Baseball

Houston Astros rookie Yuli Gurriel is on a playoff tear. May his brother do the identical for the Toronto Blue Jays?

NEW YORK — The queries come to Yuli Gurriel through textual content and cellphone name, craving each slice of data to assist greatest perceive the that means of playoff baseball, North American-style.

They arrive day by day and are a welcome correspondence for the 33-year-old Houston Astros rookie, who has had a big impact for the AL West champions this playoffs.

What’s Yankee Stadium like?

Is New York star Aaron Decide as large in actual life as he’s in TV?

Is the stress and ambiance something like it’s again dwelling in Cuba?

On the opposite finish is Gurriel’s youthful brother: Lourdes Gurriel Jr., one of many prime younger prospects within the Toronto Blue Jays group.

“We speak each day,” Yuli Gurriel stated by a translator within the guests’ dugout at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday. “Proper now, he’s within the Arizona Fall League, and every time he’s performed over there, he goes someplace to look at our video games. He’s in contact with me and he helps me.”

The household ties run deep between large and little brother. Lourdes Gurriel, who turns 23 this week, is 10 years youthful than Yuli, who was a star in Cuba earlier than the 2 defected in 2016.

On this March eight file picture, Toronto Blue Jays prospect Lourdes Gurriel Jr. homers towards the Baltimore Orioles in spring coaching in Sarasota, Fla. Justin Okay. Aller / Getty Photographs

On the island, nonetheless, Lourdes was seen as among the best younger abilities, which is saying one thing. When Main League Baseball declared him a free agent final August, the road of suitors ran deep. Finally, the Jays gained out, signing him to a seven-year, US$22-million contract in November.

Lourdes started his season in Class-A Dunedin earlier than being promoted in July to Double-A New Hampshire, the place he performed 64 video games, batting .229 with 4 dwelling runs and 36 RBI.

“He has quite a lot of expertise,” Yuli Gurriel says, hinting at what the Jays can anticipate to see quickly. “Hopefully in a short while we see him within the large leagues, after which all people will see what sort of participant and what sort of expertise he has.

“I feel he can be able to play within the large leagues. Possibly subsequent yr.”

Blue Jays basic supervisor Ross Atkins stated Tuesday that it’s “positively” potential Gurriel might contribute to the Jays in 2018. Atkins acknowledged there have been rising pains in Lourdes’ adjustment to North America — he had nowhere close to the professional expertise of his brother and was bothered by harm early within the season.

“You hear quite a lot of it with Cuban gamers, there may be an adjustment,” Atkins stated. “The fashion is play is totally different, the fashion of pitching is totally different, so there are gaps, so (analysis) might be subjective.

“However (Lourdes) has the instruments. Velocity, energy and agility and he’s off to a very good begin within the Arizona Fall League.”

Lourdes’ robust play in Arizona continued on Tuesday when he belted a house run, giving him two homers and 4 doubles in six video games.

It can also’t damage Lourdes to see the impression Yuli is having in his first full season with Houston. The expertise that was well-known in Cuba, the place he performed professional for 15 seasons, has translated properly to North America.

Houston Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel celebrates his three-run double towards the New York Yankees on Oct. 17. Al Bello / Getty Photographs

As of now, Yuli is hitting .400 with threes doubles and a triple in his eight playoff video games. His 12 hits general are second solely to teammate Jose Altuve amongst all gamers this post-season.

Gurriel broke a scoreless tie in Sport Four of the ALCS Tuesday when he hit a bases-loaded double that scored all three runners. (The Astros went on to lose anyway, 6-4, because the Yankees rallied to tie the collection at two wins apiece.)

“It’s like a windshield into the expertise of Main League Baseball,” Atkins stated of the profit to Lourdes seeing Yuli within the post-season. “It’s direct for him. It’s blood. There’s a particular profit.”

As appreciative as he’s of the grand stage — significantly right here within the Bronx, the place the playoff ambiance is like no different — Yuli Gurriel stated baseball life in Cuba, the place the sport is so revered, helped ready him for this.

“I by no means actually thought that in a single yr I’d be on this second within the stage after I was in Cuba,” he stated. “That’s why for me it has been a really, superb yr for me and for the workforce.

“I’ll always remember this. The Yankee Stadium expertise is one thing particular.”

At 33, he’s the oldest rookie within the main leagues, although Gurriel was one at-bat shy of shedding his rookie standing after the 2016 season, which started shortly after he signed final July.

“I feel there was some doubt as to what I used to be going to have the ability to do right here, however I used to be prepared for it,” Gurriel stated. “All of the video games I performed in Cuba and internationally helped me with the expertise of taking part in right here. When it comes to depth, it’s the identical.”

And it’s an expertise Lourdes could get to expertise himself before later.

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