March 17, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; Houston Astros left fielder J.D. Martinez (14) in the dugout against the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
In the final game of Grapefruit league action the Astros lose 4-2 to the Tigers. The bigger news is that the Astros have named five players to their first opening day roster. They've also optioned Brett Wallace to AAA to play every day as the Redhawks starting third basemen.
First, Wallace who a lot of us thought had a good chance of starting the year in Oklahoma City. With Chris Johnson playing well and Wallace having an option year left it made no sense to keep Wallace on the big league club as a reserve. Going to AAA will allow him to play everyday and work on his defense at third base. This means that Johnson will need to play well to hold onto his spot.
In the times I've gotten to see Wallace play at third base he's looked comfortable over there. I don't think he'll necessarily be above average at the position, but he should be able to hold his own.
I don't know what this means for Rhiner Cruz as Jeff Luhnow has said it's unlikely they'll keep both rule five selections, but Cruz has been pitching better lately and I have a feeling he'll make the roster as well. Gonzalez hasn't looked all that great, but the Astros have very little depth at the shortstop position so Gonzalez will be given a chance.
Altuve, Bogusevic, Castro and Martinez have already made their big league debuts already. This will be the first time all four have stated the year at the Major League level, so it's a pretty special moment for those players. According to Alyson Footer on twitter all five players were called into Brad Mills office to be told together.
Onto the game
Only two players reached multiple times, J.B. Shuck and Jose Altuve both via a hit and a walk. It's especially nice to see Altuve taking walks lately, considering he'll need to improve his walk rate to have success at the Major League level. The catching position accounted for both runs scored in this game. Castro smacked a homerun in the third and Landon Powell drove in a run in the ninth. Seven hits and three walks were the final tally on the day.
Wandy Rodriguez continued his struggles in Spring training with three runs allowed in five innings on eight hits and four walks. Hopefully what ever bugs Wandy had left have been worked out in this game. The next time he pitches it will count. Cruz followed allowing one run on three hits and a walk. Wilton Lopez pitched a perfect seventh and eighth inning for the Astros.
No errors but in the second inning Delmon Young was picked off and caught stealing at second base by Castro and Wandy.
6:05 p.m. CST vs Corpus Christi Hooks. I don't see any broadcast information for the game, but Tuesday expect full coverage of the Astros exhibition game with the Chicago White Soxs at 7:05 p.m. CST