talk about tomorrow. Obviously, that's the day Osuna gets here. As a team, we'll address it tomorrow. We wanted to get Jeff and Jim in the room with our players and begin a series of meetings we're going to need to absorb all of this."

The Astros traded with the Blue Jays for the All-Star closer on Monday, sending pitchers , and Hector Perez to Toronto. Osuna is serving a 75-game suspension under the MLB-MLBPA Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse policy. The Astros plan to activate him Sunday, but not before he talks to his teammates as a group and meets with reporters.

Osuna was arrested in early May in Toronto and charged with assault in an alleged domestic incident and was subsequently suspended by MLB. Osuna has a Sept. 5 court date, and his lawyer said earlier this week he plans to plead not guilty.

Still, the impending arrival of Osuna has been met with criticism. Few Astros players have chosen to speak publicly about it -- most have said they don't know the details -- and Hinch said Saturday the team was doing "quite well."

"We have a really good team, we have really good character on this team," he said. "We have a good vibe. We're one of the most enjoyable teams you can imagine. Our clubhouse is one of the favorites to come to work to every day. I think our guys love each other and do a great job blending each other on a daily basis."

Hinch said he understands the scrutiny his team has been dealing with in recent days, but it's important to not draw conclusions.

"It's very difficult on a personal level, very difficult on a private level, on a baseball level," he said. "This is something that we fully understand. We are gathering information on a day-to-day basis. It's going to be with us. Roberto is going to be here tomorrow. He's going to be on our team. A lot has to happen between now and tomorrow and a lot is going to happen after tomorrow into the future, and as a team, as a family, as a group, we'll navigate it together."

Hinch reiterated Saturday he has yet to meet Osuna in person, though he said earlier in the week he talked to him on the phone when the trade was completed.

"I know where he grew up, I know a little bit of his track record," he said. "So obviously we'll talk a little bit of baseball, we'll get into anything that he wants. I'm his manager now. I think it's important for me to get to know him and learn what makes him be the player that he can be and adjust along the way.

"There's to be a lot of private matters that are discussed that aren't going to be discussed in front of these cameras. I'd ask for [the media's] respect as we get a baseline for him being on his team and joining our team and the immense topic I'm going to be asked about every day."

Osuna, 23, appeared in 15 games for the Blue Jays this year, saving nine games with a 2.93 ERA. Last year, he saved 39 games and posted a 3.38 ERA in his All-Star season. He had 36 saves in 2016 and has 104 for his career.

"What role he has or what inning he pitches or how many pitches or what hitters he faces are going to be determined," Hinch said. "He's one of the most credentialed closers at an early age given his track record. It doesn't mean his first outing or second outing or 10th outing will be closing out a game. That's a question I have to deal with over time, not necessarily on the eve of meeting him."