Tucker out for at least another week

August 15th, 2021

ANAHEIM -- The Astros will be without starting right fielder for at least another week, manager Dusty Baker said Sunday. Houston placed Tucker on the injured list for health and safety reasons prior to Saturday’s game, but the team won’t divulge any information on Tucker’s condition.

“It won’t be any time in the next week,” Baker said Sunday when asked how long Tucker might be out. “You can ask me in a week.”

Tucker, who had a grand slam in Friday’s win, was replaced in right field Saturday by rookie Jake Meyers, who slugged two homers, including a grand slam in an 8-2 victory. Meyers figures to get the starts in right field while Tucker is down.

The Astros added three players to the taxi squad and brought them to Anaheim on Sunday: right-handed pitchers and and infielder . The move was made to give the Astros some insurance in case they lose any other players in the coming days.

Tucker is hitting .272 with 22 homers and 71 RBIs, which is second on the team behind Yordan Alvarez. He’s hitting .314 with 21 doubles, 17 homers, 55 RBIs and a .969 OPS since May 9.

Stanek coming on strong in bullpen
The moves the Astros made prior to the Trade Deadline to upgrade their bullpen have certainly paid off, with Houston relievers entering Sunday having posted a 1.17 ERA in the month of August. The addition of Kendall Graveman as the team’s new setup man has allowed Baker to identify the new pecking order of the back end of the bullpen.

, who had been the setup man prior to Graveman coming over from Seattle, is essentially Baker’s seventh-inning reliever in high-leverage situations, with Graveman in the eighth and Ryan Pressly handling the ninth. The Astros also added Yimi García, Phil Maton and Rafael Montero via trades, though Montero is on the injured list.

The addition of Graveman has made an impact, but Stanek has put together a solid couple of months, too. In 17 outings since July 1, Stanek had a 1.69 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP, with 21 strikeouts, nine hits and eight walks allowed.

“They put me in some more stressful roles and I've thrown the ball pretty well and they’ve stuck with me in those roles, even when I wasn’t as sharp as I hoped I would have been,” Stanek said. “It’s been good. I think the fact they believed in me from the beginning definitely helps.”

Stanek has smoothed out his mechanics from earlier in the year, which has helped his velocity, and he’s landing his slider more often in the strike zone. Pitching coach Brent Strom said Stanek’s windup has been “more quiet, more controlled aggressive action.”

“I think that’s something that early on in the season when I was doing well, when I was throwing the ball well, I was just getting ahead a lot more and getting into good counts and kind of got away from that for a little bit, whenever I feel I got a little bit out of whack mechanically,” Stanek said. “Just kind of getting back into what I was doing earlier. It feels like it’s made a good difference.”