Friday, April 3, 2009

Gone fishin'

be back tomorrow. Today is toooooo pretty to worry about Astros stuff. Will upload a pic of whatever I catch. I hear Lake Houston has some nice white Bass.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Thanks for the success.

The Unofficial Astros Blog has reached 13,120 visitors as of now since early March of this year. Thanks to all the readers.

To Twitter or not to Twitter, that is the question.

I have been trying out Twitter for about a month and have gained a cute little following. Join me on Twitter.

Next Game: At Corpus Christi Hooks 04/02 6:05 PM

Click to enlarge.

Astros 7 Reds 2. Kepp on former team, Johnson rises like a star and falls to RR

Michael Bourn led off the third with a double, stole third and scored on a base hit by Kazuo Matsui. Darin Erstad knocked a solo homer in the sixth. Chris Johnson drove in a run with a triple in the seventh and scored on a Reggie Abercrombie sacrifice fly.

Roy Oswalt made his last start before the regular season, and threw only four innings cause he didn't eat his Wheaties.

Michael Bourn was an unusual suspect in yesterday's game. Bourn went 3-for-3 including a two-bagger in the third, and swiped two bases to push his Grapefruit League-leading total to 11. As I noted in a post not too long ago, Bourn would get the average up and only patience would bring it. He has hit .247 in ST, however, he has raised that average from a dismal .167 since late march to the current .247. Look for him to continue to grow as a player with the boost of confidence he is getting.

Keppinger on former team:

“It’s been exciting, actually,” Keppinger said. “It’s a better opportunity for me over here, and I like this ballclub. This ballclub looks good.”

Keppinger, 28, will platoon at third base with Geoff Blum, taking a position originally held by Aaron Boone, who is out for the year after undergoing open-heart surgery. Keppinger hit .360 last year against lefthanders and is a career .287 hitter overall.

“They’ll be on a left-right kind of (platoon),” manager Cecil Cooper said. “(Keppinger) is a guy who can also play short or second. There are more options there.”

When talking about his new team, Keppinger smiled as he looked around the clubhouse at the lockers or Roy Oswalt, Lance Berkman, Carlos Lee and Ivan Rodriguez.

“You look at the Reds, and that’s pretty much the kind of guys they don’t have over there,” he said. “They don’t have a big three-hole guy who can knock it out of the park in any direction and hit .300 every year.”

Chris Johnson shines before being sent down:

Third baseman Chris Johnson was reassigned to Class AAA Round Rock but will travel with the Astros to Corpus Christi for today’s exhibition and this weekend’s games against Cleveland in Houston.

The Astros’ top position-player prospect, Johnson hit .245 with one homer and seven RBIs in 53 at-bats in his first major league camp.

The move leaves the Astros with 28 healthy players and all but guarantees Jason Smith has made the club as a backup infielder. The other three players likely to get cut before Monday are outfielder Reggie Abercrombie, catcher Lou Santangelo and pitcher Jose Capellan.

Astros receive NL Murcer Award

First off, let's figure out what the award is.

The Murcer Award is given to the team in both the American League and NL whose players contribute the most amount of money to B.A.T. through the Major League Baseball (MLB) Payroll Deduction Program. The award will be presented by Bobby's widow Kay during the 2010 Annual B.A.T. Dinner. The Astros contributed the most money of any NL team, and the Yankees were tops in the AL.

Organizers of B.A.T. revealed that they have collected nearly $1.5 million during their seventh annual Spring Training tour to raise funds for members of the baseball family in need.

Not sure how much the 'Stros or Yank-me's raised. This just goes to show that no matter the make up of a major league club, everyone still gives a litle, Even Drayton. Here is what he had to say about the fundraiser:

"We are extremely proud of all the MLB players and their generous dedication to helping those in need within the baseball family. These funds are especially critical during these difficult economic times. It really lifts my spirits to know that the Houston Astros players have made such a sizeable commitment and are being awarded the Bobby Murcer Award for contributing the most in the National League. We are very honored."

In the Astros Blogosphere: Thoughts on Jeff Keppinger

Tim Dierkes, with MLBTR, chimes in with his thoughts on Keppinger:

"I don't mind adding Keppinger in a utility role, it seems like the price won't end up being anything significant. But a Keppinger/Blum platoon...unless these guys are amazing defensively, that is going to hurt the team. The Astros' offense seems neither great nor terrible, and finding a league average hitter for the hot corner would add a few wins."

Scott Barzilla over at

"It’s funny how perception works. The Astros sign Ivan Rodriguez and it’s a stroke of genius. The Astros trade a player to be named later for Jeff Keppinger and people don’t blink an eye. Keppinger has been playing off and on since 2004. He has amassed 968 plate appearances in that time as a utility infielder. He became the regular shortstop last year in Alex Gonzalez’s absence. Funny, when you compare the two in basic terms it’s hard to tell the difference.


Keppinger .287 .338 .390 .728

Rodriguez .295 .325 .444 .769

The difference between the two is primarily in slugging, but the differences have been diminishing as Rodriguez’s power numbers are going. Irod slugged .394 last season. So again, how much are they different? This isn’t to say that this is a bad deal. In fact, there are rumors that Brandon Backe is the player to be named later. Ridding themselves of Backe is enough to make this a good deal. However, what this deal is really about is plugging a gaping hole with someone that won’t kill you. Keppinger isn’t the missing piece, but he does make third base a little more palatable."

Astros County has his take:

"I like the Keppinger trade. He's young-ish, cheap ($475,000, or thereabouts), can play a lot of different positions, and can drill lefties. Providing he's over the kneecap injury, I think he'll be a good addition if/when Chris Johnson is ready to take over full-time in 2010. I'm going to withhold complete judgment until I see who the PTBNL is..."

County and I talked VIA email over this PTBNL (player to be named later). Dusty Baker seems to think that the player is Drew Sutton. Not Cool. On one hand, Baker also thinks signing Gary Sheffield is a great idea. We all know Dusty is a little crazy, but he has been saying he wants to get younger and faster. This would be one of those opportunities. More on this later.

I would say the overall consensus here is that "The Kepp" isn't going to kill the Astros. I do agree with Tim about the platoon role, and that the move will bring in minimal wins. I definitely like the analysis from Scott. I was hoping that Backe would be the PTBNL. I really don't think it will be, but then again, I think Backe is done in Houston one way or another this season, just depends on when the Astros decide to get rid of him. Astros County is right, Kepp is relatively cheap (minus Drew Sutton) and can fill in as necessary. This Drew Sutton thing getting thrown out there really makes this move a little more to the negative to me. Drew Sutton shouldn't be given up for Kepp. Straight up. More on that later.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Astros optioned pitchers Alberto Arias and Jeff Fulchino to the minors

Announcement came after the win over the Braves yesterday. Not much to report there.

Arias threw 10 innings with 8 hits, 9 K's and 2 BB over the course of ST.

Fulchino's line looks somewhat similar, 14 innings with 11 hits, 5 K's and 2 BB.

Astros beat the Braves. NICE

With Russ Ortiz leading the charge against the Braves, the 'Stros easily walked away with a win on Tuesday night. Astros player of the game had to be Carlos Lee, who was hitting .178 heading into the game. Lee went 2-for-3 with a double, home run and four RBIs. This win was pretty impressive seeing as the Braves have been pretty decent through spring training, Derek Lowe was on the mound for the Braves and the Astros were still missing Berkman, who has sat out the last four games with biceps tendinitis in his left shoulder.

Berkman said Monday that he planned to DH on Tuesday, but Houston manager elected not to use a DH against the Braves in order to give Berkman another day of rest. Berkman is expected to play Wednesday against Cincinnati.

Ortiz will get the nod at SP5, Unofficially. Maysonet sent to RR

Alyson Footer thinks so anyhow. Ortiz threw amazing last night against the Braves, with the exception of the 3 run shlamma-ding-dong he gave up to Chipper Jones. Although it hasn't been made official, and nobody in the Astros organization has mentioned anything, Ortiz has to have the SP5 spot on lock-down like a prison guard. Capellan was/is his only competition thus far, and although Capellan has thrown great, Ortiz has to either make the team or be released. Capellan can be sent to the minors, so, the choice is obvious. Here is what Ortiz had to say about IF and WHEN he gets the official notice.

"The biggest thing is, I try not to get caught up in that and it's hard," Ortiz said. "I want to make the team and be in Houston. I just always go back to, I can't control any decisions, I can't worry about tomorrow. Just work on what I need to work on that day, and that's how I've done it all spring. I'm not going to change until I hear one way or another."

In other Astros news, Edwin Maysonet was sent to RR. Maysonet played decent this spring and although he is heading to RR, look for him to get some time with the big league club this year.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

MLBTR says the Astros got Keppinger.

According to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Astros acquired out of options infielder Jeff Keppinger from the Reds for a player to be named later. Looks like Keppinger will be Houston's third base addition.

Keppinger, 29 in April, hit .266/.310/.346 in 502 plate appearances last year while playing all around the infield (mostly shortstop).

This isn't a bad signing at all, considering. He will throw a decent glove at the hot corner and can also fill in for Miggy and Kaz assuming Tejada can't hack it full time and Matsui has another round of anal fissures. Didn't really need to add the last part about Kaz, but it's fun making fun of someone with anal problems..

De La Vara sent back to Royals.

De La Vara cleared waivers and was then shipped back to the Royals for half ($25K) of what the Astros paid. Over a span of eight games, he allowed nine earned runs in 9 2/3 innings, for an 8.38 ERA.

Take a look at the MLB site, which has the info. Read the first comment, this guy is an ignoramus.

What have I missed?

Well, Berkman appears to be getting strength in his shoulder again. Let's move on. He basically said in an interview that he wants to play and it's getting better daily. Whether or not he misses a game or two, let's not panic.

Hampton had a bad outing against the Phil's. We can't expect him to play like Hampton, class of 99' everyday, but we can expect him to do this on occasion.

The front office still has some decisions to make for the roster. LINK.

MLBTR has a rather bleak outlook for the 2009 Astros.

Covered some fantasy stuff of

Not really Astros stuff here, but Gary Sheffield was released today and the Tigers will eat 14 Million of his salary. Wow, tough economic times, huh?

Monday, March 30, 2009

busy day

Will be back tomorrow. Check Astros County for anything you might need to read about today. Refi's are a plenty!!! Everyone know what tomorrow is?