Astros manager A.J. Hinch met privately with the team’s owner and general manager on Saturday, a day ahead of reliever Roberto Osuna’s activation following a 75-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball‘s domestic violence policy.
Hinch discussed the matter with owner Jim Crane and GM Jeff Luhnow, but declined to go into details. The manager said Osuna will join the club on Sunday and be activated for the series finale at Dodger Stadium.
Osuna is expected to address the team and then talk to the media with Luhnow.
Osuna was arrested in Toronto in May and charged with assaulting his girlfriend. No details have been made public and the matter is pending in court.
MLB handed him the second-longest suspension since its domestic violence policy was enacted three years ago and Osuna did not appeal.
The Astros acquired the right-hander from the Blue Jays at the trade deadline this week. The move raised eyebrows in the clubhouse and around baseball since Houston had previously stated its no-tolerance policy regarding domestic violence.
The team released minor leaguer Danry Vasquez last spring after surveillance video surfaced showing him assaulting a woman.
Astros starters Justin Verlander and Lance McCullers Jr. were outspoken about their disgust on Twitter at that time.
“My views on the topic have been out there. I’ve spoken on them and those kind of hold firm,” McCullers said after leaving the team’s 14-0 win Saturday night with right elbow soreness. “It’s obviously a baseball operational decision.”
Osuna was not at Dodger Stadium on Saturday. He pitched one scoreless inning for Double-A Corpus Christi on Friday, allowing one hit with one strikeout.
Osuna could potentially make his Astros debut in a closing role on Sunday.
“A lot has to happen tomorrow,” Hinch said, “and as a team, family and group we’ll navigate it together.”
Dodgers fans already have been booing various Astros players since the series began Friday night. It’s a rematch of last year’s World Series, won by Houston in Game 7 at Dodger Stadium.
“It’s got to be difficult. He’s not an old-timer. He’s still a young kid,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said in Seattle. “It’s a lot of pressure and a lot of focus on him. It can’t be easy. He probably can’t wait to get on the mound and get away from all that.”
Hinch’s first order of business will be to talk with Osuna.
“I certainly want to get to know him and his background. I’ve never met him, never shook his hand,” Hinch said. “I know a little bit of his track record. We’ll get into anything that he wants to. I’m his manager now so I think it’s important to get to know him and learn what makes him be the player that he can be.”
The 23-year-old right-hander is the youngest pitcher to ever record 100 saves and he can throw 95 mph.
The Astros are known for being a close-knit team that banded together to help Houston after last year’s devastating floods triggered by Hurricane Harvey.
“That’s not going to change,” Hinch said.
The effect Osuna’s presence has on the team will be closely scrutinized.
“We are going to handle it as a group as best we can,” Hinch said. “We simply don’t know and we aren’t going to draw any conclusions at this point. We’re going to welcome him on our team and begin the process of getting to know him.”
AP Sports Writer Tim Booth in Seattle contributed to this report.
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