Evan Gattis wanted to lose weight to prepare for the rigors of a long baseball season. Instead, he may start the year on the disabled list after suffering a sports hernia that required surgery which will sideline the slugger for 4-6 weeks.
Gattis: Stroke will be quiet
(c) Fox News
Gattis wanted to be ready to field a position so he could be more useful against National League opponents where the Designated Hitter rule is not used. Missing spring training means he will be unlikely to fill in as a catcher, outfielder or first baseman - at least early in the season.
It's bad timing in another way. Gattis is the last arbitration case the Astros have for the year. It's expected to be decided next Tuesday between Gattis' desired salary of $3.8 million and the ballclub's preference of $3 million. While, in theory, the injury should not affect which salary is chosen, Gattis may not be well enough to attend the hearing himself.
Jason Castro, the other remaining arbitration case this winter, has already lost his hearing and will be paid $5 million for 2016 instead of the $5.25 million he sought.
While the injury to Gattis depletes depth, it also opens the door for several young prospects to see more playing time. Outfielders Colby Rasmus and Preston Tucker could get more at bats while infielders A.J. Reed, Matt Duffy and Tyler White will get some extra chances to impress the front office that they deserve a big league job.
First baseman Jon Singleton may also get chances to hit as the DH while other prospects are tried out at first base.
The full camp will report by February 23rd in Kissimmee, FL, with the first spring game coming March 3rd against the Phillies.
- Bob Hulsey