Astros activate Yordan Alvarez

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The Astros announced Thursday that they have reinstated designated hitter Yordan Alvarez from the injured list and placed closer Ryan Pressly on the paternity list. Outfielder Jose Siri was optioned to make room for Alvarez, while lefty Parker Mushinski was reinstated from the 15-day injured list to take Pressly’s spot for now.

Houston general manager James Click also provided updates on a pair of injured veterans, Michael Brantley and Jason Castro, neither of which sounded like return was imminent (Twitter links via FOX 26’s Mark Berman). There is no present timetable for Brantley’s return from a shoulder injury, as the team needs to wait for the inflammation to die down before his rehab can progress further. Click stated that “the best medicine [for Brantley] is time” at this point. More nebulously, the GM said Castro is “making some decisions on what the best plan of attack is to get himself back into playing shape.” The team hopes to have a more concrete update on him before long.

With Brantley still sidelined indefinitely, it is especially good news for Houston that Alvarez only wound up missing the minimum number of regular-season games possible due to inflammation in his right hand. He is been the best overall offensive performer in baseball on a rate basis this season, ranking 12th among qualified hitters in batting average (.306), fourth in on-base percentage (.405) and leading the Majors in slugging percentage (.653). Only Aaron Judge (33), Kyle Schwarber (29) and Austin Riley (27) have more home runs than Alvarez’s 26, and each of those three players has at least 83 more plate appearances than Alvarez on the year.

This year’s brilliant production, paired with Alvarez’s generally outstanding track record, prompted the ’Stros to put forth a six-year, $115M extension offer that Alvarez accepted. His new deal covers the 2023-28 seasons, ensuring that Houston will have control over one of the game’s best hitters for what would have been his first three free-agent seasons. Given just how good Alvarez is and how immediately he ascended to the ranks of MLB’s elite hitters, it is easy to forget that he only just turned 25 years old. He will be 31 when the new contract expires, leaving him ample opportunity for a second major contract of note.

As for Pressly, he will be away from the team for up to three days. He is been on an absolute tear of late, rattling off a string of nine perfect innings dating back to June 25, punching out 17 of the 27 consecutive hitters he’s retired in that stretch. Rafael Montero, Ryne Stanek and Hector Neris will all be leverage options for manager Dusty Baker in Pressly’s absence.

Mushinski’s return makes him the lone lefty reliever in Baker’s bullpen. The 26-year-old rookie has appeared in six games so far, yielding three runs on five hits and three walks with eight strikeouts in 6 1/3 big league innings. He’s also logged a 3.32 ERA in 19 Triple-A innings so far in the 2022 season.


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