Stubbs fights to be option
Garrett Stubbs intends to show he can play positions requiring less equipment.
“That’s kind of my goal this spring training: to make sure I can be an option around the whole field,” said Stubbs, the Astros’ third-string catcher behind Martin Maldonado and Jason Castro.
Stubbs, an eighth-round selection of the Astros in 2015 out of Southern Cal, said his primary focus is catching, of course.
“I’m still trying to fight for a spot, trying to be third-string catcher as well as a utility guy,” he said. “I’m still going to try to learn from Castro and ‘Maldy’ so eventually I can be trusted to be the No. 2 guy or No. 1 guy.”
Stubbs, 27, realizes he can add value by being ready to grab a glove for stints at second base or in the outfield.
“To at least be an option over there (at second) if something were to happen,” Stubbs said. “We’ve got a pretty good player over there (in Jose Altuve) playing second base, and hopefully, he can play every game.”
Stubbs has played in 33 games during the past two seasons for the Astros and is a career .186 hitter.
Baker adheres to health protocols
Although he received his final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine more than two weeks ago, “nothing changes” for Astros manager Dusty Baker in regard to Major League Baseball’s rigorous health and safety protocols during spring training.
“I’m still pretending like I didn’t get my shots,” Baker said Sunday. “I have my mask on, social distancing. You just can’t let your guard down, because there’s still so much about it that we don’t know.”
According to Baker, Major League Baseball has nothing written in its health and safety protocols tailored toward players or staff who’ve already received the vaccine.
The Centers for Disease Control still recommends mask-wearing, social distancing and hand washing for those who’ve received two doses of the vaccine. The CDC is unsure whether vaccinated individuals can still pass along the virus that causes COVID-19, according to its website. Recently, though, the organization said vaccinated individuals need not quarantine if they’re exposed to the virus.
“I’ve asked a question that (doctors) really don’t know: Could I be a carrier?” Baker said. “People seem to think I won’t get (COVID-19), or if I do, it won’t be as severe, but indeed I could be a carrier, too, at the same time. I don’t think anybody really knows.”
Baker received his second injection on Feb. 5 at his home in California, where the 71-year-old skipper starred in some public service announcements advocating the vaccine. Last week, Baker urged those who are unsure of the shot to receive it, but he understood some reticence.
“I’m just telling people you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do,” Baker said.