WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Yordan Alvarez is expected to make his Grapefruit League debut Thursday night against the Washington Nationals, manager Dusty Baker said Tuesday, but he doesn’t guarantee the Houston slacker will be ready for Opening Day.
Alvarez did not swing a bat for the first month of the field after reporting some pain in his left hand upon arrival. He’s back in batting practice on the field, but hasn’t faced live pitching since Game 6 of the World Series last November.
After Thursday, Houston is just three Grapefruit League games away from leaving Florida. The team will play two exhibition games against the Class AAA Sugar Land Skeeters next week before Opening Day.
Given how careful the Astros have been with Alvarez thus far — his schedule rarely included hitting on consecutive days — it’s worth asking whether he’ll have enough hits to be ready for the March 30 regular season opener. Alvarez said he still plans to play Opening Day, but Baker didn’t commit on Tuesday.
“We don’t know yet,” Baker said. “We hope so and he hopes so. We hope we did well with him and by him. He knows himself better than anyone.