This is why new teammates love Greinke

Astros right-hander tosses 3 scoreless innings in 2nd spring start vs. Mets

March 12th, 2021

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- When veteran right-hander signed with the Astros earlier this week, he gushed about new teammate , whom he tried to emulate and was compared to at points in his career. Prior to joining Houston, Odorizzi had met Greinke only once -- during one of Odorizzi’s arbitration hearings against the Rays.

Odorizzi, who beat the Rays in arbitration in 2017 and '18, and Greinke were at one point both represented by the same agency, and Greinke’s curiosity about the arbitration process led him to get a chance to sit in on one of the hearings. Coincidentally, Astros general manager James Click, formerly of the Rays, was sitting across the table.

“It was something I always wanted to do when I was a player,” Greinke said. “I would tell my previous agent that I wanted to go to arbitration just so I could go through the process. And then, we ended up never going to arbitration. I wasn’t really happy about that, because I always wanted to see it, and luckily, I was able to go one time and it ended up being Jake Odorizzi. It was amazing how not interesting those things are.”

Greinke said he remembers someone showing him a video of Odorizzi throwing in high school and telling him he had a similar delivery as Greinke. The two were involved in a trade for each other, with Odorizzi, Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar and Jeremy Jeffress going to the Royals in 2010, with Yuniesky Betancourt and Greinke joining the Brewers.

“You don't think of it too often, but a lot of it was that he was kind of a smaller guy, athletic righty,” Greinke said. “But he ended up doing a pretty good job. I know when Kansas City traded for him, Milwaukee wasn't real happy that they had to include him. It was like a lower-level pitching prospect, which don't always pan out, but they liked him in Milwaukee before trading him."

Greinke threw 45 pitches in three scoreless innings against the Mets in his second outing of the spring Thursday night in the Astros' 1-0 loss at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. He allowed two hits and struck out four batters and was pleased with his fastball command and his arsenal.

Jones keeps Astros from being no-hit
A sharp fifth-inning single by first baseman Taylor Jones against Mets left-hander Mike Montgomery was the Astros’ only hit in Thursday's loss. With only one starter in the lineup (catcher Martín Maldonado) against New York starter Jacob deGrom, Houston went on to strike out 17 times.

“I was trying to put together a good AB,” Jones said. “It had been a tough day for us at the plate. I was leading off an inning. Even if it wasn’t a knock, I wanted to hit something hard and get the guys going. Luckily, I got a pitch to hit and hit a line drive into the outfield.”

The battle for the final roster spot on the infield is between Abraham Toro and Robel García, who the Astros claimed off waivers last month. Toro and García are both switch-hitters. In his professional career, García has made starts at second base, third base, shortstop and left field. Toro started at first, second and third last year.

Where does Jones fit in?

“[Jones’] path to make the club is a difficult one when you’re trying to break into a championship club,” manager Dusty Baker said.

Jones, 27, made his big league debut at first base last year, going 4-for-21 with a homer. His path to making the Majors again in ’21 became muddier when the Astros re-signed starting first baseman Yuli Gurriel and acquired García after Spring Training started. With that in mind, Jones is playing some third base and left field on the back fields this spring.

“I know I can play with this club,” Jones said. “I know I can provide services on this team and help this team win. I’m worried about taking care of me, making sure that I’m dialed in at the plate, making sure I’m playing good defense and let the rest take care of itself.”

Siri, Molina laugh about video
Astros outfielder Jose Siri, who was signed to a non-roster deal with the club with an invitation to Spring Training in December, became the subject of a viral video earlier this week when he playfully mocked Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, who wound up getting the last laugh.

In the seventh inning of Sunday’s game against the Cardinals, Siri was on first base and quickly drew the attention of Molina, who tried to pick him off first base. The throw was late, but Siri shook his head and wagged his finger at Molina. The catcher gestured toward second base, as if he was goading him into stealing. Three pitches later, Siri took off for second and was thrown out easily by Molina, who glared at Siri on his way to the dugout.

“I had the chance to talk with Yadier about that,” Siri said. “I like those kinds of things. I like the video, and he told me it was a good thing to do, a good way to introduce myself. Now, it’s a storyline between the two of us. Any time we play the Cardinals and I’m on first and Yadi is catching, people can expect something might happen there.”

And then, Siri added ...

“I wouldn’t do something like that to just any catcher behind the dish,” he said. “He’s the best catcher in the league, and that’s part of the reason I did it as well.”

Siri, 25, did not appear in an MLB game in 2020, splitting his calendar year between the Reds, Mariners and Giants organizations. He was claimed off waivers twice last year, finishing his season at the Giants' alternate training site. He’s now competing for a spot in the Astros' outfield.

Worth noting
Baker said seven of the eight pitchers who were placed in quarantine recently were cleared to return to workouts Wednesday -- Luis Garcia, Bryan Abreu, Ronel Blanco, Cristian Javier, Enoli Paredes, Hector Velázquez and Francis Martes. Veteran right-hander Pedro Báez, who tested positive for COVID-19, remains in quarantine.