Sunday August 21st, 2016

Recently signed Cuban defector Yulieski Gurriel made his debut with the Houston Astros on Sunday and recorded a hit in his first big league at-bat.

Gurriel, 32, signed a five-year contract with Houston in July and has played in 15 games at the minor league level. He is hitting .250 with 14 RBIs in 56 at-bats.

Playing designated hitter, Gurriel hit a sharp single up the middle in his first plate appearance of the day. He also grounded out and walked before being pulled for a pinch hitter in the eighth inning. 

Gurriel was pulled from the game after tweaking his hamstring, manager A.J. Hinch said, but could play on Monday.

He will take the roster spot of third baseman Luis Valbuena, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a hamstring injury.

Hinch believes that Gurriel has spent enough time in the minors to be ready.

“He got up to 50 at-bats with us in the minor leagues. That’s a normal spring training for him,” Hinch said. “We’ve bounced him around the country. But from a baseball standpoint he’s ready, and he’s ready for this challenge.”

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