Get used to it, Jose.
Jose Altuve, the Astros’ star second baseman, received boos in his first spring training at-bat at the Tigers’ minor league complex in Lakeland, Fla. Houston, feeling the wrath of the electronic sign-stealing scandal during its run to the 2017 World Series, didn’t play its regulars in its first few exhibition games.
But they all figure to hear plenty of boos this year. If it’s already happening in spring training, which is known to be tame, the regular season is almost certainly going to feature venomous atmospheres on the road.
Altuve, the 2017 AL MVP, was hit by a pitch in his third at-bat by Detroit’s Nick Ramirez, but it was an off-speed pitch that didn’t seem intentional. There has been some thought that the Astros would face a lot of bean balls this year following MLB’s investigation into their cheating scheme that led to the firing of manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow.
There have also been allegations that Altuve and teammate Alex Bregman wore devices to tip them off to pitches as part of Houston’s electronic sign-stealing scandal last season. After Altuve sent the Astros to the World Series last year with a walk-off homer off Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman, Altuve could be seen telling his teammates not to rip his jersey. Altuve denied those accusations and MLB said it investigated them, but found no credible evidence.