Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman each were hit by pitches with the bases loaded during back-to-back at-bats in the second inning, and the Houston Astros cruised to a 15-6 win over the host Kansas City Royals on Tuesday.
Two innings later, Altuve exited the game because of a left leg contusion after a collision at home plate. His status is day-to-day, with the Astros set to open the regular season Friday night against the visiting Seattle Mariners.
Royals right-hander Jorge Lopez hit Altuve and Bregman upon entering the game, but the beanings did not appear to be intentional as both forced in a run. The Astros enter this season under increased scrutiny following a sign-stealing scandal, and the team’s hitters could get plunked more this season as retribution.
George Springer was among five Astros players who homered during the rout. Springer also drew two walks and scored three runs -- and he was hit by a pitch, too.
Franchy Cordero and Bobby Witt Jr. finished with two hits apiece to lead the Royals.
--Joey Votto was among four Cincinnati Reds players to take a knee during the national anthem before an exhibition game against the Detroit Tigers.
Amir Garrett, Phillip Ervin and Alex Blandino also kneeled along the first base line during the anthem. Mike Moustakas put his hand on Ervin’s shoulder, and manager David Bell stood next to Blandino, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Garrett and Ervin are the only Black players on the Reds. Votto and others have worn T-shirts with “Black Lives Matter” printed on the front during workouts this month.
--The New York Yankees purchased the contracts of veterans Chris Iannetta, David Hale and Luis Avilan.
New York also sent left-hander Jordan Montgomery to the club’s alternate site in Moosic, Pa. Montgomery is a candidate to return in the next couple weeks to join a rotation led by Gerrit Cole, James Paxton and J.A. Happ.
Iannetta likely will serve as the Yankees’ third catcher behind Gary Sanchez and Kyle Higashioka. Hale bolsters the team’s right-handed depth out of the bullpen, while Avilan provides another southpaw option in relief.
--The Philadelphia Phillies granted veteran infielder Josh Harrison’s request to be released, according to multiple published reports.
Harrison, 33, had sought frequent playing time with the Phillies after spending eight seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates and then the 2019 season with the Detroit Tigers. Upon being released, he is a free agent and able to sign with any team.
A two-time All-Star, Harrison has hit .273 with 53 homers and 277 RBIs across 878 career games. He appeared in only 36 games for Detroit last season.
--Field Level Media
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