Friday, March 13, 2009

Nieve placed on waivers

According to Ed Price of Fanhouse, the Astros placed pitcher Fernando Nieve on waivers this week. Nieve is out of options, so the only way the Astros can send him to the minors is if no one claims him.

Nieve, 26, spent most of '08 at Triple A. He posted a 5.72 ERA in 72.3 innings there but did average 92.5 on this fastball in his Major League stint. He had Tommy John surgery in May of 2007.

Rainy Day+Day Off= No News

I'm out until Monday. Nothing much to report today. Kids are going to Chucke-E-Cheese tomorrow, so will be gone. Enjoy your weekend Astros Nation.

Astros propsect Sapp out of hopsital

Max Sapp, who suffered multiple seizures Tuesday and has been battling viral meningitis returned home Thursday evening and appears to be doing fine.

“He’s doing good,” Sapp’s mom, Missy, said.

Sapp, who landed in the hospital Dec. 11 with viral meningitis, doesn’t seem worried because the seizures were likely side effects of his medication, Phenobarbital.

“You don’t just stop taking it,” Missy Sapp said. “You have to wean off. It’s just a little bump in the road, and he’ll chill out for three weeks, and we’ll go from there.”

Sapp, the club’s top pick in the 2006 draft, had been catching bullpen sessions and doing some light hitting exercises in minor league camp at Osceola County Stadium. He’s not likely to return to baseball action until April at the earliest.

Zambano gets opening day start against Astros.

Carlos Zambrano has been picked to male his fifth straight opening-day start for the Chicago Cubs.

Manager Lou Piniella said Thursday he picked Zambrano over Ryan Dempster for the April 6 start against Houston after discussing the choice with pitching coach Larry Rothschild.

Zambrano was 14-6 with a 3.91 ERA in 30 starts last season. Dempster was 17-6 with a 2.96 ERA and made the NL All-Star team.

He is going to murder the little league bats that the Stros' are using right now. First game prediction: Cubs 6 Astros 2

Houston Chronicle

Rotation holes answered? from the AP

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- It's less than a month before spring training and the Houston Astros rotation is far from decided. They're set with ace Roy Oswalt. Wandy Rodriguez also has a spot. Rodriguez is recovering from a strained muscle, but will return Saturday.

Still a lot of questions surrounding the club's pitching staff.

The Associated Press reports -- assuming the injury-plagued Mike Hampton stays healthy -- he'll also have a spot. After that it gets a lot more tricky.

Brandon Backe, Brian Moehler, Fernando Nieve, Jose Capellan and Russ Ortiz look to be contending for the final two slots.

-- Moehler is probably a favorite for one of the final two slots after going 11-8 in 26 starts for Houston last season. He had a 4.56 ERA last year and has been solid this spring.

-- Backe was 9-14 with a 6.05 ERA after returning from Tommy John surgery on his elbow in 2006. His early season play was strong but he struggled down the stretch. He's done well this spring -- but is sidelined indefinitely with a strained muscle on his left side.

-- Nieve is a player the Astros hoped would compete for the fifth spot after dealing with various injuries and bouncing around from Houston to the minors over the last two years. He's struggled this spring.

-- Capellan and Ortiz, both non-roster invitees to camp, are probably long shots for spots in the rotation this season. Capellan has appeared in 99 major league games since 2004 but just eight of those have come in the last two seasons.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Baseball Prospectus Article: Team Health

decent little read over at BP. Don't really feel like doing much writing today. Enjoy the read.

Fox Sports chimes in on the Pudge "Siti"

Tracy Ringolsby of has an interesting note about Pudge Rodriguez. Pretty short, go take a read. Click Here.

Catcher Report

Let's take a look at the (check for sarcasm here) Hot race for the C1 spot.

1. J Castro HOU C 4 6 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 3 0 0 .167 .167 .167
2. L Palmisano HOU C 5 11 1 1 1 0 0 0 2 0 2 0 0 .091 .182 .091
3. H Quintero HOU C 8 16 1 2 0 0 1 2 5 0 1 0 0 .125 .313 .125
4. L Santangelo HOU C 4 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 .400 .000 .000
5. J Towles HOU C 7 12 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 4 0 0 .154 .083 .083

Obviously there is no clear favorite as all catchers have had poor outings this ST. The one highlight I can see is, "Q" has 2 hits, 2 RBI, a dinger in 16 AB's. This isn't awesome as the surfer dude's say but it still shows he is the best option. Castro and Espinito were designated for assignment the other day (Espinito was not playing at all). As of right now, my choice is still "Q" at C1, Towles at C2 and the rest of the bunch (Palmisano, Santangelo and Castro) playing at Corpus or RR for now.

Trinidad may get call up....later

McTaggy reports on Lefthander Polin Trinidad in the Chron today. Mostly starts off has a heart-warming story of the rise of Trinidad from the Dominican to the Astros system (kinda funny, they always report in that style when covering a player). Later in the post McTaggy goes onto cover his chances of being on the big league roster.

Trinidad has been primarily a starter during his career and projects to stay in the rotation in the big leagues. He has pitched 5282⁄3 innings in his career, totaling 437 strikeouts and only 105 walks.

Trinidad likely will begin the season in the rotation at Class AAA Round Rock, where he’ll be a phone call away from the Astros and completing his journey to the major leagues.

“There’s a great value for the innings you can pile up at the Double-A and Triple-A level,” Robinson said. “I think we’re really seeing that this spring.”

To me, this says "go pitch at RR for a while and when someone stinks or gets hurt, you're gettin' the call."

Expect to see Trinidad at some point this year. I know he won't be a guy to give up much BB, he has thrown only 105 in 528 2/3 innings over his career. Do you smell that? smells like the SP5 spot.....or updawg. Does it smell like updawg to you?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Wandy Rodriguez Fantasy.....

I recently chimed in on Astros pitcher Wandy Rodriguez throwing a 40-pitch session on Wednesday. It was his first action since straining a muscle on his left side in February.

"I threw 40 pitches, and I didn't feel anything," Rodriguez said. "I feel good."

If only he followed that up with, "I knew that I would." Rodriguez looks to be on track for Opening Day. Should you bring him along for the fantasy ride?

There's some late-round appeal. Rodriguez always has had a penchant for strikeouts. He compiled 131 Ks in 137.1 innings last season. He's averaged 144.5 over the past two seasons. He's lowered his ERA and WHIP each of the last three seasons.

Granted, his ERA was in the 5's early in his career and his record is anything but great. Rodriguez has managed just nine wins each of the past three seasons, and he has a 37-40 career record. Why would you want to take a chance on that?

Well, Rodriguez has a good track record at home. He went just 5-5 there last season, but that came with a .299 ERA and 82 Ks in 81.1 innings. That's comparable to his line at Minute Maid Park in '07 (6-3, 2.94, 88}. He's one of those start-him-at-home, sit-him-on-the-road type fantasy plays.

Will he be more than that? Probably not. Rodriguez is No. 63 in our SP rankings, meaning that in a 12-team format you can make him your No. 6, the first one off the bench. As far as role pitchers go, that's not bad. You probably haggle down his $7 price to something in the $3 range, too. Nobody is going to break the break to pull in Rodriguez. I've owned him in spots the last two seasons and he's been OK. Nothing spectacular; but no horror stories.

Provided Rodriguez stays healthy you're looking at 11 wins max, an ERA in the late 3's to early 4's and 150-plus strikeouts. That's not too bad in the later rounds.

Your thoughts? Are you feeling Wandy?

Source for stats:

Reds 8 Astros 2

Another disappointing loss for the spacemen today. Seems to be the running theme in the, oh, last 11 games of ST. No need to panic, apparently someone called The Astros offense today.

ring..ring..ring..ring... Hello?.....Is this The Astros Offense?....No, they are not here right now, they are taking a nap in Kissimmee.......Dude, tell em' to wake the hell up and swing the bat!...ugh, ok i'll pass the message along but only if Jeff Fulchino gets pounded like a nail today!...Hey, beggers can't be choosy, thanks for your time.

Brian Bogusevic had two hits. ... Lance Berkman was 1-for-3 with a first-inning double. ... Hunter Pence was 1-for-3 with a sixth-inning single. ... Geoff Blum was 1-for-3. Jason Smith tripled in the eighth and scored on a two-run homer by Drew Sutton.

On the mound Jeff Fulchino got pounded like beers at a college bar during power hour, giving up 4 runs (3 earned) on five hits in two innings.

On a lighter note: Gilbert De La Vera pitched two scoreless innings with one walk. ... Fernando Nieve gave up two runs, one earned, with one hit and two walks in two-thirds of an inning.

Up next: Mike Hampton will start for the Astros in their 6:05 p.m. CT game vs. the Nationals on Friday. Lefty Scott Olsen is Washington's scheduled starter. Shortstop Miguel Tejada will probably be back from the World Baseball Classic in time for the game.

My predicition: Lookout for Olsen who is a heat throwin' youngin'. He may get wild but he will either strike some folks out or ding em' in the back (not good with all the injuries as of now)

New features coming soon

I am going to start a "This day in Astros History" piece. Also considering something along the lines of Catcher report for the rest of ST and possibly a Rookie report type deal throughout the year. I also intend maybe once a week to showcase an Astros blog and hopefully spread the news about the Unofficial Official. The last thing I will attempt is a "where are they now" for former Houston Astros. Keep you posted.

I'm bored today so here is a link to something - Make it green. TAKE THE DAMN BUS ALREADY!!!

Hollywood chimes in about the "Steroid Era"

Feeling rather bored on this semi-rainy day....found some funny stuff,

The steroids saga rages on. It's time for Hollywood to chime in with its list of potential movies.

Listed below are the top 10 ideas, including who should be tapped for the starring role.

10: The Employees of BALCO: China Syndrome II

9: Brian McNamee: Burn Notice

8: Jose Canseco: Shaft

7: Roger Clemens: Major League: Back to the Minors

6: Anabolic steroids and Metabolic steroids: A Tale of Two Cities

5: Victor Conti: Death of a Salesman

4: Mark McGuire: Vacant Lot; A look at my spot in the Hall of Fame

3: Barry Bonds: African Queen; How asterisk's ruined my career

2: A-Rod: Dude, Wheres my hip?

1: Major League Baseball: It Was A Wonderful Life. Co-starring Bud Selig as Clarence the Angel, who, in this movie, doesn't actually jump in the water to save Major League Baseball.

Baseball Prospectus article on the Business side of Stros'

Baseball Propsectus article.

Really It just goes on to say how bad the Astros have managed their money over the last couple of years. Definitely worth a read though. Don't really need to say anything about it, it is a pretty short read.

Astros former 1st round pick suffers seizure

Catching prospect Max Sapp, who suffered a life-threatening illness over the winter, was back in the hospital Wednesday after having two seizures over a nine-hour span.

Sapp had the first seizure around 9:15 p.m. ET on Tuesday. He spent the night in the hospital and had a second seizure around 6:30 Wednesday morning.

Assistant general manager Ricky Bennett said he was waiting to hear from Sapp's mother, Missy, and didn't know many more details.

"We're still trying to gather information," Bennett said. "That's all I know right now."

The 20-year-old Sapp's ordeal began last Dec. 11, when he suffered a seizure after completing a workout. He was later diagnosed with viral meningitis and, subsequently, chronic sinus disease. He required the use of a respirator for two weeks after suffering three episodes in which he stopped breathing.

Sapp, the club's No. 1 Draft pick in 2006, suffered significant memory loss during his month-long stay in the hospital. He appeared to be recovering well over the course of the next month and had improved to the point where he started working out at the Astros' Minor League facility soon after the Major League club reported to Spring Training.

Needless to say, Sapp's latest ordeal has shocked the front office.

"He was making progress, catching bullpens, doing well," Bennett said. "He was happy, excited. This was obviously unexpected. We're back to square one and we're just focused on getting him healthy." Source: Alyson Footer

The roster seems set, or is it?

So Cecil Cooper came out and said this is "basically" what the roster will look like on opening day:

1- Matsui
2- Bourn
3- Berkman
4- Lee
5- Tejada
6- Pence
7- Blum/Boone
8- Quintero

First, I gave "Q" the nod at C1 because obviously, he is the clear choice.

What I wanted to cover here is the "what if". What if Matsui gets hurt oh, 25 games in? Believe me it will probably happen. So who hits in the #1 spot once this takes place? Obviously we can't for sure say until the 25-man roster is set, however, as it wouldn't be any fun to not be a nerd and project on this stuff. My vote, Bourn. Yeah, people are going to say "well he sucked last year". YEAH, I KNOW. He has shown major strides in the offseason and I think Cooper's reasoning for putting him second in the lineup is to take a little pressure off him and let Matsui be the real deal.

So who hits second? Hunter Pence or (insert rookie who makes the cut) then you switch Erstad to 6th and move Pence to CF. I know most of the "critics" will say Erstad can't cover it all year and Pence doesn't play center the greatest but you forget Pence has speed and erstad is not too far removed from some gold gloves, one in OF and one at 1B.

The last "what if" is what if Blum/Boone can't hack it or one gets hurt? What about Tejada switching to the hot corner, or giving Manzella a shot? I don't think it is ridiculous for Tejada to switch, surely his arm can handle it with one day off a week. (one day off would actually boost his stats) and it couldn't be much worse for Manzella to be there as opposed to Boone.

What are your thoughts?

Roster Management

I have received several questions about the opening day roster for MLB. So, after a little research this is what I cam eup with. Hope it helps.

What is the 25-man roster?
The 25-man roster is the roster that the major league team is comprised of. Players on the 25-man roster are eligible to play in a major league game.

What is the 40-man roster?
The 40-man roster is comprised of all of the players on the 25-man roster, anyone who is on the 15-day disabled list, and minor leaguers who usually have played 3 or more professional seasons. Players who are on the 60-day disabled list are not on the 40-man roster. A team may recall players that are on the 40-man roster that are not on the 25-man roster during the season.

What is recalling?
When a team wishes to add a player to the 25-man roster that is on the 40-man roster, that player is "recalled" from the minor leagues. If the player that is to be called up is not on the 40-man roster, that player needs to have his contract purchased.

What is having your "contract purchased"?
If a team wishes to add a player to the 25-man roster that is not on teh 40-man roster, that player needs to have his "contract purchased". The team that purcahses the contract takes over the responsibility of paying for that player's services.

How many players can be on the major league roster?
A team's roster may consist of 40 players until Opening Day, when the number must be reduced to 25 until September 1st, when it again becomes 40.

How many players can be on each minor league roster?
There are two separate lists of players for minor league teams: the "active list", and the "reserve list". Players may be transferred between these lists before the start of each game, but only players who are on the "active list" at the start of the game can play in a particular game. The "reserve list" includes all players on the "active list".
  • AAA and AA teams are allowed 24 players on their "active list" for the first 30 games. They are allowed 23 players on their active list after that until August 10th, when they are allowed to have 24 players. The "reserve list" limit is 38 players for AAA teams and 37 players for AA teams.
  • A teams have a limit of 25 players on their "active list".
  • Short season A teams have a limit of 30 players on their "active list".
  • Rookie ball teams have a limit of 35 players on their "active list".
  • Below AA, clubs can have a "reserve list" of 35 players.

How does "optioning" work?
Generally, after 3 pro seasons, a player must be protected on a club’s 40-man roster or he becomes eligible for the Rule 5 draft. Once a player is added to a club’s 40-man roster, the club then 3 available option years during which they can place him on “optional assignment” to a minor league club. A player can be sent up and down as many times as the club so chooses within those three seasons. Once a player is “out of options”, he must clear “waivers” in order to be sent down again.
  • If a player is not sent to the minors during a year, an option is not used.
  • If a player is on the 40-man roster in spring training but optioned to the minors before the season is underway, an option is used.
  • If an assignment in the minors lasts 20 days, an option is not used.

How long does a team need to wait after sending a player down to recall him?
A player must be in the minor leagues 10 days before rejoining a major league club.

What does "Designated for Assignment" (DFA) mean?
Being "Designated for Assignment" has been known as a "temporary purgatory" for baseball players. When a team wants to remove a player from the 25-man roster or the 40-man roster, they can designate that player for assignment. The team then has 10 days to try to trade that player or place him on waivers. The purpose of designated someone for assignment is to open up that person's roster spot.

Which players are eligible are allowed to be on the post-season roster?
Players that are on the 40-man roster by August 31st are eligible to be on the post-season roster. If a player is injured, any player in the organization can be used. The restriction in this case is that a hitter be substituted for a hitter, and a pitcher be substituted for a pitcer.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Astros send down 4

Brad James to Triple-A Round Rock
catchers Jason Castro and Brian Esposito and right-hander Sergio Perez to Minor League camp.

The Astros now have 53 players remaining in Major League camp.

Carlos Lee: Ready to go!!!

Carlos Lee is back. As much as I don't approve of his sub-par defense, I'm very excited to see him back in Kissimmee. He is going to provide a much needed pop to the "Diet Pop" currently in the line-up. Not that all these games matter but for fan enthusiasm to get any lower could cost the Astros significantly (low attendance = no players at the deadline). I will write more about this later.
Sorry, I digress sometimes, as I was saying, Carlos Lee is back. His interview over at leaves me feeling energetic for him in the line-up again. Not only that, he said (without saying it) he is on a vengeance to be prepared and help the team. Those days of team camaraderie are long gone and it takes a real team player to come right back to ST even though he could have taken several days off. Wonder if he ever hunts with Roy O? or does Roy come over and help Lee in his garden? Anyhow, look for a more spirited team in the next couple ST games and hopefully a win!!

Braves 7 Astros 4

Another disappointing outing by the spacemen. Really I don't feel like even writing all the upsetting news.

Brain Moehler threw 4 innings with one earned run/4 unearned, walked two, K'd 3.
Jose Valverde allowed two hits over one scoreless inning. Doug Brocail gave up a double over one inning in the sixth. On the offensive side the Astros were nothing spectacular but did manage 4 runs. Obviously the Astros offense and defense are hurting. The offense can be attributed to the lack of the big fellas and the pitching being attributed NO ROY O!

The Astros will travel to Sarasota, Fla., on Wednesday for a 12:05 p.m. CT matchup with the Reds. In a somewhat unconventional move, manager Cecil Cooper has slated reliever Jeff Fulchino to start this game. Fulchino, along with Alberto Arias is viewed as a potential multi-inning pitcher, and while Roy Oswalt is at the World Baseball Classic and Brandon Backe is on the shelf, Cooper sees this as a good opportunity to stretch out some of his long relievers.

Wandy feels no pain...ever. Injury Update

Wandy Rodriguez threw a 40 pitch session and reported no pain.

"I threw 40 pitches, and I didn't feel anything," Rodriguez said. "I feel good."

Rodriguez has been out since mid February with a strained muscle on his left side. Although I can't say that Backe and Rodriguez are the same as far as recovery time, this might give you some insight as to how long Backe may be out of the picture. Undoubtedly, Backe will come back eventually and be way behind in conditioning, thus giving up HR's left and right. I'm not going to lie, I sure hope he doesn't come back at all. Just my thoughts.

On a injury blog note:

Outfielder Jason Michaels, who strained a hamstring over the weekend, said he's "improving," and according to manager Cecil Cooper, he could play as early as Friday.

"I ran a little and took [batting practice]," Michaels said. "I'm just being careful. I don't want this to be a problem. If there's any time to maybe have a little strain, it's early in Spring Training."

Outfielder Reggie Abercrombie (fractured toe) ran side to side without issue on Tuesday, and he too could be back on the field by Friday. Cooper, however, said he'll probably hold Abercrombie out until Saturday.

"They want to wait until after the day off [Thursday], and I guess that makes sense," Abercrombie said.

Just as I saw the injury of death roll in, I realized the shadow is now gone and with Carlos Lee coming back things may just turn around soon. Let's hope for big things from Lee, who hasn't shown to much sparkle in the WBC.

Bourn looks to be "re-bourn"into the second slot.

If the Astros walked into the regular season today, Bourn will be batting second. After showing signs of much improvement, Cecil seems to have much more confidence in the new and improved (BTW, how is something new AND improved???) Bourn. I like the fact that Bourn has tried his heart out to improve from last years dismal performance which includes 111 strike outs in 447 +/- AB's. Bourn has shown much more patience at the plate this spring with only 3 K's in 22 AB's. Not that the small sample means he is the next "Bourn" supremacy, but provides insight as to what he has prepared for this spring. Now, the biggest mission is keeping a healthy Kaz and not letting the SP's work from behind in games. I do want to say that although the Astros pitching is suspect after SP1, the bullpen should keep us close in most games. I'm very surprised that today I got to blog about something upbeat and positive. Hope this tendency stays for more than spring training.

As of today (If it was the regualr season) stands to be this:

Kaz Matsui
Geoff Blum/Aaron Boone
PITCHER (Mike Hampton can hit)

Pudge Prefers Fish

MLB Trade Rumors reports:

David Quinones of the Miami Herald talked to free agent catcher Ivan Rodriguez, who said, "We have something going on with the Marlins, but I'm not too sure where we are right now." Based on his home in Miami and World Series season with the team, Rodriguez would like to play again for the Marlins.'s Joe Frisaro seems to like the Marlins' chances. He says the holdup is playing time rather than money, though.

Pudge added that two or three other teams are in the mix.'s Jon Heyman believes the Astros are still in, and Jim Baumbach of Newsday reported that the Mets are scouting him.

Should be noted that in the SI article Jon Heyman notes that the Fish are still scouting and shown interst in catcher John Baker. (I can't seem to get italics off)

Pudge states that it is a playing time issue not a money, soon we should see him price himself out the Astros range, then subsequently sign with Florida. He will then state that he likes to play at home, The Fish have more potential (younger players) and he wants to win a championship.

Mike Hampton to be next guest on Astroline

Left-hander Mike Hampton will appear with Hall of Fame radio announcer Milo Hamilton on Astroline on Wednesday at 7 p.m. CT.

The show, which can be heard at and the club's flagship station, KTRH 740 AM, will broadcast live from the ESPN Club at Disney's Boardwalk in Orlando, Fla.

Archived broadcasts from prior weeks can also be found on

Astroline, the club's long-running offseason radio show, features a different guest each week. The show will run through the end of Spring Training.

Injury Updates

Edwin Maysonet (sprained ankle) and outfielder Jason Michaels (strained hamstring) appear to be doing fine and are with the club in Kissimmee.

Infielder Drew Sutton, finally over the hamstring injury that slowed him for a few days, made his first start of the spring Sunday at shortstop and played six innings.

No word on Ramirez as of yet

Brian Esposito?

As everyone knows, The Astros seem to have an abyss of catchers. As I was eating my Wheaties this morning I noticed an article on about Brian Esposito. Honestly, never heard of the guy. He appears to be a 30 year old minor league lifer, with 1 game experience in the majors. I quit reading when I got to the part that states "Esposito, a career .214 hitter"...........Yawn, he is destined for mediocrity with the Hooks I'm sure. I really don't know why this article was even written but it is a slow day for news......

Nationals 8 Astros 6 Next Up: Braves 12:05

For what seems like the first time this Spring Training, The Astros showed some life in the offense with Q and Pence slappin dingers (gross?) in an 8-6 loss to the Nat's. Pence went 3-4, Q had two ribbie's, hit a bomb and Erstad knocked in two. Things may be looking up for the team, with signs that the offense has a pulse, the pitchers could get some much needed run support.

The Astros return to Kissimmee, Fla., on Tuesday to play the Braves at 12:05 p.m. CT. Houston right-hander Brian Moehler will face Atlanta right-hander Derek Lowe.

Oh my, D-Lowe is gonna murder the lineup today, just a hunch, sure hope I get proved wrong.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Astros are old...seriously

The Astros have the the highest average age of players for all major league teams. The average age for players on the Astros Roster 29.4 years. The mets have the same average age followed by Philadelphia, LA and the Cubbies rounding out the 28 year old average. Guess that growing through the farm system thing paid off real well. It may be attributed to Miguel Tejada aging two years for everyone else's one (ZING). Who knows. Lazy day for me today, i'm out like a fat kid in dodgeball.

Astros Q & A

Not much to talk about today, so I thought a little Q & A would be appropriate.

Since I'm tearing the cover off the baseball in the WBC, do you see the Astros making a push for me? - Pudge Rodriguez

Well, Pudge, I imagine that if you continue at this rate you will either price yourself out of the two teams who are very interested at this point (Marlins & Astros) or you are on steroids again. If you would just come to terms with yourself and realize that although you were once an elite catcher, you are no longer the Pudge of ole'. You should take the 2 million that someone wants to pay you and be a back up if that is what is required of you. In addition, I wonder why no teams have already signed you, the catching market is severely thin and maybe there is something that the average fan doesn't know that all the GM's in baseball to come clean Pudgy?

Do you think Drayton is completely embarrassed by my success with the Tampa Bay Rays - Gerry Hunsicker

Yes. Yes he is.

Am I a Hall of Famer? - Jeff Bagwell

Yes, however, you will not get in on your first chance unfortunately. The person that needs to go first is Graig Biggio. He will be the first player in baseball history to enter the hall in an Astros Uni. Sorry Jeff.

What happened to me - Tony Eusabio

Hey Tony! Thanks for writing in, I'm sure the Astros miss a hitting catcher, as you may know. I'm pretty positive that with the re-acquisition of Brad Ausmus in the 2001 season and the shoulder injury prior to the season, The Astros decided to go elsewhere. I miss you Tony, The city misses its last true hitting catcher. Times were great then, you made it enjoyable to watch.

Do you think the cops should have tazed me during my drunk fest last year? - Brandon Backe

Yes, they should have tazed you so bad that either A) you subsequently won a lawsuit, didn't need the Astros money, gave it to Randy Wolf and retired into obscurity. B) get tazed so bad that it somehow produced electro-magnetic therapy on your brain and somehow altered your psyche, making it possible to pitch in the major leagues. That's what I think Mr Brandon "Don't taze me, Bro" Backe AKA Brandon "I gave up the most dingers in baseball last year & had the least quality starts among pitchers" Backe.

Did I Slap the Astros organization in the face by going to LA? - Brad Ausmus

Well Brad, Some may think you did, but the ones that don't think you did realize baseball is a business and that baseball players have families as well. I think you staying one more year to "school" the young catchers and prepare them for the following upcoming season was brilliant and shows that you are a class act all the way. Hope LA finds you well and enjoy the family time.

Will I EVER live up to my hype? - Wandy Rodriguez

Sorry Wan-Rod, you were over hyped five years ago and are past the "hype" thing. This year may be your last in Houston, I suggest for all your ticket purchasing needs when you get boo'd out of Houston after you have a 5.50 ERA this year. For all things holy, I sure hope you prove me wrong this year buddy, oh yeah, I hate seeing you as the only option left in the waiver wire when I need a SP at the end of the year in Fantasy Baseball.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Pireates 11 Astros 4

Lettin MLB report this one, gotta get the kids to a birthday party. Enjoy the dismal findings. on a lighter note, at least we get to watch Alberto Arias pitch tomorrow evening, who recently returned to camp after a brief hiatus due to the death of his father. Arias has not pitched since Feb. 26.

Backe exits stage right....

After tossing two scoreless innings (you read it right, TWO SCORELESS INNINGS) with two hits, a free ride to first and one K, Brandon Backe left the game with a strain in his left side. This "injury bug" is just the latest and doesn't make me feel very good either. As most know, I really don't like Backe. So in my mind, I'm already looking for a replacement. My list is as follows in no particular order:

Russ Ortiz - Ortiz is 5 years removed from his last effective season in the majors. Once a great pitcher, Ortiz hasn't pitched in the previous 18 months due to two surgeries, one of them being Tommy John. As you may know, most pitchers either take almost two years to recover or just don't ever fully recover. The dice is being rolled as we speak so to say. Ortiz has been midly succesful, which leads me to believe most of the TJ surgery is behind him. At this point, I would love for him to have a spot and show the brilliance he once had with the Giants/Braces in the 1998-2004 years. As I typed that, I realized wow. another older guy. Hmm.

Clay Hensley - A native Tomball boy, Hensley has shown he loves him some Texas by signing a $550K minor league deal with invite to camp in December. Hensley is another "recovering from injury player", having shoulder issues and a "backe strain" last season with the Monks (Pad's). Hensley, who once shared a bullpen with Broacail, comes highly touted from the journeyman and was pretty excited when he heard the news. I think Hensley has the most upside as he did show signs of brilliance in the recent past. he showed a 3.71 ERA in 2007 over 29 starts for the Pad's.

Polin Trinidad - "In Double-A Corpus Christi, lefty Polin Trinidad was named Pitcher of the Month for his 2.51 ERA and 2-1 June record, his second time winning the honor. He previously won it for Class A Salem in April." Although Trinidad has no big league experience, I hardly doubt the Astros are in a position to use that as an excuse. Polin has sparkled in The Hooks' system and won't be much longer before he will need to be utilized.

Other mentionables: Gilbert De La Vara, Brad James, Tyler Lumsden.

Most of the other guys of mention will probably end up at RR. If you want to include one, go right ahead, plead your case.

Is Castro the next JR Towles?

After reading the story about Astros prospect Jason Castro on, I wonder if they are about to start touting him as the next catcher of the future. First off, the kid is only 21. Putting this sort of pressure on him really shouldn't bother him, I mean, he's old enough to vote, why shouldn't the organization put such a tag on him? He can carry a pitching staff just based on his SAT scores, I'm sure. I really am not a big fan of "tagging". No, not like on rail road cars, tagging young guys as the next wave of superstar talent. I wonder if the Astros are just saying this about Castro to put extra pressure on Towles so he will perform? Now, Castro's stats don't lie. He has performed very well at all levels, not to mention the fact that the kid is still working on his degree from Stanford, however, it wasn't so long ago that Towles was hyped in the same sense. Last year Towles disappointed, I know this, but Towles is still young and after being sent back down to the minors, he came back up and performed above expectations (not that .165 +/- was the bar or anything!)

My thoughts are this, Is Castro being pumped up as the catcher of the future to get traded? MAYBE. Is Castro "2-legit"? YES, he is 2 legit to quit. If Towles performs well and so does Castro, where does the organization go? Who does Roy Oswalt prefer to receive the ball from him? What ever happened to Tony Eusabio? I really liked him, anyhow, I digress sometimes. This whole catcher thing is a mess, a beautiful mess. Can't wait to see what the monkeys in the front office decide to do with this one.

Weekend Update: Abercrombie & "Stich", Jason Michaels loves moons over my HAMI

First off, I have two year old twin girls (full custody), so, my weekends get pretty hectic. I may or may not be around on the weekends. i think I will just start doing a "weekend update" on Sunday afternoon or Monday morning. Mondays are typically busy for me with work, anyhow, I digress. Weekend update:

Abercrombie & "Stitch": Apparently Reggie Abercrombie enjoys wearing small "booties" during spring training. After taking a foul ball of his foot in the evening game against the Braves, Abercrombie will wear a specialized boot on his foot for one week and be limited in action. After one week I suppose they will re-evaluate things. This is pretty disappointing as Abercrombie is hitting pretty well (compared to the rest of the team) and couldn't have come at a worse time for a guy trying to make the show.

Moons over my Hami: Jason Michaels loves the moons over my HAMI at Denny's. Michaels left the game against St. Louis with a mild strain of his left hamstring. In addition to Abercrombie and Michaels, the Astros are without outfielders Yordany Ramirez (who also frequents the senior citizens diner for a plate of moons over my HAMI). In addition, Edwin Maysonet sprained his ankle.

All of this is really bad timing, which happens in baseball over the course of the year. I really hate to see the young guys getting hurt. Typically, this means they are not conditioned enough (Abercrombie is the exception). It is better to get this out of the way early in the year, with hopes of it not returning often during the course of the regular season.Let's just hope that none of the "big guns" get hurt soon. They will need to stay healthy pretty much all 162 games.