FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Less than a month after he signed a five-year, $110 million contract with the Red Sox, former Astros outfielder J.D. Martinez said Saturday he's thrilled his friend and former teammate, Jose Altuve, got paid as well. Altuve signed what essentially amounts to a five-year, $151 million
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Less than a month after he signed a five-year, $110 million contract with the Red Sox, former Astros outfielder J.D. Martinez said Saturday he's thrilled his friend and former teammate, Jose Altuve, got paid as well. Altuve signed what essentially amounts to a five-year, $151 million contract extension on Monday.
Martinez said Saturday prior to Boston's 6-0 win over the Astros at jetBlue Park that he sent Altuve a text message to congratulate him on the deal. Altuve and Martinez were both called up from Double-A Corpus Christi within 10 days of each other in 2011 to make their big league debuts with the Astros.
"I'm really happy for him, especially to go against the odds he went against," Martinez said. "I go back to think of that first year when he came up. They weren't even high on him. They were kind of looking for another second baseman, and he took that spot and ran with it. To do what he's able to do now is unbelievable. You've got to tip your hat to him. He's a great player. He changes the game by himself."
Martinez recalled a scenario in which he said Altuve "single-handedly" beat the Tigers while he was in Detroit.
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"He reached on an infield single, stole second, stole third and a sac fly scored him, and we lose by a run," Martinez said. "We were like, 'What the heck, dude?' That's what he does. I'm happy for him."
Altuve, of course, is a three-time American League batting champion who won the AL Most Valuable Player Award last year while helping the Astros to the World Series. Houston released Martinez in the spring of 2014 and watched him blossom into an All-Star in Detroit. After hitting 29 homers in 62 games for the D-backs last year, Martinez signed with Boston.
Grapefruit League coming to close
The Astros will break camp following Sunday's Grapefruit League finale against the Marlins and fly back to Houston, where they will play exhibition games against the Brewers on Monday and Tuesday at Minute Maid Park. Lance McCullers will start Monday and Charlie Morton on Tuesday.
In addition to the big league club, the Astros will bring a handful of Minor Leaguers on the trip, including Kyle Tucker, Jack Mayfield, Alex De Goti, Rogelio Armenteros, Riley Ferrell, Cionel Perez and Brendan McCurry. Tim Federowicz will make the trip, along with the Tyler White and Tony Kemp, who didn't make the Opening Day roster.
Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel, who's recovering from Feb. 28 hand surgery, will stay back and continue his rehab from a left oblique strain in West Palm Beach, Fla., next week. Hinch said he will play in some games in Minor League camp through next week.
Relief pitcher James Hoyt (strained left oblique) will also remain in West Palm Beach and rehab. He's playing catch and progressing nicely.
The Astros wrap up Grapefruit League action at 12:05 p.m. CT Sunday by sending Dallas Keuchel to the mound to face the Marlins. Keuchel, who's coming off five scoreless innings March 15 against the Nationals, will be making his final tuneup before facing the Rangers on Friday in Arlington in his regular-season debut. Watch the game on MLB.TV.
Brian McTaggart. has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.