By Will Kimmey
March 12, 2002
Astros general manager Gerry Hunsicker has opened the door for Morgan Ensberg in Houston.
The Astros traded third baseman Chris Truby to the Expos for infielder Geoff Blum on Tuesday, effectively eliminating Ensberg’s competiton for the starting job at third.
The move comes as a surprise because Truby, who was hitting .259-1-5 in 27 spring at-bats and is considered a better defensive player, looked like the favorite for the position. Ensberg was hitting .208-2-5 after 24 at-bats.
Baseball America ranked Ensberg, 26, as the Astros’ No. 7 prospect after he hit .310-23-61 for Triple-A New Orleans last season.
Truby, 28, batted 206-8-23 in 136 at-bats for Houston last season and figures to compete with Fernando Tatis for the job in Montreal. Tatis struggled with injuries in 2001 and played in just 41 games two years after breaking out with a .298-34-107 campaign for Cardinals in 1999.
Blum, 28, can play shortstop, third base and the outfield, so he is likely to serve as a utility player in Houston.
The deal marked the first for Omar Minaya since he was named Expos GM on Feb. 12.
“I got the first trade out of the way and at least people can stop asking me if I’ve got the authority to make a trade,” Minaya told the Associated Press.