The Astros scored 13 runs Friday, but they've got some more offensive firepower on the way.
The team is calling up first base prospect A.J. Reed, filling a void at the position and giving one of the minors' best hitters a chance to show what he can do in the bigs. Reed is expected to join the team on Saturday.
Reed, the Astros' second-round pick in the 2014 MLB Draft, burst onto the prospect scene in 2015 when he hit .340/.432/.612 with 34 home runs, 127 RBI and 113 runs scored between High-A and Double-A. He hasn't enjoyed the same eye-popping success at Triple-A this year, batting .266/.345/.509 with 11 homers and 36 RBI, but Reed is batting .372 with three homers in his last 10 games.
First base wasn't an issue for the Astros in the early part of the year, as Tyler White was one of the best stories of the season's first few weeks. But he cooled to the point of being sent back to Triple-A, and guys like Marwin Gonzalez and Luis Valbuena have manned the position for the team in recent weeks. Astros' first basemen have a .422 slugging percentage, 19th-best in the majors and below the .441 league average for the position.
Reed, a left-handed hitter, may be protected from some tougher matchups, but the 23-year-old should get plenty of at-bats in an Astros lineup that can score some runs, as evidenced by Friday's outburst. He's definitely worth owning in all leagues where he's available.
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Arcia Gets A Fresh Start
A new beginning could be just what Oswaldo Arcia needs.
That's what Arcia, the Rays and even the Twins hope after Minnesota dealt the outfielder to Tampa on Friday for a player to be named later and cash. Arcia had been previously designated for assignment by the Twins.
Not long ago, Arcia was considered a promising prospect in the Twins' system. He appeared on top prospect lists prior to the 2013 season, a season in which he hit 14 home runs in 97 games. Arcia hit 20 homers the following season but batted just .231/.300/.452 on the year.
Injury derailed his 2015 season, and the Twins kept him in the minors for much of the year as he failed to get any traction when healthy. After hitting .214/.289/.369 in 32 games this year, the team designated him for assignment.
With the Rays, he'll get to hit the reset button. Still just 25 years old, Rays manager Kevin Cash is among those hoping a new situation will benefit Arcia.
"He actually beat us up pretty good," Cash recalled of his time with the Indians. "So it's just another piece that we can maybe add and mix and match with. Hopefully a change of scenery will do him well and do us well in the meantime."
Arcia will have to earn his keep, and the Rays have enough competent outfielders that they would lose very little by cutting him loose like his last team did. But if he's able to put everything together, it could be a great low-risk, high-reward move for the franchise and for Arcia.
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Aoki Gets Shipped Out
The Mariners are hoping a trip to Triple-A will help an old dog re-learn one of his tricks.
The club sent outfielder Nori Aoki to Triple-A Friday, a surprising demotion for the 34-year-old. According to Baseball Reference, Aoki has played just seven minor league games over the course of his five-year MLB career.
Aoki is batting just .245/.323/.313 in 67 games this year, though, and he's been especially pedestrian against left-handed hitting. The outfielder has hit .177/.244/.190 against same-handed pitchers this year despite owning a career .304/.360/.375 line against southpaws.
"He hasn’t done what he normally does, particularly against left-handed pitching," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "I think that’s one area that needs to get better. Nori considers himself an everyday player and to be an everyday player you have to be able to hold your own against the lefties as well as the righties.
"His numbers against right-handers are very similar to what he has done his whole career. Just haven’t quite seen it from the lefties yet so it’s an opportunity he will take it in the right way, an opportunity to work on some things and be in a position that when our pitching straightens out up here we can bring him back."
National League Quick Hits: Anthony DiComo of MLB.com hears from multiple major league sources that the Mets expect to sign Jose Reyes as soon as Saturday afternoon ... Jim Bowden of ESPN and SiriusXM reports that the Red Sox have inquired on Julio Teheran and Arodys Vizcaino. While Bowden notes that the Red Sox and Braves "really do match up well for a potential blockbuster type deal," he cautions that "there is no traction to a trade at this time" ... Ben Zobrist was diagnosed with a bruised left ankle after going for X-rays. Zobrist was forced to exit Friday's game against the Marlins after he was hit in the foot by a pitch. He'll likely have to sit out Saturday's game, but consider him day-to-day for now ... Cubs manager Joe Maddon said Friday that Anthony Rizzo (back) is feeling better and it's "possible" the first baseman could return to the lineup Saturday. Rizzo sat out a second straight game Friday and has missed three contests over the last couple weeks with back stiffness, but it appears he's making some progress ... Carlos Gonzalez suffered a right wrist injury in Thursday's loss to the Diamondbacks. Rockies team doctor Tom Noonan looked at Gonzalez after the game and believes the injury is minor, and the outfielder had a pinch-hit double in Friday's game. He could be back as early as Saturday ... Yoenis Cespedes (wrist) returned to action Friday. He had one hit in five at-bats in a Mets win ... Gregory Polanco is not in the Pirates' lineup Friday due to left leg discomfort. It's unclear how Polanco was injured, but it appears to be a day-to-day situation ... Stephen Strasburg (back) is on track to start on Sunday versus the Brewers. Strasburg was scratched from his last outing with an upper back strain, but he had two ribs popped back into place and is now feeling much better ... Vincent Velasquez (biceps) is expected to rejoin the Phillies' rotation on Monday versus the Diamondbacks. Velasquez tossed five frames of one-run ball in a rehab start Wednesday and that's all he's going to need before being re-inserted into the rotation. He's expected to replace Adam Morgan among the Phillies' starting five ... Joey Votto (flu) returned to the Reds' lineup Friday after missing the previous three games. He went 0-for-3 with two walks and a run scored in his return ... Starling Marte (foot) was back in the Pirates' lineup Friday. Marte hadn't started since leaving Tuesday's game with a sore foot. He finished 2-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored in the game ... Jon Gray (shoulder) has been cleared to start Monday versus the Blue Jays after getting through a 14-pitch bullpen session Friday with no issues. Gray had to be pulled from his last start because of shoulder fatigue, but it's apparently no big deal ... Brewers manager Craig Counsell said Friday that Domingo Santana (elbow) has seen little improvement and will likely be sidelined through the All-Star break. Santana has been limited to just 18 games since the beginning of May due to a shoulder and more recently an elbow issue.
American League Quick Hits: La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that Byung-ho Park could be optioned to Triple-A Rochester when Miguel Sano (hamstring) returns from the disabled list. Sano began a rehab assignment Friday and will likely be activated next week. Park is 2-for-31 over his last nine games to drop his season line to .197/.283/.423, and he's been benched fairly often this month ... ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reports that the Angels "are listening" on Yunel Escobar and the Giants are "among the teams that have expressed interest." It could indicate that the Giants aren't expecting Matt Duffy (Achilles) back anytime soon ... Angels activated RHP Nick Tropeano from the 15-day disabled list; optioned him to Triple-A Salt Lake. The move comes after Tropeano allowed three runs over five innings and struck out seven Thursday in his first minor league rehab start with High-A Inland Empire. He's back to full health from his recent bout with shoulder tightness, but the Angels apparently don't think he's one of their best five starters at the moment ... Manny Machado went deep for the 18th time as part of a 2-for-4 night as the Orioles defeated the Rays 6-3 on Friday. The elite third baseman now sports a mammoth .320/.382/.615 slash line with 52 runs and 43 RBI ... Mookie Betts hit a game-tying, two-run home run with two outs in the ninth inning to help the Red Sox rally to an 8-7 victory over the Rangers on Friday. Betts finished 2-for-5 on the night. He's batting .292 with 16 homers and 12 steals and leads the majors with 65 runs scored ... Adam Lind's pinch-hit, walk-off three-run homer gave the Mariners a 4-3 win over the Cardinals on Friday.