Astros center fielder George Springer was out of the starting lineup Friday for the Astros’ series opener in Oakland after suffering a right wrist sprain while diving for a ball in the fifth inning Thursday in Arizona.
Astros manager Dusty Baker said an MRI performed early Friday on Springer showed no broken bones and Springer remains day to day.
“He’s better,” Baker said. “It’s good news. Nothing’s broken. … That’s a very positive sign.”
Springer, the catalyst atop Houston’s lineup, made a diving catch while running forward to rob D-backs designated hitter Andy Young of a hit in the fifth inning of the Astros’ 5-4 loss at Chase Field. Springer didn’t appear to favor the wrist on his throwing hand at any point immediately after the catch.
Springer went 0-for-3 before Myles Straw replaced him in the seventh inning. Springer fractured his right wrist during the 2015 season and missed two months of action.
Astros make roster moves
Right-hander Austin Pruitt, acquired by the Astros in January in a trade with the Rays, was transferred to the 45-day injured list Friday, and Baker said it doesn’t appear Pruitt will be ready to join the team any time soon. Pruitt said at the end of camp he had a bone bruise in his elbow and hoped he would miss only the first week of the season.
“He hasn’t responded to therapy,” Baker said. “He worked hard. He was working really hard, but sometimes your body doesn’t respond when you want it to respond. I can’t say he’s done for the season, but he’s done for a while, anyway.”
Meanwhile, the Astros announced they had signed right-hander Chase De Jong to a Minor League contract. He joined the club in Oakland as a member of the five-man taxi squad. Outfielder Chas McCormick also was added to the taxi squad, which also includes right-hander Bryan Abreu, infielder Jack Mayfield and catcher Michael Papierski.
De Jong, 26, has been playing for the independent Sugar Land Skeeters and was teammates with veteran right-hander Fernando Rodney, who signed with the Astros last week and reported to the alternate training site at Corpus Christi. De Jong, a second-round pick in 2012 by the Blue Jays, started five games for the Skeeters and posted a 3.19 ERA with 27 strikeouts in 17 innings pitched. He appeared in one game for the Twins last year.
Seeing old friends from afar
The Astros’ trip to the Bay Area didn’t afford Baker the chance to get to his home in the Sacramento area or visit his condo in San Bruno, Calif., because of social distancing protocols as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Baker said he pointed to his condo in the hills when the club arrived from Phoenix late Thursday and was heading to its hotel in San Francisco.
Baker, who spent 10 years managing the Giants, has tons of friends in the Bay Area, including A’s manager Bob Melvin.
“He’s one of my favorite guys,” Baker said. “He calls me; I call him. I remember when he first got started. … He’d call me sometimes and ask for different things, different advice. He’s really matured and come to life as a fine, fine manager. He’s one of the finest managers around.
“I just hope that possibly I could have contributed something to his present and future. Kind of like Bill Belichick facing one of his former players. Not that I’m Bill Belichick, but I just use that as an example. At the same time, we have a mutual respect. But I know how badly he wants to beat me and how badly we need to beat them.”