HOUSTON -- For the second time this month, Astros designated hitter Yordan Alvarez has been placed on the IL for “health and safety reasons,” manager Dusty Baker said Wednesday.
“We don’t know if it’s the same situation or not,” Baker said. “We’re waiting to see. … It could be nothing. Everybody gets alarmed now if you sneeze, you cough, you get an upset stomach, diarrhea -- don’t matter. Everything is very concerning in these modern times, so we hope that it’s not [serious].”
Alvarez was among five players who were on the COVID-19 injured list from April 14-21, joining second baseman Jose Altuve, third baseman Alex Bregman, catcher Martín Maldonado and infielder Robel García. Altuve, who was activated Monday, later confirmed he had tested positive for COVID-19.
Altuve is the second known Astros player to have tested positive for COVID-19 this year. Veteran reliever Pedro Báez, who signed a two-year deal with the Astros in the offseason, tested positive during Spring Training and has been on the IL since then.
To take Alvarez's place on the active roster, the Astros recalled infielder Taylor Jones from their alternate training site.
Michael Brantley started at DH on Wednesday in Alvarez’s place.
“It’s been a wacky couple of years, but at the same time, we have a good group of guys in there who are prepared every single day,” Brantley said. “We’re going to be just fine. We’ll welcome him back with open arms when he gets back and everything’s good.”
Garcia gets the start Thursday against Mariners
Right-hander Luis Garcia -- and not rookie left-hander Kent Emanuel -- will start Thursday’s 1:10 p.m. CT series finale against the Mariners at Minute Maid Park. Emanuel was expected to get the start after throwing 8 2/3 innings in relief of injured starter Jake Odorizzi in his Major League debut on Saturday, but the Astros are saving Emanuel for this weekend’s Rays series.
With only one lefty in the bullpen (Brooks Raley), Baker said he could utilize Emanuel two or three times over the weekend against the Rays, who have several left-handed hitters they can platoon.
Garcia has appeared in four games this year, making two starts. He’s allowed five runs, 11 hits and seven walks in 15 innings with 14 strikeouts. In his most recent start on April 20 in Colorado, he allowed two runs on three hits and struck out six in 5 2/3 innings. Garcia threw 26 pitches on Sunday in relief, so he’ll be working on three days' rest.
• Baker said injured reliever Andre Scrubb (shoulder) threw back-to-back games at the team’s alternate training site this week, and he could join the club on the upcoming road trip if he has no setbacks. Also, injured reliever Enoli Paredes (side) is progressing and could be a week to 10 days behind Scrubb, without any setbacks.