Astros minus 8 pitchers because of coronavirus protocols

Houston Astros starting pitcher Jose Urquidy throws during the first inning of a spring training baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Friday, March 5, 2021, in Jupiter, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Houston Astros starting pitcher Jose Urquidy throws during the first inning of a spring training baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Friday, March 5, 2021, in Jupiter, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) – The Houston Astros are minus eight pitchers because of COVID-19 protocols, but general manager James Click said there were no plans to pause activity at the team’s spring training camp.

Manager Dusty Baker said Friday that pitchers Cristian Javier, Pedro Báez, Francis Martes, Enoli Paredes and Hector Velazquez were out. On Thursday, Baker said pitchers Bryan Abreu, Ronel Blanco and Luis Garcia were sent away from the complex.

It was not known whether the eight pitchers had tested positive for the virus or had come in close contact with someone who had tested positive. There was no exact timetable for their return, but they must quarantine for at least a week under Major League Baseball’s health and safety protocols.

Earlier this week, the Astros lost starter Framber Valdez when he suffered a broken left finger while fielding a ball in an exhibition game.

The Astros aren’t in any danger of running out of pitchers, however. They list 23 pitchers on their 40-man roster, plus 16 more nonroster pitchers in camp.

Jose Urquidy started and pitched two innings Friday against Miami.

Click said the team wasn’t worried about a possible camp shutdown.

“No, we are not concerned about that,” he told Houston media, adding the protocols are “designed to isolate any potential issues and prevent them from reaching a scale at which point we would have to consider shutting down or pausing.”