Back in August of last season, the Astros called up Canadien third baseman, Abraham Toro, from Triple-A. For Houston in 2019, Toro hit .218/.303/.385/.688 with two home runs and nine RBIs over 25 games. On September 1, Toro played the second game in his home country of Canada. In the top of the ninth inning of that game, he hit a two out, two run home run to break a 0-0 tie, and ultimately allowing Justin Verlander to complete his no-hitter. After flashes of potential in his stint in the majors Toro is hoping to make an impact for the Astros in 2020. Toro was also nice enough to allow me to interview him, and here were his responses.
Interview with Abraham Toro:
Iris Ramirez: Is it frustrating for you at all, having opening day unclear, and not being able to be with the team?
Abraham Toro: Yes, of course it’s frustrating just with the situation going on right now. But at the same time, it’s not something you can control so I just have to keep staying in shape so whenever we’re able to play, I’m ready to go.
Ramirez: What have you been doing to be able to stay in shape and ready for when the season begins?
Toro: What I’ve been doing is just continuing to play at my home. I’ve been working out, and just training to stay in shape so when we’re allowed to play again, I’m ready to go.
Ramirez: The MLB has proposed several ideas to try and get players back on the field, including having all games being played in Arizona. Would you be open to this idea?
Toro: Yes, I would be open to everything, as long as it’s safe to play. The players want to succeed, and I want to be able play so I’m open for whatever.
Ramirez: Down the road, what do you see as your role being on this team with Alex Bregman at third, and Yuli Gurriel at first? Will you be able to play around the diamond in a utility type of role?
Toro: Yes, I’m open to whatever role is needed; I just want to be a part of the team. So, whatever they need me to do, I just want to fill that role, and help the team success. For me, it doesn’t matter the position, as long as I can play.
On Getting Called Up to the Majors:
Ramirez: You got called up in August of last season and made your MLB debut. Who told you that you had been called up to the Astros, and what was that conversation like?
Toro: So that conversation was with my minor league manager. I went to my hotel room after a game, and I was about to go to sleep, and he called me. We just talked for a bit, and then at the end of the conversation, he told me that I’d be playing for the Astros tomorrow. It was a huge surprise, I had to pack up all my stuff, and then the next day I joined the team.
Ramirez: You hit your first MLB home run on August 29th against the Tampa Bay Rays. What was that feeling like as you were running the bases?
Toro: Oh, it was just an unbelievable feeling. Being able to hit that first one, and getting it out of the way, it’s kind of like your welcoming to the major leagues. It was very special, and it was also a tie ballgame so, even though we ended up losing that game which sucked, at the time of hitting that home run it felt great.
On Hitting His First MLB Home Run:
Ramirez: One of your best moments last season was hitting a home run in the top of the ninth inning to break a 0-0 tie, allowing Justin Verlander to throw a no-hitter. How does it feel to have played a crucial part in Justin being able to complete that no-hitter, especially considering Verlander is such a legendary pitcher.
Toro: Yeah, so that was a crazy game because Verlander, he was so great that whole game, but we weren’t scoring. After I hit that home run, I think it got everyone on the team got excited, and it definitely got Verlander excited. So just to be a part of that, and being part of history because that was his third no-hitter was incredible.
Ramirez: Dusty Baker has been a manager around the MLB for a long time now. What has been your first impression of him as a manager?
Toro: Dusty’s great, he’s very close with the players. He doesn’t talk to you just about baseball, he’ll talk to you about anything. He’s built a great relationship with everybody, and just trying to get to know everybody. So I feel like he’s done a really great job for the team chemistry.
Ramirez: How has your team gone about trying to silence the critics of fans around the league?
Toro: I mean honestly, there’s not much we can do, but we have to just go out there, and play. We can’t feel bad for ourselves, we’re just trying to prove anything. We just have to go out there, and be able to prove that we’re still the best team in baseball.
On Adjusting to the Major Leagues:
Ramirez: As a rookie, what’s the biggest adjustment you have to make as a hitter going from facing Triple-A to major league pitching?
Toro: I think the biggest adjustment is just that you have so much information when you get to that big leagues, that you almost feel like you have to know everything. But, you have to just take whatever is useful for you, and practice. Because I think sometimes too much infortmation is not going to help you so just have to pick infortmation that’s good for you, and try not to overcomplicate things, and you’ll be fine.
Ramirez: What do you think is your biggest strength, and biggest weakness as a player?
Toro: I think my biggest strength has to be my offense. Just being able to hit, and get on base. My biggest weakness, and something I can work on is my base running. I think I have the speed to be able to steal more bases. So that’s something I’ve been working on, and hopefully something I’ll be able to do more of this season.
Ramirez: And my final question, what are your goals for this season at the major league level?
Toro: My goal is pretty simple: I want to be able to stay healthy, and stay in the big leagues for the whole year. That’s something that was my goal heading into spring training so hopefully that can happen this season.
Thank you so much Abraham Toro for allowing me to interview you!
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