ARLINGTON -- Carlos Beltran, who retired from a 20-year playing career after helping the Astros win the World Series last year, will return to Minute Maid Park on Tuesday to receive his World Series ring along with the rest of his former teammates. Beltran will throw out the ceremonial first
ARLINGTON -- Carlos Beltran, who retired from a 20-year playing career after helping the Astros win the World Series last year, will return to Minute Maid Park on Tuesday to receive his World Series ring along with the rest of his former teammates. Beltran will throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the game against the Orioles at Minute Maid Park.
Commissioner Rob Manfred, Astros owner Jim Crane, general manager Jeff Luhnow and president Reid Ryan will be on hand to present each player with a ring. Additionally, more than 30 winners of a special Astros social media contest will present the 2017 championship banner on the field during the pregame ceremony.
The pregame ceremony for Monday's home opener will feature the Commissioner's Trophy presented by Crane and the Budweiser Clydesdales, as well as the unveiling of the banner. Former Astros first-base coach Rich Dauer will throw out the ceremonial first pitch, and the Astros will wear gold-accented jerseys and hats the first two home games.
Tucker starting at Triple-A
Outfielder Kyle Tucker, the Astros' No. 2 prospect per MLB Pipeline, will begin the season at Triple-A Fresno. The Astros released their Spring Training rosters on Friday, highlighted by the 21-year-old Tucker on the roster at Triple-A after playing 72 games at Double-A Corpus Christi last year.
Tucker had a terrific spring in his first big league camp, hitting .409 with five homers and 21 RBIs in 20 games in Grapefruit League play. Among the Astros' top 10 prospects, right-hander David Paulino (No. 8) will also begin the season at Fresno, after missing 80 games last year with a performance-enhancing drug suspension.
Last year, Tucker batted .274 with 70 runs, 33 doubles, five triples, 25 homers, 90 RBIs, 21 steals and an .874 OPS in 120 games between Class A Advanced Buies Creek and Corpus Christi, where he ended the season. Despite being one of the youngest position players (20 at the time) in both the Carolina League and Texas League, Tucker was one of just 10 players in all of the Minor Leagues to record at least 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases in 2017.
No. 3 prospect J.B. Bukauskas, a pitcher the Astros took in the first round (No. 15 overall) in the 2017 MLB Draft, will begin the season at Class A Quad Cities. The Minor League schedule for full-season affiliates begins next Friday.
'Congrats' to keep pouring in for Hinch
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels spent a few minutes in Astros manager AJ Hinch's office prior to Friday's game to congratulate him face to face on winning the 2017 World Series. The two have known each other since Hinch's days in the D-backs' front office in 2005.
"I've known him a long time," Hinch said. "He came over to congratulate us in person. I hadn't seen him face to face. We didn't see each other at the Winter Meetings, and we don't see him in the spring. He wanted to say congrats in person for the World Series."
Hinch will probably get several such visits as the season gets into full swing.
"Eventually, when there's more to talk about in 2018, it will probably die down a little bit," he said.
Odds and ends
Hinch said J.D. Davis, who made the team at first base with Yuli Gurriel beginning the season on the suspended list, will start Saturday against the Rangers.
Gurriel is suspended for the first five games and will be able to play Tuesday against the Orioles, assuming he has no setbacks following his Feb. 28 hand surgery.
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.