Astros 2020: Early summer camp stuff

Time for true confessions here. The only way to write about Astros’ Summer camp “stuff” is to piggyback off of things that others have written. Obviously, even in the best of times, training camp writing is based on reading what the writers on hand at the camp are writing about and looking at box scores or watching a few innings from an MLB network broadcast of a Spring Training game or two.

But this is different this year, just like the whole world is different. So, without apologies, this writer is taking the musings of folks like Brian McTaggart and giving you his spin on it.

  • Check-in Monday night July 6th  MLB will announce the 60 game schedules at 5 PM CDT. The schedule will be of particular interest to Astro fans with the team having to play the vast majority of road games (except for the Rangers) in the Mountain or Pacific time zones. Of course, remember that we are talking about only 25 road games that are affected, assuming they play the Rangers 5 times in Arlington, so it is not quite the quantity that we might in our minds be expecting. With the assumption of no crowds allowed will that at all affect whether games are day time or night time? We shall see.
  • Reading through various articles it appears that Yordan Alvarez, Jose Urquidy, Josh James and Joe Smith are not in camp. The team cannot comment on why players are not there, though the assumption is that they might not be there due to COVID-19, directly or indirectly. Dusty Baker mentioned that James is out due to a family issue, which obviously could be related to discussions about the risk relative to the virus. He also made it seem like Smith, whose mother is suffering from Huntington’s disease may be considering sitting out this season. With a very short summer camp and a starting rotation and bullpen in flux with the losses of Gerrit Cole, Wade Miley, Will Harris and Hector Rondon, this is not good news. While a late start to Alvarez’s season is not optimum, it is not that hurtful. But with Urquidy expected to slide into the 4th spot in the rotation, James competing for a 5th spot in the rotation or a more leveraged spot in the bullpen and Smith expected to be a solid choice out of the ‘pen, any kind of delay in them joining the team may well affect how the team approaches the start of the regular season. Losing any of them for the season would make it tough on the team to fill in behind them.
  •  Just received a notification that the Astros cancelled their morning workout due to delays in receiving COVID-19 test results. The Nationals did the same. The testing (and quick results) is considered critical to the safety and health protocols put in place for the league. Stay tuned on how this works itself out, though it could be something that was exacerbated by the holiday weekend.
  • Dusty Baker’s comments on Zack Greinke show that the pitcher continues to be “different”. Baker says he is in camp, but he apparently has worked out so early that Baker hasn’t seen him yet. Is it possible that Greinke’s anxiety issues extend to the virus and he is limiting his exposure from his teammates by getting in and done so early? However, they have talked about Greinke being one who has been late showing up for training camp in the past, anyway, and it does not seem to have affected him as he has put together a series of outstanding seasons.
  • Alex Bregman is fired up to be even better than he was last season. Considering he was amazing last season, this has true fans salivating. Fans hope the first thing on his checklist is to not start this season slowly as he has every season before this.

Well, that’s it for today’s news. Anything of interest there for y’all to tie into?


25 comments on “Astros 2020: Early summer camp stuff

  1. I did read Bregman’s comments and was fired up about his attitude. The guy is full speed ahead in everything he does and I am so glad the Astros were able to draft him.
    Greinke has anxiety issues, but I think the way he handles them is so different that he has become almost immune to the things that most people get anxious about. I think his way of dealing with people and issues keeps him separate from a lot of crap that most people get upset about.
    I’m looking forward to the schedule announcement to see how much MLB hates the Astros.
    As fast as things are unraveling in MLB summer camp, I think we are at less than a 25% chance of having a season. Too many players are not wanting to play and for good reasons. I think Manfred is going to get fired for the way he has handled everything that has happened in baseball since the 2019 WS.
    Imagine going into an offseason after 2021, with the CBA expiring and having this donkey in charge.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t know if Bregman will ever be fully satisfied with a season. He’ll end up being another HOF guy.

    The Astros cancelled workouts today due to a delay in getting test results. Seems Friday’s results have not been received as of yet. With four guys already out of camp, it gives one cause for speculation. Did they not like Fridays results and are retesting?


  3. daveb – I think this is very simply a problem with the labs and the 4th of July holiday. I’ve had stuff held up at my work with people taking off either Friday or Monday or both.

    oldpro – My son has great anxiety issues and like Greinke has learned to mitigate them similarly. It is a part of their life that they have to handle if they are to survive.
    I don’t think that many players are opting out, a handful throughout the leagues while each team has 60 to pick from, but if mlb does not handle some of these testing issues it could go south on them.
    And Manfred better be on a very short leash right now. I would have thrown him out by now, but I’m betting he will survive until he mucks up the next CBA


    • Understand the holiday weekend, I just would have thought MLB with their resources would have planned on making sure results were not delayed. On the flip side, there is a lot of local testing going on right now. All the labs might be going 24/7.


      • Here’s the problem Dave. The guys who could not anticipate that high definition video being pumped live to a room next to the dugout could be used to cheat are not able to anticipate problems with the way they have set up testing. They pay attention to the wrong things…..


  4. Forgive me I’ve been reading, but haven’t posted on here. I’m not getting all giddy for baseball to start…because somewhere in the next 3 months something will happen and it will shut down. Mark my word.
    Dan I’ve been lifting you in prayer for your health Please let us know any new updates when you can🙏 Good night everyone⚾


    • Hey Becky – I’ve been praying for you also.
      I should know something Thursday or Friday – and I will let everyone know. Giving it up to God at this point.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dan….EVERYONE of us can use those extra prayers🙏!! Sometimes I think praying for myself is selfish….but I’m told it’s ok to do so. I’ve always thought of myself as a tough old gal, but these fractures of my vertebrae have clearly taught me a lesson about that. Thank goodness everyone on this blog are honored to be friends especially me! Maldonaldo and Joe Smith are starting to waffle as they weigh whether to play this 60 games. Hope they make the best choice for their families. Side note: Becky⚾


  5. Kind of interesting to me….. Over at they have had to impose a policy of not allowing comments on articles dealing with COVID-19, (which these days is almost every article). The writers say the comment section has become too toxic with people’s comments that have become way too political and nasty in nature. They said the writers are too busy to spend as much time as needed to moderate these things.
    I do appreciate that y’all in general are not trollish here and that though you do have political slants that you generally keep them in check.
    I just say that we always need to be mindful and respectful of each other. If we have to resort to name calling in order to make a point then we don’t have much of a point. So thanks for making this one of the more thoughtful comment sections around.
    And remember that I am always right….

    Liked by 1 person

  6. There were a number of headlines around when the Astros cancelled their Monday practice due to not getting test results back. I can’t find if they are actually practicing today, but I assume they are or else we would have big headlines in bold print.


  7. One would have thought MLB could have easily made a balanced schedule with 5 home & 5 away games against division rivals and 2 home & 2 away games against opposite-league teams, but they did not.

    The Astros unbalanced schedule is as follows (opponent/home games/away games):

    A’s: 3 / 7
    Rangers: 6 / 4
    Angels: 4 / 6
    Mariners: 7 / 3
    Dodgers: 2 / 2
    D’backs: 3 / 3
    Giants: 3 / 0
    Rockies: 2 / 2
    Padres: 0 / 3

    Another quirk in the schedule is that the 10 games vs. the Rangers are all in September.



    Why would the local rag, as poor as its own content is, even publish such drivel?

    Anyone have any idea what a stiff writer gets paid when something gets published?


  9. I found that piece by googling the Astros are a team of Karens. Nasty piece of modern journalism which means it isn’t journalism at all.
    If you can’t write without adding expletives and you can’t write without some respect for yourself or common decency maybe you shouldn’t write.
    However this kind of stream of consciousness, angry, nasty writing is what sells and what collects clicks these days.


    • I tried to bring it up on the Houston Chronicle website but it would never come up. However, it did come up, using the strategy that Dan suggested, and it refers to the San Francisco Chronicle as the rag. I’ll stop there as Chipalatta is not a political website.


      • I appreciate you holding back Sarge. I could believe that type of writing out of a low end fan blog (not classy like this one haha). But from a paid journalist? Ridiculous


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