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Astros' Abreu shines in spring debut

Right-hander fans four over two perfect frames in victory
Bryan Abreu's 12.42 strikeouts per nine innings ranked ninth among Minor Leaguers who threw at least 80 frames in 2019. (Frank Franklin II/AP)
February 24, 2020

Bryan Abreu's most immediate route back to the Majors might be through the bullpen, but on Monday, he gave the Astros a look at why he could be a starting option.The 22-year-old right-hander, who finished 2019 as Houston's No. 4 prospect, fired two perfect innings to help the Astros defeat

Bryan Abreu's most immediate route back to the Majors might be through the bullpen, but on Monday, he gave the Astros a look at why he could be a starting option.
The 22-year-old right-hander, who finished 2019 as Houston's No. 4 prospect, fired two perfect innings to help the Astros defeat the Tigers, 11-1, at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium.

Abreu struck out four Detroit batters, including Miguel Cabrera and C.J. Cron, in his first Grapefruit League appearance of the spring. The Dominican Republic native posted a 7-2 record with a 4.83 ERA with 126 strikeouts and 54 walks in 91 1/3 innings between Class A Advanced Fayetteville and Double-A Corpus Christi last season. He made seven appearances out of the Houston bullpen following a July 31 debut and gave up one earned run while fanning 13 over 8 2/3 frames in The Show.

Houston's No. 14 prospect Garrett Stubbs hit his first home run of the spring and finished 2-for-2 as designated hitter. Fifth-ranked Abraham Toro singled and scored a run as a late-game replacement.
No. 11 Tigers prospect Willi Castro, No. 15 Sergio Alcántara and No. 17 Kody Clemens each picked up singles in the loss. No. 30 Troy Stokes Jr. went 1-for-2 with a double. No. 20 Anthony Castro was charged with four earned runs, giving up one hit and a walk while hitting two batters over two-thirds of an inning.
Marlins 6, Cardinals 3
Third-ranked St. Louis prospect Matthew Liberatore got off to a solid start in his Grapefruit League debut -- he induced a quick flyout from the first batter he faced, then buckled the knees of Miami's Brian Miller with an overhand curve. But Miller tripled on the next pitch and things went downhill for Liberatore, whom the Cardinals acquired from Tampa Bay last month. The 20-year-old southpaw took the loss, allowing five runs on three hits, three walks and a balk in two-thirds of an inning. Fellow St. Louis prospects Zack Thompson (No. 6), Junior Fernandez (No. 9) and Kodi Whitley (No. 14) each fired a scoreless frame. Second-ranked Nolan Gorman went 0-for-1 with a walk. For Miami, No. 2 prospect JJ Bleday contributed an RBI single while eighth-ranked Trevor Rogers and No. 11 Nick Neidert combined to throw three scoreless innings. Box score
Blue Jays 4, Braves 3
All three of Atlanta's runs were driven in by top prospects. No. 26 overall prospect Drew Waters slapped a two-run single and Braves No. 13 prospect Cristian Pache followed with an RBI single to center in the first. The pair then swiped third and second respectively. No. 16 Thomas Burrows worked around a walk in a hitless fifth. In the winning effort, Blue Jays No. 22 prospect Hector Perez yielded a free pass with a strikeout in a hitless sixth. Box score
Phillies 8, Orioles 7
Nick Maton homered and knocked in two runs to help Philadelphia edge Baltimore. Maton, the Phils' No. 14 prospect, hit a two-run shot in the sixth off reliever Travis Lakins and finished 1-for-2. Rafael Marchan, the club's No. 13 prospect, went 1-for-2 while 12th-ranked Jhailyn Ortiz struck out in both of his at-bats. No. 24 Kyle Dohy, a 16th-round pick in the 2017 Draft, surrendered two runs on a pair of homers in one inning. The 23-year-old lefty struck out one. Orioles No. 24 prospect Rylan Bannon went 1-for-2 with a run scored while Ryan Mountcastle (No. 4) and Austin Hays (No. 6) were held hitless in their three at-bats. Eighth-ranked Dean Kremer allowed a run on two hits and fanned two in the final 1 1/3 frames after No. 11 Keegan Akin was charged with three runs on four hits over two innings. He struck out two. Box score
Red Sox 2 (ss), Rays 2
Boston's No. 6 prospect Tanner Houck got the start and pitched a pair of scoreless innings in a game that ended tied after nine innings. Houck struck out one, walked two and held the Rays to one hit while facing eight batters. Second-ranked Jeter Downs, who recently joined Boston in the Mookie Betts deal, started at second base and went 0-for-2 with a strikeout. Vidal Brujan, the Rays' No. 3 prospect, and No. 18 Taylor Walls went 0-for-2 coming off the bench. Box score
Twins 3, Red Sox (ss) 2
Minnesota's No. 19 prospect Gilberto Celestino hit a solo homer out of the ninth spot in the victory. Top Twins prospect Royce Lewis finished 0-for-2 with a pair of strikeouts while seventh-ranked Brent Rooker picked up a single and a walk. No. 30 Red Sox prospect Jonathan Arauz, who is competing for a spot in Boston as a Rule 5 pick, doubled in two at-bats as his club's starting shortstop. Box score
Mets 2, Nationals 1
Lefty David Peterson looked sharp in the start for New York, allowing one hit over two scoreless innings. The Mets' No. 7 prospect, a first-round pick out of Oregon in 2017, struck out two and did not walk a batter. No. 22 prospect Jordan Humphreys yielded the Nats' lone run after giving up a triple and a double in the sixth. Fourth-ranked Washington prospect Wil Crowe took the loss, allowing one run on two hits -- one of them a towering blast by Mets catcher Wilson Ramos. Box score
Royals 8, Padres 5
Kansas City got power from prospects while outlasting visiting San Diego at Surprise Stadium. No. 4 prospect Khalil Lee delivered a solo blast in four at-bats and ninth-ranked MJ Melendez hit a pinch-hit three-run shot while second baseman Kevin Merrell, the team's 18th-ranked prospect, doubled and scored in his lone plate appearance. Box score
Brewers 2, Angels 1
No. 3 Milwaukee prospect Zack Brown allowed one earned run on two hits and struck out a pair in an inning of relief. Los Angeles' 18th-ranked prospect Jared Walsh, who started the game at designated hitter, doubled and scored the Angels' only run. Box score
Dodgers 2, White Sox 2
No. 16 overall prospect Andrew Vaughn took advantage of his first Cactus League action with a double in two at-bats out of the sixth spot in the White Sox lineup. Chicago's No. 19 prospect Ian Hamilton was charged with the two earned runs off solo homers in his lone inning of relief. Los Angeles' 16th-ranked prospect Omar Estevez went deep in the sixth off Hamilton for his first long ball of the spring. Unranked outfielder Cody Thomas belted the other homer and also saved a run with a spectacular catch at the right-field wall to rob Blake Rutherford of a tater in the seventh. Box score
Brewers (ss) 14, A's 4
After going hitless in his spring debut, Lucas Erceg came out strong in Game 2. Milwaukee's No. 14 prospect drilled a two-run shot and added a single before crossing the plate again. Mario Feliciano (No. 8) joined Erceg in the starting lineup as designated hitter, going 2-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored. Joe Gray (No. 9) took over for Feliciano as DH and went 2-for-2 with an RBI and a run. From the bump, Trey Supak (No. 11) and Drew Rasmussen (No. 12) each struck out one in a scoreless frame, with the former allowing a hit. For the home team, A's No. 4 prospect Jorge Mateo went 1-for-3 with a run and a stolen base. Logan Davidson (No. 7) knocked an RBI single in the ninth while Skye Bolt (No. 16) added a double from the No. 7 hole. Right-hander Brian Howard (No. 23) worked around a walk with a strikeout in 2 1/3 hitless frames. Box score
Rockies 12, Indians 8
After being retired in his first two plate appearances, Colorado's No. 3 prospect Colton Welker worked a leadoff walk in the eighth that jump-started a five-run frame. Ryan Vilade (No. 6) went 1-for-3 with a run while Yonathan Daza (No. 10) went 1-for-3 with a double and a run. Box score
Cubs 16, Mariners 12
In the winning effort, No. 51 overall prospect Nico Hoerner went 0-for-2, but worked a walk and came around to score while No. 95 prospect Miguel Amaya was 1-for-2 with a double and a run. For the Mariners, No. 18 overall prospect Julio Rodriguez went 0-for-2 while Jake Fraley, Seattle's eighth-ranked prospect, slapped a double and scored once. Box score
Reds 9, Rangers 6
Texas' 11th-ranked prospect Anderson Tejeda doubled and scored while No. 14 Nick Solak mashed a two-run homer and singled. Cincinnati's No. 17 prospect Alfredo Rodriguez doubled. Box score
Giants 11, D-backs 9
San Francisco's top prospect Joey Bart -- the No. 14 overall prospect -- collected a pair of hits and scored in his second Cactus League contest of the spring. Arizona's No. 4 prospect Seth Beer notched a base hit and scored once. Box score
Pirates 3, Yankees 3
Pittsburgh's No. 2 prospect Ke'Bryan Hayes singled twice and third-ranked Oneil Cruz scored a run after reaching on a forceout. No. 16 Luis Escobar yielded a walk and a hit in one blank inning of relief. For New York, fourth-ranked Luis Gil allowed a run to score on a fielder's choice after he hit a batter and gave up a single to start his lone frame. No. 20 Luis Medina gave up an unearned run on two hits the next inning. Box score