Astros forced to scramble as five players go on COVID-19 IL

The Astros experienced an instant 20 percent roster turnover Wednesday. Five players — Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Martin Madonado, Yordan Alvarez and Robel Garcia — were placed on the COVID injured list before the team’s game vs. the Tigers under MLB’s health and safety protocols. 

The game went on over the objections of the players who remained on the active roster. Such is life in Season 2 of pandemic baseball.

“I’ll just say we felt that it would have been better if we weren’t out there today,” Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. told reporters after the game (per “I think it would have been the smartest thing today [to not play], but we were overruled.”

Astros general manager James Click told reporters before the game (per that MLB felt there wasn’t a “health and safety reason” to postpone. He also said that he did not believe anyone violated protocol.

McCullers was hit hard (six earned runs in 3 2/3 innings) and Houston lost 6-4 after leaving the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth. Rookie Ronnie Dawson stood in for Alvarez at DH and the Astros’ top bench players covered for Altuve, Bregman and Maldonado.

Dawson and the other four replacement players were summoned from the Astros’ alternate site in Corpus Christi, Texas, to fill out the 26-man roster. They were playing an exhibition at the time.

“We have to go forward with whoever’s here,” Astros manager Dusty Baker told reporters pregame, per “You pick up the flag and you keep on persevering. It’s better it happens now than it happens later in the year. Out of adversity comes opportunity. It’s a time for some guys to shine.”

Click wasn’t at liberty to provide specifics, so he couldn’t say whether any players had tested positive. Baker was more forthcoming. He told reporters that all five have received at least one vaccine shot. Players can be placed on the COVID IL if they experience side effects from the shots.

While the Astros were directed to play on for at least Wednesday, the Nationals had their first four games postponed after four players reportedly tested positive prior to Opening Day and seven other players were quarantined because they were considered close contacts.

Houston’s next game is scheduled for Friday in Seattle. It should know by then whether it will play and who will be in uniform.

Source: Read Full Article