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Houston starter Nelson Figueroa was charged for eight runs on nine hits in three-plus innings.
The Astros made final cuts after the game, and we’ll have those up shortly. The Astros will fly to Philadelphia tomorrow to open up a three game series with the Phillies on Friday. Brett Myers will take the ball against Roy Halladay for the Astros opener.
The Astros better hope that preseason baseball means nothing, because if not they’ll be irrelevant by July. The Astros dropped to a MLB-worst 11-23 after a 7-6 defeat at the hands of the Phillies. They head back to Houston losers of eight of their last nine and will face the Boston Red Sox in an exhibition Wednesday at Minute Maid Park.
Bud Norris was roughed up for six earned runs in the loss, walking four and striking out two to end his spring training with a 8.05 ERA. Nate Bump pitched five innings, allowing just one run, to pick up the win for the Phillies. The Astros did make it interesting with some runs off the back of the Phillies bullpen, J.B. Schuck hit his second homer of the spring to keep things alive in the ninth, but utlimately Ebelin Lugo was able to close things out for the Phillies.
The Astros named Brett Wallace the starter at first base, and he responded by going 2-for-3 with a walk. Enerio Del Rosario continued his dominant run in spring training, as he goes into the last game with a chance at maintaining a 0.00 ERA. The Astros will open the regular season on Friday in Philadelphia.
Faced with the prospect of opening the season without infielders Jeff Keppinger and Clint Barmes, the Astros dipped into the utility infielder market on Sunday, acquiring Tampa Bay’s Joe Inglett for a Player To Be Named Later or cash. Inglett isn’t on the 40-man roster just yet, but he’ll have a shot to beat out Tommy Manzella for what looks to be the last spot. Inglett, 32, had his best season with the Blue Jays in 2008, when he hit .297 with three homers in 385 plate appearances. While he can play many positions, he’s stretched defensively and is more of a fill-in player for those spots.
The Astros also sent Rule Five pick Lance Pendleton back to the Yankees. Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports that the Astros had tried to make a deal with the Yankees to hold on to Pendleton, but the two sides couldn’t see eye-to-eye. Since Pendleton was selected in the Rule Five Draft, he would have had to stay on the 40-man roster all season or be offered back to the Yankees. Fellow Rule Five pick Aneury Rodriguez seems like he will make the back of the Astros bullpen.
Final Score: Detroit 8, Houston 4
Kissimmee, FL (Sports Network) - Miguel Cabrera went 3-for-4 with a homer and four RBI, leading the Detroit Tigers in an 8-4 spring training win over the Houston Astros.
Victor Martinez added two hits and two RBI for the Tigers, while starter Brad Penny gave up two runs in six innings. Penny allowed seven hits, walked two, and struck out four.
In three innings, Astros starter Wandy Rodriguez surrendered five runs on six hits and four walks. Carlos Lee hit a two-run blast.
Considering this game happened around lunch time, I have to give Carlos Lee credit for keeping his concentration long enough to hit a home run. Impressive!
Tommy Manzella, fresh off being called back up to the Majors following the injury to Clint Barmes, went 1-3 with a triple and an RBI.
Houston takes on the Phillies in Grapefruit League action tomorrow. They open the season in Philly on Friday.
Final Score: Washington 10, Houston 0
Kissimmee, FL (Sports Network) - Jonathan Van Every hit a three-run home run to help Washington rout Houston, 10-0, in Grapefruit League play.
Michael Morse hit his eighth home run of the season, a two-run shot in the second, while Ryan Zimmerman also plated a pair of runs in the win. Livan Hernandez gave up just one hit and one walk over four innings of work.
The Astros had just two hits in the game, both singles, while Henry Villar gave up Morse's home run to take the loss.
Maybe the Astros were off their game after this morning's unfortunate news that SS Clint Barmes is going to be out over a month with a broken left hand. Or, maybe the Astros just can't hit... or pitch. In a spring that has featured several glaring low points, this may have been the lowest as far as actual performance on the diamond goes.
Errors by Brett Wallace and Enerio Del Rosario led to two unearned runs, the Astros did not get an extra-base hit, and five of eight Houston pitchers gave up runs.
Houston plays their final Sunday Spring Training game of the year tomorrow when they take on Detroit.
UPDATE: Levine now reports that Tommy Manzella will return to the Astros, but it is not yet clear if he will be the immediate starter. My opinion - you have to give Angel Sanchez a serious look before handing the job back to Manzella.
The Astros have been dealt another significant blow with this morning's news that shortstop Clint Barmes has a broken left hand.
Barmes was hit by a pitch from the Yankees' Ivan Nova in yesterday's spring game against New York. He did not return to the game after taking the shot, which he described as "pretty square." Player and club alike were optimistic that it would just turn out to be a bad bruise. Instead, Barmes will sit with a fracture in the fifth metacarpal bone, which is the first bone of the pinky past the knuckle as you move toward the wrist. Barmes will be able to continue regular conditioning and workouts, minus the use of his left hand.
The most obvious choice to fill in for Barmes is of course Angel Sanchez. The Astros could also look to utility infielder Anderson Hernandez as well, but it will be interesting to see if Houston revisits its decision from Thursday to send last year's starting SS Tommy Manzella to Triple-A.
The Astros lost Nieve off waivers to the New York Mets in 2009, the Mets got some decent spot starts out of Nieve that year, but he completely imploded as a setup reliever in 2010, and was unceremoniously booted from the roster after giving up 10 home runs in just 42 innings.
Nieve had latched on with the Pirates, but he’d been released after allowing 17 hits in just 7 2/3rd innings in spring training. The Astros likely won’t be placing Nieve on the MLB roster any time soon, and he’ll probably wind up being depth at Oklahoma City as the Astros see if they can re-discover the promise in his arm. Nieve was the Astros’ third ranked prospect according to Baseball America in 2007.
The Houston Astros optioned left-handed reliever Wesley Wright, shortstop Tommy Manzella and outfielder Brian Bogusevic to Triple-A Oklahoma City and reassigned catchers Brian Esposito and Robinson Cancel to minor league camp on Thursday.
With the move, non-roster invitee J.B. Shuck, a speedy outfielder who reached Triple-A last season, is the only left-handed outfielder left in big league camp. He will likely compete with right-hander Jason Bourgeois for the fifth outfielder spot.
On the infield, Matt Downs, Anderson Hernandez and Angel Sanchez are still competing for two positions. Of those three, only Angel Sanchez is without options. After Manzella's somewhat surprising demotion, it appears Sanchez may have one of the two backup infield spots locked up, leaving the final one down to right-handed Downs and left-handed Hernandez.
Wright's demotion was not surprising, but it does leave the Astros with just three left-handers in camp. Fernando Abad, Ryan Rowland-Smith and Gustavo Chacin are competing for bullpen jobs currently, but there is a small chance the Astros will trade Rowland-Smith to a starting-pitching hungry team before next week. Manager Brad Mills has shown a penchant for keeping multiple left-handers in the bullpen, so there is a chance two of those three make the 25-man roster.
Esposito and Cancel were expected to go back to the minors, with Alyson Footer suggesting that Esposito was sent down now to start working with the young pitchers. That leaves J.R. Towles, Humberto Quintero and Carlos Corporan as the only catchers left in camp, with two spots to be won.
In all, the Astros roster is down to 38, with Jason Castro, Jeff Keppinger and Alberto Arias likely headed to the disabled list. That leaves 10 players who still need to be cut or reassigned by next week.
Astros starter J.A. Happ gave up five runs on nine hits over six innings.
Enerio Del Rosario pitched another scoreless inning, although he did give up two hits.Gustavo Chacin had the most impressive inning of the day, leaving the PIrates hitless with a strikeout, as he continued the battle against Ryan Rowland-Smith and Fernando Abad for the lefty specialist role.
1. Bourgeois, CF
2. Sanches, SS
3. Pence, RF
4. Michaels, LF
5. Wallace, 1B
6. Johnson, 3B
7. Quintero, C
8. Hernandez, 2B
9. Happ, SP
Danny Espinosa had a pair of hits and a run batted in for the Nationals. Doug Slaten picked up the win for tossing a perfect eighth inning and Drew Storen got the final three outs in the ninth to earn the save.
John Lannan got the starting assignment and allowed one run on two hits, struck out three and walked one over six innings.
Michael Bourn had an RBI single to account for the lone Houston run. Fernando Abad was tagged with the loss for yielding two runs on four hits in the eighth. Wandy Rodriguez allowed one unearned run on three hits and fanned one in a four-inning start.
The Astros will head to Bradenton tomorrow to take on the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Phil Coke worked five innings for the win, allowing four hits and one run.
Michael Bourn, Carlos Lee, and Hunter Pence were the only Astros to come away with hits. Detroit’s bullpen threw four perfect innings after the game drifted out of hand. Wesley Wright was the lone Astro pitcher to get out of the outing unscathed, as he pitched a hitless inning in the sixth.
The Astros will face Washington tomorrow in more Grapefruit League action.
This morning, the Houston Astros effectively decided their fifth starter by reassigning 20-year-old Jordan Lyles to minor league camp. Three players remain who could receive the assignment: veteran Nelson Figueroa and rule five picks Aneury Rodriguez and Lance Pendleton. Neither of the latter two have gotten many innings recently, and it’s increasingly likely that Figueroa will be the Astros fifth starter once the season begins, behind Brett Myers, Wandy Rodriguez, J.A. Happ, and Bud Norris. Lyles had compiled a 1.98 ERA in his 13 2/3rd spring innings, but he wasn’t dominant enough to make the Astros rush him to the majors.
Along with Lyles, the Astros also sent pitcher Casey Fein, outfielder Drew Locke, outfielder T.J. Steele, pitcher Fernando Rodriguez, and pitcher Patrick Urckfitz to minor league camp. Furthermore, they optioned 40-man roster reliever Sergio Escalona to the minors. Escalona came to the Astros via a minor trade with the Phillies for second baseman Albert Cartwright.
The Astros will tangle with the Tigers yet again later today in Grapefruit League action.
Final Score: Houston 3, St. Louis 2
Kissimmee, FL (Sports Network) - Bud Norris tossed five shutout innings, and the Houston Astros held on to beat the St. Louis Cardinals, 3-2, in Grapefruit League play.
Norris gave up six hits and recorded five strikeouts.
Houston's Brett Wallace and Carlos Lee both drove in a run in the fourth inning, while J.R. Towles singled home a run in the fifth to give the Astros a 3-0 lead.
St. Louis got on the board in the sixth on Tyler Greene's RBI single, and closed to within a run when Jon Jay's single plated Ryan Jackson with two outs in the ninth. Casey Fien then struck out Alex Castellanos to end the game.
Cardinals starter Lance Lynn allowed two runs on three hits over four full frames.
The Astros will wrap up split-squad action tomorrow as Ryan Rowland-Smith starts against the Pirates, and Nelson Figueroa takes the mound against the Braves.
Astros pitching finally came to life today.
J.A. Happ went five scoreless innings, but gave up four hits and four walks. Minus one tough inning for Welsey Wright, Astros pitchers seemed to be in control. Wilton Lopez and Enerio Del Rosario pitched two scoreless frames and gave up no walks or hits.
The Astros lit up Ricky Nolasco, who lasted just 2.1 innings and gave up seven runs on eight hits.
Wallace and Johnson each went 2-4 with an RBI; five other Astros managed to knock in runs as well.
The Marlins have struggled this spring; they have played sluggish and have committed 24 errors thus far. Owner Jeffrey Loria was upset with their team play; he openly criticized his team play as " inconsistent and not acceptable".
The Astros and Marlins will square off in Jupiter, FL as both teams have had a rather long Spring Training.
The Marlins have had 24 errors this spring, and hold a 6-13 record. Things have gotten so bad at Marlins camp that owner Jeffery Loria criticized the team’s play, stating their play was “inconsistent and not acceptable”.
The Astros are just 8-14 this spring, but have been playing better as of late.
Kissimmee, FL (Sports Network) – Anderson Hernandez’s RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning finished a five-run rally and was the deciding factor, as Houston edged Washington, 8-7, in Grapefruit League play.
Jason Michaels went 2-for-3 with a run scored while Brett Myers allowed six runs — five earned — on eight hits and fanned four in the five-inning start. Gustavo Chacin threw a perfect ninth inning to record the win.
Aneury Rodriguez went the first two innings, surrendering a hit and a run. Jordan Lyle got the win, though, pitching two scoreless innings and fanned three batters.
Final Score: Philadelphia 7, Houston 6
Kissimmee, FL (Sports Network) – Michael Martinez scored from second base on a wild pitch in the top of the ninth inning and the Philadelphia Phillies outlasted the Houston Astros, 7-6, in Grapefruit League action.
Josh Barfield knocked in a pair and scored a run, while Ryan Howard and Shane Victorino each chipped in with an RBI double. Starting pitcher Cole Hamels was tagged for five runs on seven hits in 3 2/3 innings of work. The left-hander struck out four and walked one.
Dan Meyer was credited with the victory despite giving up one run, three hits and two walks in 1 1/3 innings of relief. Tyson Brummett recorded the save for getting the final two outs on a double-play ball.
Chris Johnson hit a two-run homer, while Carlos Lee and Jason Michaels added a solo shot for Houston. Fernando Rodriguez took the loss for allowing a run on two hits in the ninth. Nelson Figueroa yielded five runs — four earned — on six hits in a four-inning start.
The first cuts of the spring training season came for the Astros after they went through a brutal stretch of five games in three days. Most of these players were prospects or players without much of a real chance of sticking. Zachary Levine provides the full list for us:
Those cut, with players on the 40-man roster officially being “optioned” and those not on the 40-man roster being “reassigned”:
LHP Douglas Arguello
RHP David Carpenter
RHP Cesar Carrillo
1B Koby Clemens
RHP Jorge De Leon
1B Brian Dopirak
C Rene Garcia
OF Jon Gaston
RHP Arcenio Leon
OF J.D. Martinez
SS Jiovanni Mier
2B Jimmy Paredes
INF Jose Carlos Thompson
With this group exiled, the Astros currently have 48 players in camp. 49 if you count Jason Castro, as the roster does. They will play the Phillies today in the Grapefruit League, and we’ll see if Ed Wade is able to deal anyone to them by the end of the game.
Final Score: Baltimore 6, Houston 4
Kissimmee, FL (Sports Network) - Zachary Britton threw four scoreless innings and Brandon Snyder went 3-for-5 with a homer and two runs batted in, leading the Baltimore Orioles to a 6-4 victory over the Houston Astros.
Britton allowed four hits, walked two and struck out two, while Snyder added a double and scored two runs in the victory. Robert Andino also had two hits, including a two-run single during a three-run second inning.
Houston starter J.A. Happ was tagged for three runs on five hits and two walks over four innings. J.D. Martinez highlighted Houston's four-run eighth inning with an RBI double and a run scored.
Astros pitching gave up another 14 hits, and their spring record dropped to 5-12. That puts them in last place in both the Grapefruit League, and amongst all National League teams. Houston will have split-squad contests tomorrow against the Detroit Tigers and Atlanta Braves.
Kissimmee, FL (Sports Network) – Dustin Pedroia doubled and drove in two runs as Boston downed Houston, 9-3, in Grapefruit League action.
Kyle Weiland picked up the win despite working just 1 1/3 innings, allowing four hits and three runs.
Viera, FL (Sports Network) – Brett Wallace went 3-for-4 with two RBI as Houston downed Washington, 7-6, in Grapefruit League action.
Starter Lance Pendleton worked two innings for the win, limiting Washington to one hit with two strikeouts.
Livan Hernandez was tagged in defeat for seven hits and three runs while fanning four over three frames.
Brian Dopirak’s RBI double in the ninth won the game for Houston, which got two hits, two runs scored and an RBI from Jason Michaels. Wandy Rodriguez was charged with a run on four hits over four innings of work.
The Astros will run a split-squad tomorrow, taking on the Washington Nationals at 5:05 and the Boston Red Sox at 12:05. Jason Michaels, who had been playing through back spams for the Astros, returned today and went 2-2 as a designated hitter. He hasn’t been cleared to play the field yet, but that may happen in the next day or so.
Final Score: NY Mets 7, Houston 2
Jordan Lyles was charged with five hits and two runs over three relief innings to take the loss.
Ryan Rowland-Smith is set to face off with Chris Young and the New York Mets. Rowland-Smith needs to start performing well if he wants to be considered for the 5th spot in the rotation, and he’ll get his shot this afternoon.
The starting lineup is as follows:
1. Bourn, CF
2. Sanchez, SS
3. Wallace, 1B
4. Lee, LF
5. Martinez, RF
6. Clemens, DH
7. Downs, 3B
8. Hernandez, 2B
9. Esposito, C
The Houston Astros announced they had signed former Mets catcher Robinson Cancel to a minor league deal. The announcement comes a week after starting catcher Jason Castro tore his ACL and meniscus running to first base in a game against the Detroit Tigers.
Cancel has appeared in 43 major league games across three seasons with the Brewers and Mets. The Puerto Rico native will turn 35 in May and is a career .213/.260/.287 hitter in the majors. In 4,170 minor league plate appearances, Cancel hit .263/.327/.376.
This move isn’t to add a major league catcher, but instead reinforces the position at Triple-A Oklahoma City in case of injuries. In fact, if anything, this suggests the Astros will rely on a player once thought to the ticketed for the minor leagues instead of acquiring someone from outside the organization.
Starting pitcher Bud Norris left Monday’s game against the Nationals with a mild hamstring strain. According to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com, the Astros will probably give him a few days of rest before they let him get back to the field. Given how finnicky hamstring injuries can be, they might be better off giving him even more time. From McTaggart:
“I overextended a little bit and I felt a little tweak in my right hammy,” Norris said. “I’ve never really had that before in my career. I’m not really worried about it. It’s just a slight one. [Trainer] Nate [Lucero] did some tests on me and it’s going to be fine. We’re just going to see how it goes the next couple of days and take care of it.”
It’s pretty lucky for the Astros that this happened so early in camp, as Norris will have a few weeks to fully recover before the season starts. Hamstrings do tend to flare up from time-to-time after the initial pull, and the Astros definitely don’t want to risk pushing the young right-hander before he’s ready. As long as Norris doesn’t overexert the hamstring again, he shouldn’t miss any time in the regular season.
Norris had worked two innings, giving up two hits, two runs, and striking out four before departing.
Viera, FL (Sports Network) – Rick Ankiel hit the tie-breaking two-run home run in a two-out, eight-run eighth inning rally to carry Washington past Houston, 14-9, in Grapefruit League play.
Brian Bixler’s three-run double tied the game at eight before Ankiel belted his long ball off Pat Urckfitz, the losing pitcher. Highly-touted prospect Bryce Harper doubled twice in the inning, including a two-run two-base hit.
Luis Maya yielded a run on five hits and a walk in 2 2/3 innings for the Nats and Colin Balester picked up the win in relief despite giving up a run in his lone inning of work.
J.A. Happ allowed three unearned runs on three hits and a pair of walks in a three-inning turn for Houston.
For more Astros news, check out The Crawfish Boxes.
According to Ben Gosseling of MASN, the Astros have asked their scouts to take a look at Nationals catcher Jesus Flores this week in preparation for a possible trade. Flores, 26, came over to the Nationals from the Mets in the Rule Five Draft. While he looked overmatched in his first two years in the bigs, he did hit .301 with four homers in 106 plate appearances last season before getting hurt. He isn’t arbitration eligible yet, but will be this offseason.
Catcher is a tricky position for the Nationals – they don’t know yet if Ramos is the real deal or if Flores is healthy, and the 39-year-old Rodriguez isn’t in the team’s long-term plans. But they also have Derek Norris, who might end up being the permanent solution at the position in the end, and if they got an offer for Flores they couldn’t pass up, they’d probably move him.
I doubt the Astros would be willing to offer a deal the Nationals couldn’t pass up for Flores, particularly considering the fact that Castro still is in their long-term plans, but should the Nationals decide to dump him, there are far worse catchers the Astros could be interested in. It would be a neat little trick to buy low on Flores, then give him a few months of at-bats and see if the Astros can turn him in for more than they paid for him.
The key, of course, is the buy low part. The Astros should be interested, but they shouldn’t be dealing the farm away to get anyone at this point. Expect more and more names like Flores’ to pop up as the Astros look to solve their catcher problem before the season starts.
EDIT: According to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com, the Astros are worried primarily about Flores' surgically repaired shoulder. Obviously the Astros value defense in their catchers, which is why Brad Ausmus was around for aeons, and if Flores can't really throw, it'd be a bad idea to trade for him. Here's McTaggart's whole quote:
However, Houston is concerned about Flores' right shoulder, which has kept him off the diamond for almost two years. Flores is healthy now, but has yet to be challenged in terms of trying to throw out runners this spring.
Sounds like nothing is imminent right now, but the Astros will probably decide towards the end of spring training once their scouts have checked him out a little further.
Final Score: NY Yankees 10, Houston 8
Kissimmee, FL (Sports Network) - The New York Yankees scored two times in the top of the ninth inning to down Houston, 10-8, in Grapefruit League action.
Alex Rodriguez hit a two-run homer, while Derek Jeter, Russell Martin, Robinson Cano and Andruw Jones each collected two hits in a 21-hit attack for the visitors.
Greg Golson also hit a home run for the Yankees, who saw starter Phil Hughes allow three runs on five hits in his three innings of work.
Carlos Lee and Jason Michaels each went deep as part of a 17-hit afternoon for the Astros.
Brett Myers was charged with two runs on five hits over three frames in a starting role for Houston before Wesley Wright took the loss in the ninth.
Final Score: St. Louis 1, Houston 0
Jupiter, FL (Sports Network) - Matt Holliday singled in the only run of the game in the third inning as St. Louis slowed down Houston, 1-0, in Grapefruit League action.
Albert Pujols went 2-for-4 and Colby Rasmus crossed the plate for the Cardinals, who used six pitchers to blank their NL Central rivals.
Kyle McClellan allowed two hits and fanned three in three scoreless innings to get the win as the St. Louis starter. Fernando Salas retired the side in order in the ninth to earn the save.
Jordan Lyles gave up the lone unearned run on three hits over three innings to absorb the hard-luck loss. Five other Houston pitchers blanked the Redbirds over the next five frames.
Chris Johnson had two of Houston's five hits.
Kissimmee, FL (Sports Network) – Allen Craig finished 2-for-4 and drove in two runs as St. Louis ripped Houston, 10-2, in Grapefruit League action.
Kyle Lohse yielded three hits and a run over his three-inning start for the win.
For more on the Astros, check out The Crawfish Boxes.
The news from the exploratory meniscus surgery did not come back good for the Astros. Catcher Jason Castro has torn his ACL and will miss six months, which would put him on course for a September return. If the Astros decide to let him return at that point, that is. Any kind of setback would mean the season is over, and likely, the Astros will not rush him back unless they’re in a playoff scenario.
Castro, one of the Astros top prospects heading into last year, hit just .205 in 217 major league plate appearances, but he did throw out 36.7% of basestealers last season. The Astros were counting on him to be their starting catcher this year, despite his poor offensive numbers last year and his poor offensive numbers for AAA Round Rock last season.
With Castro out, the Astros will likely turn to Humberto Quintero behind the plate. J.R. Towles is the only other option on the 40-Man Roster, though it’s possible that someone like Carlos Corporan will be added to the 40 now that Castro is officially down long-term. Alternately, the Astros could bring in someone like Bengie Molina if Drayton McLane has any cash left in the checkbook.
Kissimmee, FL (Sports Network) – Humberto Quintero went 2-for-2 with two RBI and a run scored as Houston edged Florida, 5-3, in Grapefruit League play.
An MRI revealed on Thursday that Astros catcher Jason Castro has a torn medial meniscus that will require surgery. The Astros catcher hurt himself by landing on first base awkwardly, with a little help from Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera, in a spring training game on Wednesday.
It’s unknown just how long the catcher will be out, as it depends on the severity of the meniscus tear and the doctors will only figure that out once they do the surgery. Small meniscus tears have kept players out for as little as two weeks in the past, a large one could see Castro sitting out a portion of the start of the season. He is flying back to Houston today to see the director of the Astros medical staff, Dr. David Lintner.
If Castro should be out for an extended period of time, the Astros will likely have to cobble together something at catcher out of J.R. Towles and Humberto Quintero. No offense to those two, but that something isn’t likely to benefit the team in the short-term.
Astros catcher Jason Castro landed awkwardly touching first base in a spring training game against the Detroit Tigers and was helped off the field. He had a run-in with Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera, and came out of it with an injury. According to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com, the Astros projected starting catcher has been diagnosed with a sprained knee, but the medical staff will be taking MRI’s tomorrow.
Castro mentioned that this was unlike anything he’d felt before, which is probably not what you want to hear when your starting catcher hurts himself. Astros GM Ed Wade had this to say:
“We know he twisted the knee, and at the very least it’s a sprain,” Wade said. “We’ll get it treated appropriately. It’s too early to push any panic buttons. We’ll wait and see what the MRI shows tomorrow and address it accordingly.”
The only other catchers on the Astros 40-man roster are Humberto Quintero and J.R. Towles. You won’t want to rush out to nab either of them in your fantasy league, not that you’d be rushing for Castro either. If it’s a severe injury, it will likely hurt the Astros more defensively than anywhere else, as Castro had shown a pretty prolific cannon in his first season at the big league level.
The Astros dropped their second straight game, but Houston’s pitching looked strong.
Brandon Lyon and Pat Urckfitz struggled a little bit; Lyon picked up the loss as he gave up a run and two hits in one inning of work. Urckfitz gave up two runs, three hits and a walk in his sole inning of work.
The Braves, lead by Tommy Hanson, pitched nine shutout innings while striking out five and walking one.
Lake Buena Vista, FL (Sports Network) – Eric Hinske and Brandon Hicks each had a two-run double as part of a six-run second inning, helping the Atlanta Braves earn a lopsided 13-3 win over the Houston Astros in Grapefruit League action.
Hunter Pence, Carlos Lee and Chris Johnson each had an RBI to account for the Astros offense. Wandy Rodriguez suffered the loss after getting roughed up for six runs on five hits with three walks in only 1 2/3 innings.
In news first broken by the Houston Chronicle's Zachary Levine, the Astros agreed to terms on a one year deal with right-handed reliever Alberto Arias. The contract will be worth a little under $440,000.
Arias, 27, was out for the entirety of the 2010 season after undergoing right shoulder surgery. In 2009, he had an ERA of 3.35 and a 2.05 K/BB ratio in 45 2/3rds innings for the Astros. The Astros will give Arias a look (along with many other pitchers) in their bullpen during spring training.
On Sunday, Arias said that his shoulder was not feeling well, as mentioned by The Examiner's Stephen Goff:
"In the Dominican I felt very good, and I went to Houston two weeks ago and threw bullpens and felt 100 percent," Arias told the Houston Chronicle on Sunday. "Now I don't feel very good."
The Astros have handled Arias very lightly thus far, giving him more days off than most pitchers get in camp. While there are probably scenarios where he breaks camp with the Astros, the shoulder problems and the sheer volume of relievers in camp probably point to Arias making a rehab assignment before he pitches for the big league club this season.
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