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2021 Houston Astros: Spring Training Update

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The 2021 Houston Astros continues to prepare for the regular season, with a current Grapefruit League record of 3-9-1. The Astros have also continued to develop their young prospects while some of their big hitters continue to recover from injuries.

2021 Houston Astros: Latest Roster Cuts

The Astros continue to trim down their roster as Opening Day nears. In the latest roster cuts: Pedro Leon, Scott Manea, Austin Hansen, Ronel Blanco were reassigned to the minor leagues. All four of these players were non-roster invitees.

Pedro Leon created a lot of buzz during Spring Training. Coming into Spring Training as one of the top international prospects, Leon gave Astros fans a glimpse of what they might expect when he gets called up by the Astros. It came as no surprise that Leon would be reassigned, given that he still needs to develop and adjust to Major League pitchers, but he’s shown much promise this Spring.

Leon did manage to get into nine games this spring and though he did not record a batting average, he managed to record one RBI in ten plate appearances. It might not look like much in the stat book, but many Astros players have been thoroughly impressed with Leon and his work ethic and are eager to see what he can do once he gets called up.

Scott Manea came over to the Astros from the New York Mets via trade in 2019. Drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 40th round in 2014, Manea has spent the early part of his professional career in the Minor Leagues. Manea appeared in five games this spring but did not record any stats in his four plate appearances.

Austin Hansen was the Astros eighth-round draft from 2018. Hansen, a right-handed pitcher, appeared in two games this spring, but did not record any wins or losses, had four strikeouts in 3.0 innings pitched.

The Astros signed Ronel Blanco in 2019 as an international pick. One of the older pitching prospects in the Astros organization, Blanco, was only able to get into one game this spring. While he didn’t record a win, he did have two strikeouts in 1.1 innings pitched.

2021 Houston Astros: Injury Update

Today was a good day for Astros fans. Justin Verlander was finally able to start throwing after having Tommy John surgery back on September 30, 2020. The two-time AL Cy Young award winner is hoping to get back on the mound this season. If Verlander can return and if the Astros make it to the postseason, fans could see Verlander come in at some point in a bullpen-type role.

Astros lefty Framber Valdez received both a second opinion on his fractured left ring finger on his throwing hand; both he and the 2021 Houston Astros received news. His injury has shown “significant healing,” which means that surgery will not be necessary. The Astros and Valdez will begin to rehab his throwing hand in the coming days, but it is still unclear when he will return to the Astros rotation.

https://twitter.com/astrostalkpod/status/1372360068486815746?s=20

Astros top pitching prospect Forrest Whitley officially underwent Tommy John surgery to repair the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his right elbow. This means that he is out for the remainder of the 2021 season. Depending on how his recovery goes, the Astros might be able to see Whitley back on the mound sometime around the summer of 2022.

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Jeff "Rip" Griffin is a current MLB writer covering the Houston Astros. Rip is also the host of The Rip Griffin Show on Apple Podcasts. Rip holds a Bachelors of Science in Kinesiology, focusing in Sports Management from the University of Houston - Victoria.