Houston Astros infield prospect's big debut

Houston Astros infield prospect J.D. Davis made his

major league debut on Saturday night against the Blue Jays, and

while there is no definitive timetable for how long he will remain

in the bigs, there is reason to believe that his stay won't be

unusually brief.


While the Astros (70-40) appear poised to welcome back outfielder

George Springer off the disabled list next week in Chicago,

All-Star shortstop Carlos Correa remains at least a month away from

his return. In his absence, the Astros have juggled players on the

left side of the infield, and Davis' promotion should help provide

some stability for the immediate future.


"Davis has sort of made a push towards the big leagues really all

season," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "We were impressed with

him in the spring, we talked about how he could make a team moving

forward and a few months later he's the right pick for us. We

really wanted to get another player who could play on the left side

of the infield. It helps with (Alex) Bregman and Yuli (Gurriel) and

Marwin (Gonzalez), and he provides some power.


"We would continue to try to mix and match our roster and try to

make it work. He's playing well, we're going to face some lefties

coming up this week. I think it will be a nice opportunity for him."


Right-hander Mike Fiers (7-6, 3.97 ERA) will start the series and

homestand finale for the Astros. Fiers leads the club in starts

(21), innings (118) and quality starts (nine) this season. He is

1-3 with a 3.65 ERA over five career appearances (four starts)

against the Blue Jays, suffering a 7-2 loss in Toronto on July 8

after allowing three runs on five hits and four walks in six



Right-hander Marcus Stroman (10-5, 3.19 ERA) will take the mound

for the Blue Jays. Stroman is 2-1 with a 3.09 ERA over four career

starts against the Astros. He limited Houston to one run on six

hits and three walks with six strikeouts over seven innings in a

7-2 home victory on July 8.


With the Blue Jays (52-58) struggling to remain in postseason

contention, the organization continues to make moves relative to

personnel evaluations down the stretch.


In tandem with designating right-hander Mike Bolsinger for

assignment, the Blue Jays purchased the contract of right-hander

Taylor Cole from Triple-A Buffalo with the intent of allowing Cole

to make his major league debut. Cole, set to turn 28 on Aug. 20 and

a 29th-round selection by Toronto in 2011, was with the club in

spring training prior to the 2016 campaign.


Cole had battled shoulder problems this season but across two

levels in the minors, he had yet to allow an earned run while

posting 16 strikeouts against just two walks in 12 2/3 innings.


"They like the way he's throwing the ball," Blue Jays manager John

Gibbons said of Cole. "Good opportunity for him."


Cole has started 15 of 21 appearances over his last two seasons but

will work out of the bullpen for the Blue Jays, primarily as a

multi-inning option.


"We probably need him to be a multi-inning guy," Gibbons said. "He

can do that."

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