AL Notes: Alvarez, Torres, Flexen


Astros GM Dana Brown discussed star slugger Yordan Alvarez’s health during an appearance on an ESPN game broadcast today, telling ESPN broadcasters that “He should definitely be back for Opening Day. His hands were a little sore. He had some of that last year, but we feel totally confident that he’ll be in games somewhere midway through (Spring Training). But he’s already feeling a lot better.”

The news that Alvarez should be ready for opening day is surely a relief for Astros fans, as the slugger is among the most important players in the star-studded Astros lineup that took home a World Series championship in 2022. Alvarez hit an astonishing .306/.406/.613 with 37 home runs in just 135 games last season. By measure of wRC+, Alvarez was 85% better than the league average hitter in 2022, a fantastic figure only topped by reigning AL MVP Aaron Judge last year.

As Brown mentioned, Alvarez dealt with hand issues throughout the 2022 season, going on the injured list in July and missing time with the issue occasionally throughout the season. Those issues clearly did not hamper his production in 2022, so the fact that Alvarez is not expected to miss time to open the regular season is an encouraging development as he looks to follow up on a season that cemented him among the best hitters in the entire sport and the Astros look to hold off the Mariners, Angels, and Rangers in an AL West that should see all four clubs vying for playoff spots this season. That being said, the situation will remain one to keep an eye on until Alvarez returns to game action, as he’s currently slated to do next month.

More from around the American League…

  • Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres did a Q&A with The Athletic’s Chris Kirschner today, where the pair discussed an area of topics, including the recent trade rumors that have swirled around Torres. In the interview, Torres notes that he loves playing in New York and would like to spend the rest of his career with the Yankees, though he did note that hearing about the trade rumors was “really hard”, particularly around the trade deadline last season, and that though his representatives have spoken to the front office about a possible extension, he hasn’t had any conversations with GM Brian Cashman or Manager Aaron Boone on the subject personally. Torres, who slashed .257/.310/.451 (115 wRC+) last year, is set to hit free agency following the 2024 campaign.
  • Another player who found himself in the rumor mill this offseason was Mariners right-hander Chris Flexen. As Flexen told Ryan Divish of The Seattle Times and other reporters, the experience of expecting a trade was a harrowing one for him, as well. “It wasn’t the best, but I’m still wearing ‘Mariners’ across my chest. I’m happy to be here.” Flexen was pushed to the bullpen down the stretch last season following Seattle’s acquisition of ace Luis Castillo, and there doesn’t appear to be a clearer path to the rotation entering 2023, though the Mariners are currently stretching him out in case of injury. Still, Flexen excelled out of the bullpen in 2022, posting a 1.62 ERA in 16 2/3 innings as a reliever last year, so a return to the bullpen could still see Flexen impact the club in a major way headed into the regular season.

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