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Bregman among 3 regulars slated to start Friday

Alex Bregman, Evan Gattis and Jake Marisnick will be the only regulars in the starting lineup for the Astros in Friday’s 12:05 p.m. CT Grapefruit League opener against the Nats at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Bregman will play shortstop, Gattis will be the designated hitter and Marisnick will be in center field. The game will be available live on .TV and MLB Network.

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Astros manager A.J. Hinch said Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa will play for the first time on Saturday against the Braves, will play on Sunday against the Cardinals and Josh Reddick will make his spring debut Monday in one of the split-squad games.

“It’s all over the map, based on how we want to map out the next five days authentic MLB jerseys,” he said.

The Astros have a split-squad Monday — against the Mets in West Palm Beach and the Marlins in Jupiter — so everyone will get to play.

“We’re looking for volunteers to play a couple of positions in the second half of the game on Monday,” Hinch joked.

Right-hander Rogelio Armenteros is scheduled to start Friday, with Mike Hauschild, Matt Ramsey, Reymin Guduan and Buddy Boshers among those scheduled to pitch as well. Tommy Milone will start for the Nationals, who will be the visiting team.

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“I thought he did well,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “I can see how he gets his strikeouts. Obviously, it’s his first time out. He came out and set a nice little tone and threw strikes. His changeup is really good. I always joke, ‘You can’t make the team George Springer limited jersey on the first day,’ but he tried to challenge cheap mlb jerseys that a little bit by punching everybody out. But it’s fun.”

Armenteros, 23, had arguably the best Minor League season among all Astros pitching prospects in 2017, posting a 10-4 record and a 2.04 ERA in 24 games (20 starts) between Triple-A Fresno and Double-A Corpus Christi, where he had a 1.93 ERA and was a Midseason All-Star in the Texas League . He struck out 146 over 123 2/3 innings across the two levels and enters this season as Houston’s No. 12 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline.

“I was very happy to be there and very thankful to A.J. Hinch to get the opportunity,” he said.

The Pirates intend to make Moran their starting third baseman. They believe they got him at the right time. His former general manager agrees.

Youth

“I think he’s an everyday third baseman, a guy who’s going to hit for a really high batting youth Jose Altuve jersey average,” Luhnow said. “He’s going to have decent power and be an average defender at third. He certainly has the bloodlines. That’s a guy that’s got a lot of value.”

If Correa hadn’t been hurt, and Moran hadn’t been called up, might Moran have been a Pirate last summer? If he hadn’t swung at that slider from O’Day, would he have kept hitting his way into Houston’s plan? If the ball had come off his bat at any other angle, would he be on the other side of Florida right now, looking for his name in the Astros’ lineup?

These are questions Moran — reserved, soft-spoken and focused — does not seek to answer.

“Too many what ifs — what if I don’t get hurt, what if I do this, what if I do that?” said Moran, the Pirates’ No. 8 prospect. “But I did get hurt. I’m here now, and I’m happy to be here. I try not to think about what if I stayed there.”

So here Moran is, standing outside the Pirates’ Spring Training clubhouse and grateful for the opportunity before him, with a short scar between his left eye and his thick red beard.

“I like where I am,” Moran said. “Everything happens for a reason.”

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