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Alvarez's 455-ft BP bomb damages 'El Grande'

@brianmctaggart
August 25, 2019

HOUSTON -- Astros rookie slugger Yordan Alvarez has become a must-watch at-bat this season. Even during batting practice. Alvarez is believed to be the first person to strike “El Grande,” the massive scoreboard above right field, with a baseball when he did it during batting practice prior to Saturday’s game

HOUSTON -- Astros rookie slugger Yordan Alvarez has become a must-watch at-bat this season. Even during batting practice.

Alvarez is believed to be the first person to strike “El Grande,” the massive scoreboard above right field, with a baseball when he did it during batting practice prior to Saturday’s game against the Angels. The ball traveled an estimated 455 feet, the Astros said, and was struck so hard it temporarily cut the power to a panel on the lower-right portion of the scoreboard.

“It adds to his legacy, and I’m OK with that,” said Astros Hall of Fame slugger Jeff Bagwell, who said he couldn’t recall any players hitting the ball off the scoreboard in BP or the regular season.

The Astros’ video production crew responded with a message and an arrow pointing to the blacked-out panel: “Nice shot, Yordan!”

“Definitely was not thinking about that, but from the time I’ve been here, the players have been asking me, ‘When are you going to hit one off the scoreboard?’” Alvarez said. “I was just trying to hit the ball hard, man, and got it up into the scoreboard.”

Bobby Forrest, the Astros' vice president for stadium operations, went behind the scoreboard and found a cable that had been dislodged and reconnected it, restoring power before the game started.

"The biggest reaction a lot of guys were saying, 'There's no way you're 22 years old,’” Alvarez said. “Now after seeing this, they're like, 'Yeah, absolutely not.'"

Alvarez went 1-for-4 in Saturday's 5-2 win and is now hitting .325 with 19 home runs and 57 RBIs since getting called up June 9, making him the front-runner for American League Rookie of the Year. He’s three homers shy of tying Carlos Correa’s team rookie record of 22 homers set in 2015, but Alvarez is already doing things that no one has ever seen.

“Ridiculous, but he surprises me every single day with something new he does,” Astros third baseman Alex Bregman said.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.