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Garrett Stubbs Works To Provide Versatility



The Astros value versatility. The addition of a 26th man to active rosters this season will only further the club’s need for another versatile position player.

Garrett Stubbs, a 26-year-old catcher who appeared in 11 major league games behind the plate last season, could be a player in line for a larger role in 2020 playing multiple positions.

Stubbs, a 2015 eighth-rounder from the Southern California, will share backup catcher duties with Dustin Garneau. Neither man boasts much experience, but both will be counted on to spell Martin Maldonado at times during the season.

Though Stubbs had just 39 plate appearances last season and hit .200/.282/.286, his stint in the majors accomplished many firsts. Stubbs caught most of the team’s returning bullpen, worked with returning starters and caught all 12 innings of a game in June, earning the respect of those who watched him.

But Stubbs has minor league options remaining, so he could begin the season at Triple-A Round Rock.

General manager Jeff Luhnow acknowledged at the Winter Meetings that Houston will, at times, carry three catchers on its active roster in 2020. To do so without wasting a roster spot, Stubbs must provide value elsewhere.

At 5-foot-10, 175 pounds, Stubbs is considered an undersized catcher, but he makes up for it in athleticism. He played 18 major league innings in left field last season and will use spring training to work on his outfield defense.

Manager A.J. Hinch will also hand Stubbs an infield glove, which will put his offseason training to the test. After the 2017 and 2018 seasons, Stubbs trained with Athletics third baseman and two-time Gold Glove winner Matt Chapman, who worked with Stubbs on the intricacies of infield defense.

Stubbs has started just three pro games as an infielder, but that could change this season in order for him to stay in the big leagues.

SPACE SHOTS

— Luhnow intimated at the Winter Meetings that Jairo Solis, a 20-year-old Venezuelan righty, will be a non-roster invitee for spring training. Solis missed the 2019 season after having Tommy John surgery.

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