Altuve headlines Astros group in Japan All-Star Series
Fowler, Carter join second baseman for five-game set, two exhibitions
HOUSTON -- All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve, who on Thursday won the American League Silver Slugger Award, will join Astros teammates Dexter Fowler and Chris Carter on the Major League Baseball team that will be in Japan next week for the 2014 Japan All-Star Series.
Joining Altuve, Fowler and Carter is relief pitcher Jose Veras, who pitched for the Astros in 2013 and half of the '14 season and is currently a free agent.
All-Star Series games will be hosted in Osaka (Kyocera Dome), Tokyo (Tokyo Dome) and Sapporo (Sapporo Dome). Two exhibition contests will complement the five-game series, with one game in Osaka (Koshien Stadium) and the other in Okinawa (Okinawa Cellular Stadium).
MLB Network will exclusively televise every game of the Japan All-Star Series live in the United States, beginning with the exhibition game at 3 a.m. CT on Tuesday. MLB.TV subscribers will be able to watch every game live, on-demand online and on supported mobile devices via the MLB.com At Bat app.
The games will be called live by a rotating on-air team of MLB Network announcers that includes play-by-play from Paul Severino and analysis from Mark DeRosa and Darryl Hamilton. Each game will re-air later the same day at 8 p.m. CT.
Altuve won the AL batting title last season, leading the Majors with a .341 average and a club-record 225 hits, smashing Craig Biggio's previous club record of 210 set in 1998. He also led the AL with 56 stolen bases.
Fowler hit .276 with a .375 on-base percentage, eight homers and 35 RBIs in his first season with Houston. Carter batted .227 with a career-high 37 homers and 88 RBIs with a franchise-record seven multihomer games.
Veras went 4-0 with one save in 34 games with the Astros after beginning the season with the Cubs, who released him on June 10. Houston signed him on June 15 and called him up on June 26.
Additionally, Astros mascot Orbit will make the trip to Japan as the only mascot selected for the trip.
Orbit, who was also a part of the 2014 All-Star Game festivities in Minnesota, has become one of MLB's most popular and visible mascots since making his return to Houston prior to the 2013 season. Many of Orbit's antics have earned him numerous appearances and mentions on several national media outlets.
The 29-man roster includes 14 pitchers, three catchers, seven infielders, two outfielders and three infielders-outfielders. Here's a list of the full team:
Jeff Beliveau, Rays
Jerry Blevins, Nationals
Chris Capuano, free agent
Randy Choate, Cardinals
Jeremy Guthrie, Royals
Tommy Hunter, Orioles
Hisashi Iwakuma, Mariners
Mark Melancon, Pirates
Franklin Morales, free agent
Hector Santiago, Angels
Matt Shoemaker, Angels
Jose Veras, Astros
Tsuyoshi Wada, Cubs
Rob Wooten, Brewers
Drew Butera, Dodgers
Erik Kratz, Royals
Salvador Perez, Royals
Jose Altuve, Astros
Robinson Cano, Mariners
Alcides Escobar, Royals
Evan Longoria, Rays
Justin Morneau, Rockies
Eduardo Nunez, Twins
Carlos Santana, Indians
Dexter Fowler, Astros
Yasiel Puig, Dodgers
Chris Carter, Astros
Lucas Duda, Mets
Ben Zobrist, Rays
Here is the schedule of games (all times CT):
- Tuesday: Exhibition vs. Hanshin Tigers/Yomiuri Giants at Koshien (3 a.m.)
- Wednesday: Game 1 at Kyocera Dome, Osaka (3 a.m.)
- Friday, Nov. 14: Game 2 at Tokyo Dome (3 a.m.)
- Saturday, Nov. 15: Game 3 at Tokyo Dome (3 a.m.)
- Sunday, Nov. 16: Game 4 at Tokyo Dome (3 a.m.)
- Tuesday, Nov. 18: Game 5 at Sapporo Dome, Sapporo (4 a.m.)
- Thursday, Nov. 20: Exhibition vs. Team Japan, Okinawa (3 a.m.)