LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) — Jason Castro’s homer was a bright spot for the Houston Astros in a 4-2 loss to a Detroit Tigers split squad on Sunday.
However, the injury news for the rest of the team wasn’t as positive.
Center fielder Jordan Schafer and shortstop Jed Lowrie remained off the field just five days before the Astros’ regular season opener.
The Astros would not dismiss the possibility of one or both players starting the season on the disabled list.
Schafer, who has a sprained left hand, and Lowrie, out with a strained right thumb, were scheduled to bat first and second for Houston.
The Astros wanted to get Schafer a couple of at-bats Sunday for the first time in two weeks, but he experienced pain in his wrist while taking batting practice and told manager Brad Mills he could not swing.
“There’s no doubt that the anxiousness mounts each day,” Mills said, “because it shortens the at-bats that he’s going to get before the season starts.”
Lowrie injured his thumb while sliding into second base on Tuesday. He has not played since.
The Astros told Brett Wallace, their opening day first baseman a year ago, that he will be sent down to Triple-A Oklahoma City to start the season as a third baseman.
They also informed Castro, second baseman Jose Altuve, outfielders J.D. Martinez and Brian Bogusevic and shortstop Marwin Gonzalez that they will open the season on the major league roster for the first time.
“It’s one of the fun things we get to do,” general manager Jeff Luhnow said. “We brought `em all into Brad’s office to let them know. They were all thrilled, as you can imagine.”
Gonzalez, a 23-year-old Rule 5 acquisition, can play three infield positions, but Mills called him “a true shortstop” and he might prove to be the Astros’ opening day shortstop if Lowrie goes on the DL.
The likely starter in center field, if Schafer can’t play, would be Bogusevic.
Castro, hitting .341 in the spring after missing the entire 2011 season due to knee surgery, hit his first spring home run for the Astros’ only run off Detroit starter Doug Fister.
Jhonny Peralta hit a two-run homer off Houston starter Wandy Rodriguez, who will pitch the season opener against the Colorado Rockies.
Peralta drove in another run with a double in the sixth inning.
Tigers 9, Mets 2
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) — New York Mets starter R.A. Dickey needed two stitches in his right heel after being spiked Sunday in a 9-2 loss to a split squad of Detroit Tigers.
Dickey was covering first base when Corey Jones stepped on him in the third inning. Dickey stayed in the game and left after the fourth, allowing one run and three hits.
Prince Fielder hit a long home run, his third of the spring for the Tigers.
While most of his teammates struggled with Dickey’s knuckleball, Fielder connected his second time up. He sent a drive deep to right field, where it landed on the canopy of the pavilion behind the berm and bounced into a marsh.
“Dickey has a really good knuckleball,” Fielder said. “For me, his knuckleball is not the normal one. It’s faster, so I try to look at it more as a cutter because if you wait too long it cuts in or sinks away.”
“I just try not to let it beat me too much. I definitely want to hit it more out front,” he said.
James McCann hit a grand slam during a seven-run burst in the sixth.
Ike Davis and Lucas Duda singled for the Mets’ only hits.