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Saturday, April 19, 2014

A’s Jed Lowrie “flabbergasted” by Astros’ response to bunt

Holy mackerel!

Last night’s game featured some strangeness, with Astros manager Bo Porter getting bent out of shape about Jed Lowrie’s bunt attempt against the shift in the first inning and the A’s up 7-0. Consensus around the Oakland clubhouse: The first inning is way too early to get upset about a guy bunting – plus, if you put the shift on, you’re inviting the bunt. Why would you then get upset about it?

“I’m really flabbergasted by the reaction,” Lowrie said of Porter’s heated words after Paul Clemens threw a pitch near Lowrie’s legs his next at bat. “He was yelling, ‘Just go play shortstop!’ He made it into such a big deal.”

As Lowrie pointed out, he was doing exactly what the Astros wanted when he bunted – and he bunted into an out, presumably their best-case scenario.

“The shortstop was on the other side, all I had to do was get it past the pitcher, and I didn’t,” Lowrie said. “I screwed up. I gave them an out. It was the first inning of a major-league game.”

I asked Porter about the incident this morning, and he said what he’d said yesterday, “The game polices itself.”

Porter is a fiery type – and with his team down 7-0 in the first, he could well have been trying to get the Astros going. At any rate, Clemens missed Lowrie and really, it all should be over by now.  A’s manager Bob Melvin said he can understand being “perturbed” with an opponent bunting when the team is down 7-0, but it was so early in the game.

“Hopefully, we can move on,” Melvin said. “I don’t think it’s that big an issue, to tell you the truth.”

Repoz Posted: April 19, 2014 at 08:04 PM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, oakland

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Astros To Promote George Springer

Good couple of weeks for UConn!

(Astros also demote the hapless Lucas Harrell.)

Top outfield prospect George Springer will join the Astros tomorrow, reports Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter)...

Springer climbed up prospect rating boards after a monster 2013 campaign in which he hit a combined .303/.411/.600, and posted 37 home runs and 45 stolen bases, in 589 plate appearances split between Double-A and Triple-A. Entering the 2014 season, analysts rated Springer between 18th (Baseball America) to 21st (MLB.com) among all MLB prospects. The 2011 first-round pick looked well on his way to a repeat of that performance in the season’s early going…

Though he is a tall and powerful ballplayer, Springer profiles as a center fielder. But with that position occupied in Houston by offseason acquisition Dexter Fowler, Springer will presumably take over in left field for the optioned Robbie Grossman. 

The District Attorney Posted: April 16, 2014 at 11:37 AM | 40 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, george springer

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Astros game gets a 0.0 TV rating again

SoCalDemon Posted: April 10, 2014 at 10:26 AM | 42 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, tv ratings

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Ortiz: With too many retired numbers, Astros should reintroduce numbers

Take Umbricht people, take Umbricht.

Larry Dierker also points out that the Astros standards weren’t very high when deciding which numbers to retire, so one must wonder if it’s time to reintroduce some of those numbers.

As far as Dierker is concerned, Oswalt and Berkman did enough during their Astros tenure to surpass the franchise’s previous standards for having their jerseys retired. As candid as ever, however, Dierker admits that the previous standard hadn’t been very high.

Some make valid arguments that J.R. Richard’s No. 50 should be retired by the Astros, but I disagree. Moreover, I will argue that the Astros should actually reintroduce some of the retired numbers and find different ways to honor Don Wilson, Jim Umbricht and perhaps even Jimmy Wynn.

“If they retired my jersey (No. 49), they got to retire Roy’s,” Dierker said. “If they retired Jimmy Wynn’s, they got to retire Lance’s. That’s one of the issues that we have here is that I think they jumped the gun when Jim Umbricht died and Don Wilson died.

“And all of a sudden we have some retired numbers but we weren’t producing any Hall of Famers. Usually if you have your number retired by a team, you’re in the Hall of Fame. But we kind of set a precedent that now J.R. Richard, Joe Niekro, there are a whole bunch of guys that you could make an argument for based on the guys that are already retired. (Jeff) Bagwell and (Craig) Biggio are obvious.”

...Wynn spent 11 years with the Astros from 1963 through 1973, leading the team in homers, hits and RBIs when he left Houston. Bagwell is the franchise leader in home runs with 449, and Biggio is in the exclusive 3,000-hit club. He is the Astros’ all-time leader in hits (3,060), runs (1,844), games (2,850), seasons (20). The seven-time All-Star made 19 opening day starts.

“I think Bagwell and Biggio probably with what they did, their numbers would be retired by any team,” Dierker said. “And Jose Cruz, he was special. I think that one was legit. I think if you add the success we had when I managed to what I did pitching, I might get to that point without being a Hall of Fame player.

“But for me, the rest of them I don’t think they’d be retired for most teams. So now we have a whole bunch of other guys that really deserve to have their numbers retired and we’re going to run out of numbers. You wouldn’t think in a franchise that hasn’t been exactly the Yankees that you’d get yourself in that position. But that’s kind of where we are right now. But as far as I’m concerned as far as this goes (Saturday night), if some of the guys have their numbers retired up there have them retired, these two guys should definitely have them retired.”

Repoz Posted: April 08, 2014 at 07:51 PM | 44 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Jonah Keri: 2014 AL West Preview

This article is pretty much what it sounds like. Keri goes over each team, additions and subtractions, and projections. It makes me fondly remember the days of team season previews on baseball primer.

Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: March 25, 2014 at 02:29 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, astros, athletics, mariners, rangers

Thursday, March 20, 2014

MLB system discourages teams like Astros from promoting top young talent | FOX Sports on MSN

Outfielder George Springer, the Astros’ top prospect, has yet to play an inning in the major leagues. He almost certainly will not make the team’s Opening Day roster.

Yet last September, the Astros offered him a seven-year, $23 million contract, according to major league sources.

Springer, 24, rejected the offer, sources said, declining to give up three years of arbitration and one year of free agency.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 20, 2014 at 07:27 AM | 27 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, george springer

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Astros release Brett Wallace

KISSIMMEE, Fla.—The Houston Astros gave infielder Brett Wallace his unconditional release on Wednesday.

The 27-year-old Wallace played with the Astros for four years, mostly at first base and also at third base. He played in 79 games last season, batting .221 with 13 home runs. In eight games this spring, Wallace was 2-for-14 with eight strikeouts.

That leaves first basemen Chris Carter and rookie Jon Singleton on the roster. The Astros have 51 players remaining in camp, including 16 non-roster invitees.

Catcher Jason Castro is the only player on the current roster who has been with the Astros continuously longer than Wallace.

attaboy Posted: March 12, 2014 at 02:43 PM | 41 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, general

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Rick Ankiel will retire

An interesting career. I’m sure he’ll be a fine coach if he wants to be.

BourbonSamurai Is a Lazy Nogoodnik Posted: March 05, 2014 at 05:57 PM | 34 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, cardinals, nationals

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Clemens will say farewell to Jeter at ceremony in Houston

Of all the dramatic things I’ve ever seen. Roger Clemens is standing right in Derek Jeter’s gift box!

The first stop on the Derek Jeter Long Goodbye Tour will be in Houston the opening series of the season. It should be one memorable tribute, especially when you consider who will be taking a large part in the event — Roger Clemens.

“Roger is going to be driving the bus,’’ Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow told The Post Monday at Roger Dean Stadium. “I’m sure it will be something special.’’

Clemens is a special assistant to Luhnow. Clemens spent six seasons with the Yankees and won two world championships with Jeter.

...Luhnow said he is looking forward to making the Jeter ceremony a teaching point to his young, improving team.

“To have Mariano to finish the season at Minute Maid Park and to be able to recognize him and to follow up and be able to open up against the Yankees and Derek Jeter this year, we want those types of players in our system,’’ Luhnow said. “We hope that some of those guys are already there. The more our young players can see greatness like that and model themselves after two of the greatest players who ever played and did it the right way the whole time, that’s something we really want our guys to appreciate.

“They’ll be on the top step. I got to stand next to Mariano when we presented the gift to him and I felt blessed to be out there. We had a chance to chat in Spanish, which was fun. Even though Mariano’s playing career is over, he is going to do amazing things with the rest of his life.’’

Repoz Posted: March 04, 2014 at 10:12 AM | 27 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, yankees

Monday, March 03, 2014

Astros prospect Jon Singleton discusses his struggle with marijuana

Jon Singleton is considered the top first base prospect in baseball — a big, dynamic left-handed hitter with power and composure who can use the entire field.

He’s one of the players expected to help the Astros back to respectability after three straight 100-loss seasons.

All that despite a couple of very public setbacks. And for the first time publicly, he’s opening up about his battle with an addiction to marijuana and monthlong stay at a rehabilitation center.

“At this point it’s pretty evident to me that I’m a drug addict,” he told The Associated Press over breakfast on a recent day near the Astros’ camp. “I don’t openly tell everyone that, but it’s pretty apparent to myself.”

Vividly so.

“I know that I enjoy smoking weed, I enjoy being high and I can’t block that out of my mind that I enjoy that,” he said. “So I have to work against that.”

...“I knew I had a problem,” he said. “Even after I failed the second drug test I couldn’t stop smoking weed. It was really bad. Me going there was definitely the best move.”

He didn’t feel that way when he first entered. Fearing the unknown, he says he didn’t sleep for three days straight.

“They would turn off the lights at 11:30 and I would just sit there and stare at the ceiling because I couldn’t go to sleep,” he said. “My heart was beating too fast. I would get night sweats. It was bad. I legitimately went through withdrawal.”

Singleton desperately wanted to leave and wasn’t open to the recovery process.

“But after I was there for so long it just grew on me,” he said. “I was like, ‘I’m going to be here for 30 days, so I might as well get the best out of it that I can.’ I used it as a learning experience.”

Thanks to Cheech Barnald.

Repoz Posted: March 03, 2014 at 08:58 PM | 55 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Monday, February 24, 2014

Blue Jays, Astros, Nationals Spring Training Site Musical Chairs

Let’s see if I can make the biggest mess yet with this thread!

LAKE WORTH — Lake Worth city officials think they have a home run of an idea to help revitalize their city and save spring training on Florida’s east coast: A baseball stadium on the shores of Lake Osborne in John Prince Park.

They just need Palm Beach County, which owns the land, to buy into the idea. And that might not happen anytime soon.

...Still, city officials say they are cautiously optimistic about the prospect of the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals sharing a spring training complex on 80-some acres in the 728-acre park just south of Lake Worth Road and west of Lake Osborne.

Place your bets, place your bets!

boteman digs the circuit clout Posted: February 24, 2014 at 09:29 PM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, blue jays, florida, nationals, spring training

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Nolan Ryan returns to Astros front office

The Ryan Express has landed back in Houston. The legendary Nolan Ryan has agreed to accept a position as a special assistant to Astros owner Jim Crane.

Although his duties aren’t nearly as demanding as they were with the Rangers from February 2008 until last October, Ryan’s return to the Astros is more intimate and personal because it provides the Hall of Famer an opportunity to help his eldest son rebuild the club.

“It would be a special and totally different than I have dealt with before because it’s on the major league level and an organization that Reid’s president of,” Nolan Ryan said late last month. “And if I could assist him in some way it would be fun and challenging.”

Jon Daniels plans to replace Ryan with two 8-7 CEO’s.

Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: February 11, 2014 at 06:21 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, nolan ryan, rangers

Astros seek one-day contract for Oswalt, Berkman

The Houston Astros confirmed Monday that the team is looking to sign one-day contracts with former stars Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt so they can retire with the team.

“We love Lance, he’s one of the best Astros ever so we’re going to do whatever works for Lance and I think we have a day set aside already to honor him,” owner Jim Crane said. “

Berkman, who turns 38 on Monday, spent 12 season with the Astros hitting 326 homeruns. For his career, Berkman hit .293 with 366 homeruns and 1,234 RBI.

Oswalt pitched for the Astros from 2001 to 2010. He was named the MVP of the National League Championship series when the team reached the World Series in 2005.

Thanks to Los.

Repoz Posted: February 11, 2014 at 01:54 PM | 46 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

ESPN: Curt Schilling diagnosed with cancer

Get well soon.

ESPN baseball analyst and former major league pitcher Curt Schilling announced Wednesday that he has cancer.

“I’ve always believed life is about embracing the gifts and rising up to meet the challenges,” Schilling said in a statement released by ESPN. “We’ve been presented with another challenge, as I’ve recently been diagnosed with cancer.”

In December, ESPN announced that Schilling would be part of its “Sunday Night Baseball” broadcast team for the upcoming season. It also announced a multiyear contract extension with him.

ESPN did not say what Schilling’s broadcast plans will be for the upcoming season.

“Our thoughts are with Curt and his family during this challenging time,” the network said in a statement. “His ESPN teammates wish him continued strength in his cancer fight and we look forward to welcoming him back to our baseball coverage whenever he’s ready.”

Schilling, 47, pitched in the majors for 20 seasons for the Baltimore Orioles, Houston Astros, Philadelphia Phillies, Arizona Diamondbacks and Boston Red Sox. The six-time All-Star finished with a record of 216-146 and a 3.46 ERA. His 3,116 strikeouts rank 15th all time.

The right-hander, though, was best known for his performances in the postseason. In 19 starts, he compiled an 11-2 record with four complete games and a 2.23 ERA. He’ll forever be a part of Red Sox lore, helping them to World Series titles in 2004 and ‘07.

AndrewJ Posted: February 05, 2014 at 06:28 PM | 47 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, cancer sucks, curt schilling, diamondbacks, espn, orioles, phillies, red sox

Monday, February 03, 2014

Astros sign Jerome Williams

Send it in, Jerome!

The contract! Before they realize its a MLB guaranteed contract!

The Astros will be the fifth team and eighth organization Williams has pitched for in what will be his 11th season as an MLB pitcher. Last season with the Angels, Williams finished 9-10 with a 4.57 ERA and a 4.60 FIP. Williams posted a 0.3 WAR and has never posted a WAR over one since his rookie season in 2003.

When investigating Williams’ track record, it’s not too surprising that general manager Jeff Luhnow is taking a flyer on the 32-year old righty. Williams has a career 48.6 percent groundball rate and has consistently improved his control as his career gone on. Williams also posted a career-high 169.1 innings last season and should at the very least eat up innings if some of the younger options don’t impress for the Astros.

The downsides of Williams include a tendency toward the long ball (23 allowed in 2013) while striking out less than six batters per nine innings throughout his career.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 03, 2014 at 10:59 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, free agents, jerome williams

Thursday, January 30, 2014

1973: Jerry Lewis Gets a Hit as an Astro

“Jerry Lewis played four innings at first base for the Astros”...and then gave way to Sammy Petrillo.

Another Walter Mitty moment came in the Astrodome in late July 1972, when Jerry Lewis started at first base for the Houston Astros in an exhibition game against the Detroit Tigers. Although I was never a fan of his humor, I was amazed at how well he played defense; he even got a hit off Tiger pitcher Mike Strahler. It was reported that he arrived at a party later that night still wearing his number ’9′ Astros jersey.”

The game and appearance by Jerry Lewis as an Astro took place on July 19, 1973 – and here’s how it was reported by the Baytown Sun:

Pitchers, Lewis Steal Astro Show

Houston (AP) - Bob Gallagher’s inside-the-park grand slam home run won the game but a pair of pitching coaches in their 50s and a comedian stole the show in an exhibition game between the Houston Astros and the Detroit Tigers.

Gallagher’s eighth inning smash gave Houston a 10-7 victory Thursday night in the game as both clubs allowed their pitching coaches to pitch and comedian Jerry Lewis played four innings at first base for the Astros.

Lewis (age 47 at the time) got a single and a walk in his two times at bat.

Repoz Posted: January 30, 2014 at 11:08 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, history

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Berkman announces retirement

to pursue slaw enforcement.

Lance Berkman’s has decided to retire, he told MLB.com Wednesday afternoon.

“It doesn’t make sense to play in the physical condition I’m in,” he said.

He has had continuing problems with his right knee, the same injury that limited him to 73 games for the Rangers last season.

“I’m not going to keep trying to run out there for the heck of it,” he said.

During his 15-year career, he made the National League All-Star Team six times and was a member of five playoff teams, including the 2011 Cardinals, who won the World Series.

He had toyed with the idea of attempting to play a 16th season, but came to the conclusion that his 37-year-old body wouldn’t allow him to.

“I think I’m actually glad about it,” he said. “I’m excited about the next chapter in my life. I’m looking forward to spending more time with my family, and at some point, I’ll definitely coach somewhere.”

His legacy will be that he was one of the best offensive players in the game for a long stretch of his career. During his first 12 seasons, including 10-plus with the Astros, he averaged 30 home runs, 34 doubles, 95 walks and had a .410 on-base percentage and a .958 on-base-plus-slugging.

His .9429 OPS is the 26th-highest in history among players with at least 500 games. It’s higher even than Hall of Famers Willie Mays and Hank Aaron.

Repoz Posted: January 29, 2014 at 08:06 PM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Schoenfield: The 10 worst mascots ever

1. Crazy Crab (Giants)
2. Chief Noc-a-Homa (Braves)
3. Original Pirate Parrot (Pirates)
4. Twinkie the Loon (Twins)
5. Charlie-O (A’s)
6. Ribbie and Roobarb (White Sox)
7. Bernie Brewer (Brewers)
8. Dandy (Yankees)
9. Junction Jack (Astros)
10. Rootin’ Tootin’ Ranger (Rangers)


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Ranking MLB Managers…by Handsomeness

All week I’ve half-jokingly noted that Brad Ausmus is a handsome, handsome man. As a result of that, people have asked me which manager is next handsome. And next handsome. And next handsome after that. And who’s the least handsome manager too. So, inevitably, it has come to this: a list ranking the managerial beefcake…

1. Brad Ausmus:... There are factions of female baseball fans who have been beating the Ausmus drum for years in various places on the Internet. He is probably the best looking manager in the history of baseball.

30. Clint Hurdle: None of us are ever as bad as our worst days make us out to be. But some people’s worst days are worse than others.[/bq]


Friday, December 06, 2013

Astros, Scott Feldman Agree to Three Year Deal

Astros sign starting pitcher Scott Feldman to a 3 year, $30 million contract (pending physical).

Tricky Dick Posted: December 06, 2013 at 03:29 PM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Rockies trade Dexter Fowler to Astros for Jordan Lyles, Brandon Barnes

The Astros have acquired center fielder Dexter Fowler and a player to be named later from the Rockies in exchange for right-hander Jordan Lyles and outfielder Brandon Barnes, both teams announced.

Thanks to JJ.

Repoz Posted: December 03, 2013 at 06:20 PM | 63 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, rockies, site news

Friday, November 22, 2013

Barron: Astros owner sues Drayton McLane, Comcast and NBC claiming fraud

The suit accuses McLane, who sold the Astros and his CSN Houston share to Crane in 2011 for $615 million, of selling “an asset (the network) they knew at the time to be overpriced and broken.” It also says Crane was “duped” when he bought McLane’s network interest based on what have been proved to be “knowing misrepresentations” and “falsely inflated subscription rates.”

“Ultimately, fans of the Houston Astros have been injured because defendants’ misrepresentations leave (Crane) with an impossible choice: either accept the broken network as is and deprive thousands of fans the ability to watch Houston Astros games on their televisions, or distribute the game at market rates and take massive losses out of the Houston Astros player payroll – thereby dooming the franchise for years to come,” the suit adds.

Commissioner Bud Black Beltre Hillman Posted: November 22, 2013 at 05:04 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, business

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

AP: Houston votes against Astrodome

After Texas voters on Tuesday rejected a referendum that would have authorized up to $217 million in bonds to turn the Astrodome into a giant convention and event center, the stadium is likely to be demolished.

“We can’t allow the once-proud Astrodome to sit like a rusting ship in the middle of a parking lot. This was the best effort (to revamp the stadium), and voters have turned it down,” Harris County Judge Ed Emmett said. Fifty-three percent voted against the referendum.

Emmett said a final decision on what happens to the Astrodome will be up to the commissioners court, the group of local officials who manage the county. But he said the stadium’s future was pretty much sealed with the referendum’s failure. He said a decision would have to be made quickly but didn’t say exactly when that would happen.

While some supporters who attended an election watch party Tuesday evening in an exhibition hall across from the Astrodome vowed to continue fighting for the stadium, preservation groups who had championed the referendum said there was really nothing more that could be done.

“Because it sat vacant for many years, there’s been a lack of passion for it,” said Beth Wiedower, senior field officer with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, one of the groups backing the plan.

Wiedower said efforts to promote the referendum had reinvigorated that passion.

“But it just wasn’t enough,” she said.

Another single tear rolls down BBC’s cheek.

JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: November 06, 2013 at 08:27 AM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, stadium financing, stadiums

Friday, November 01, 2013

Baseball Prospectus | Manufactured Runs: Moments of Transition, Moments of Revelation

Congrats to Colin! I know Houston is down in the dumps right now but they are certainly making great baseball operations hires that will lead to big things.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 01, 2013 at 09:37 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Judge Allows Astros to Seek New TV Partner

A federal bankruptcy judge Tuesday authorized the Astros to negotiate with third parties on a new business plan for Houston Regional Sports Network, the troubled Astros-Rockets-Comcast partnership that owns Comcast SportsNet Houston…It names the Astros as lead negotiator with authority to “investigate and negotiate the terms of carriage agreements, broadcast agreements, management agreements, lease agreements, equipment agreements, purchase and sale agreements and debt and equity investments and other matters pertaining to the formulation of a business plan…” it frees Astros owner Jim Crane, who has been critical of the network’s financial performance, to negotiate with parties such as Fox and DirecTV across a wide range of services and scenarios that could impact the future of the Astros and Rockets on TV.

Judge Isgur’s order places on hold the Astros’ motion to dismiss the involuntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy case filed Sept. 27 by four Comcast affiliates and Comcast’s motion to name an interim trustee.

Tricky Dick Posted: October 31, 2013 at 09:00 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, business

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