HOUSTON - JUNE 24: Jose Altuve #27 of the Houston Astros walks off the field with trainer Nathan Lucero and first base coach Bobby Meacham after coming up limping after running out a ground ball in the fourth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Minute Maid Park during an interleague game on June 24, 2012 in Houston, Texas. Altuve did not return for the fifth inning. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Checking in amid a vacation to talk about all the crazy stuff happening since I left. Seriously, can't you people keep it together for a week?
1) Jose Altuve hurt - However good we all felt about the series win against the Cleveland Indians, it was sort of undone when Jose Altuve pulled up with that hamstring injury running to first. He left the game, was replaced by Brian Bixler, but seems to be okay.
At least, that's the talk late Sunday afternoon. We will know more eventually, but I imagine we won't see much of Altuve for the next week. Bixler starts at second in the meantime, and I doubt that we see Altuve go to the DL.
Since Altuve has been in sort of a slump lately, this may be just the thing he needed to get out of his funk. That, or the time off will throw off his timing even more and he'll slump worse. Also, will he have enough time to let this injury heal completely and not make it a recurring thing for the rest of the season? That's what I'm most worried about.
So, lesson learned. No more columns on Jose Altuve for me. At least, not till after the season when he's safe from the ole newspaper jinx.
2) Footer leaving - Color me surprised when I also read that Alyson Footer was leaving the Houston Astros. You've probably already seen this, but she's moving on up to the national beat for MLB.com, joining former Houston voice Richard Justice there.
It's a tough thing. On the one hand, I'm thrilled for her, as it's a great professional opportunity and a way for the rest of the country to realize how awesome she is. On the other hand, it sucks for Houston fans to be losing one of the best parts of following this organization.
Since I've been a part of TCB, Footer has consistently been one of the best parts of the Houston organization in helping this site. She set up interviews, talked to us herself, put together the FanFest blogger event and then Blogger Night itself. Don't forget the Social Media Nights and all the other ways where Footer became so important for Houston fans who follow the team online.
It'll be hard to replace her, sure, but I'm confident that this new administration knows what it's doing in this area. We'll be fine, but that doesn't mean we won't miss her unique voice in the meantime.
3) Ruiz signed - Okay, so we finally get to some good news. Fourth round pick Rio Ruiz signed with the Astros over the weekend, coming in for $1.85 million, which was as much as a typical mid-first rounder. So, the Astros ended up with three different high school players signed for first-round money, and all three have arguably first-round talent.
We don't know how much more of this draft class Houston will sign. Tyler Heineman appears to be in the fold, and you'd think that both Preston Tucker and Nolan Fontana will be soon. What's more, Houston appears likely to get all of their picks in the top 10 rounds signed for the second straight season and just the third time in Bobby Heck's five draft classes.
Most of the financial guys think that Houston will not be able to sign Hunter Virant now, with the amount of money Rio Ruiz gets and how much they are now under the cap. Same goes for C.J. Hinojosa, who sounded like he wouldn't sign on the second day of the draft (before Houston had picked him) or Mitchell Traver.
Still, I think Houston did enough here to really help out the farm system. They added a high-upside arm along with two potentially impact bats out of their three high-profile over-slot signings. Add in a quick-moving slick fielder like Fontana and some solid organizational players who may hit in Tucker, Andrew Aplin and Brett Phillips, and this farm system is suddenly looking very solid.
This won't push Houston into the Top 10 of all farm systems, but they are probably nosing into the top half of the league.