Saturday, March 10, 2012

Spring Training Schedule & Results

Saturday's Game:  Astros (4-3) at Blue Jays (5-2) at 12:05 CST
Broadcast:  KTRH 740 at 11:50 CST
Probable Starters: LHP Zach Duke (0-0, 3.00) & RHP Dustin McGowen (0-0, -.--)

Thursday's Results:  Blue Jays over Astros 11-2
Winning Pitcher:  Henderson Alvarez (1-0, 3.00)
Losing Pitcher:  J.A. Happ (1-1, 7.71)
Home Runs:  TOR - Adeiny Hechavarria (1), Travis D'Arnaud (1)

Minor League Player of the Game:  It's a tie as Brandon Barnes and George Springer each went 1 for 1 with their first hits of the spring (while 11 other players on the team collectively went 0 for 20).

Happy Birthday - 3/10

No future Astros, only former Astros with birthdays today ~

Signed as a free agent by Houston in 1995 after playing a total of 8 seasons for the White Sox, Pirates, Rangers and Mets, Cangelosi hit .318/.457/.393/.850 in 90 games for Houston.  He played one more season for Houston, hitting .263, before heading to the Marlins in 1997 where he hit .333 in World Series play.  He also pitched a total of 4 innings for three different teams (including Houston) and finished his pitching career with a 0.00 ERA and a 0.750 WHIP.

After coming to Houston from the White Sox in a trade in 1966, Heath hit .301/.353/.350/.703 over 55 games that season.  He only played in a handful of games for the Astros in 1967 before being picked up by Detroit.  Heath earned his MBA from the University of Houston in 1981 and became a very successful financial advisor.  He appeared at the 2012 Fan Fest and is pictured below in the center.

A native of Canada and a Yale graduate, MacKenzie pitched in 21 games for Houston at the end of his career, going 0-3 with a 3.89 ERA and a 1.405 WHIP.

Tweet of the Day

Bryce Lane@laneb15
Woke up at 5:15, worked out and hit already to start the day off. It's going to be a good one

Friday, March 9, 2012

Spring Training Schedule & Results

Friday's Game Time:  Blue Jays (4-2) at Astros (4-2) at 12:05 CST
Broadcast:  KBME 790 at 12:00 CST
Probable Starters: RHP Henderson Alvarez (0-0, 0.00) & LHP J.A. Happ (1-0, 4.50)

Thursday's Results:  Nationals over Astros 8-0
Winning Pitcher:  Edwin Jackson (1-0, 0.00)
Losing Pitcher:  Livan Hernandez (0-1, 4.15)
Home Runs:  WSN - Ryan Zimmerman (1)

Minor League Player of the Game:  Henry Villar for entering the game in the 7th inning with the bases loaded and no outs and only allowing one inherited runner to score on a force out (no hits, no walks)

Happy Birthday - 3/9

No future Astros, only former Astros with birthdays today ~

CF Jim Landis (78)
Obtained in a trade with the Indians in January 1967, Landis spent just that one season in an Astros uniform, hitting .252 in 50 games before being traded to Detroit.  A five time Gold Glove winner and one time All-Star, Landis' best season at the plate was 1961 when he hit .283/.362/.470/.832 for the White Sox.

LHP C.J. Nitkowski (39)
Obtained in a trade with Detroit in December of 1996, Nitkowski pitched only one season for the Astros in 1998 before being traded back to Detroit in January of 1999.  While with Houston, he was 3-3 with a 3.77 ERA and a 1.207 WHIP.

LHP Gary Wayne Franklin (38)
A Rule 5 pick from the Dodgers, Franklin played for the Astros for two seasons in 2000 and 2001 with a 5.94 ERA and a 1.860 WHIP before being traded to Milwaukee for Mark Loretta.

1B/3B Aaron Boone (39)
Boone appeared in only 10 games for Houston at the end of 2009 after recovery from open heart surgery in March of that year.  Boone retired in February 2010 and became a baseball analyst for ESPN.  He is probably best remembered for hitting a walk-off home run in the 11th inning of Game 7 of the ALCS in 2003, thus sending the Yankees to the World Series.

Tweet of the Day

brandon meredith@bmeezytrain
First day done.. No broken bats.. Passed the conditioning test.. ST2012 is underway

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Spring Training Schedule & Results

Thursday's Game Time:  Astros (4-1) vs. Nationals (2-2) at 12:05 CST
Broadcast:  KBME 790 at 12:00 CST
Probable Starters:  RHP Livan Hernandez (HOU) vs. RHP Edwin Jackson (WSN)

Wednesday's Results:  Astros over Phillies 10-3
Winning Pitcher:  Bud Norris (1-0, 0.0)
Losing Pitcher:  Vance Worley (0-1, 9.00)
Home Runs:  PHI - Hector Luna (1)

Minor League Player of the Game:  Jorge de Leon for pitching a perfect 7th with no hits and no walks

Happy Birthday - 3/8

No future Astros, only former Astros with birthdays today ~

RHP Jim "Bulldog" Bouton (73)
Obtained by Houston in a trade with the Seattle Pilots in August 1969, Bouton pitched part of that season and the 1970 season for Houston.  He was 4-8 with a 5.02 ERA and a 1.548 WHIP for Houston.  His best season was in 1964 for the Yankees when he started 37 games, going 18-13 with a 3.02 ERA and a 1.058 WHIP during the regular season and 2-0 with a 1.56 ERA and a 1.154 WHIP in the World Series.  Bouton was probably best known for his memoir "Ball Four," a warts and all insider look at baseball.

RHP Jim Daugherty (44)
Drafted by Houston in the 26th round in 1990, Daugherty pitched in 68 games for Houston in 1995 and 1996, going 8-6 with a 5.58 ERA and a 1.562 WHIP.

Tweet of the Day

Jimmy VanOstrand

Dear 6am- I know it's been awhile but please don't be awkward... We are going to b hanging out a lot this next month, let's make it work

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Broadcast Change

It looks as though there was a time change on MLB Network showing the Astros-Phillies game from today.  It now shows that it will air at 5:00 a.m. on Thursday.

Spring Training Schedule - Game 5

Wednesday's Game:  Astros (3-1) @ Phillies (2-2) at 12:05 CST
Broadcast:  KBME 790 at 12:00 CST & MLB.TV at 12:00 CST
                     MLB Network on delay at 1:00 a.m. CST on Thursday
Probable Starters:  Bud Norris (HOU) vs. Vance Worley (PHI)

Tuesday's Results:  Houston over New York Mets 4-1
Winning Pitcher:  Wandy Rodriguez, HOU (1-0, 0.00)
Losing Pitcher:  Chris Schwinden, NYM (0-1, 4.50)
Save:  Wilton Lopez, HOU (2, 0.00)
Home Runs:  B. Snyder, HOU (1); C. Snyder, HOU (2)

Minor League Player of the Game:  Chris Wallace, who got a hit in his first (and so far only) at-bat of the spring

Happy Birthday - 3/7

No future Astros, only former Astros with birthdays today ~

RHP J.R. Richard (62)
Richard was the Astros 1st round pick (2nd overall) in 1969 and pitched for Houston from 1971 to 1980.  When Richard hit his stride, he dominated - leading the National League in ERA in 1979 and leading in strikeouts in 1978 and 1979 with 303 and 313, respectively.  He was 3rd in Cy Young voting in 1979 behind Bruce Sutter and Joe Niekro.  He was at the peak of his abilities in his 1980 All-Star season with a 10-4 record and a 1.90 ERA and 0.924 WHIP over 17 starts when he was felled by a stroke on July 30th of that year. He was never able to recover his prior success.  For more on the fascinating story of J.R. Richard, see his Wikipedia page.

RHP Jose Cano (50)
Cano pitched in 6 games for Houston in 1989, going 1-1 with a 5.09 ERA and a 1.348 WHIP.  Cano is father of Robinson Cano.  The elder Cano pitched to Robinson in the 2011 Home Run Derby and helped him to win the crown.

IF Jeff Kent (44)
Having signed as a free agent by Houston in December of 2002, Kent played 2B for Houston in 2003 and 2004, hitting .293/.350/.521/.870.  Kent was a five-time All-Star and the National League MVP in 2000 while playing for the Giants.  He is most remembered by Astros fans for this.

Tweet of the Day

Josh Zeid@Josh_Zeid14
Good morning world! How are you guys celebrating your march 6?? I get to wake up and throw a baseball for a living

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Spring Training Schedule - Game 4

Tuesday's Game Time:  Astros (2-1) vs. Mets (0-1) at 12:05 CST
Broadcast:  KBME 790 at 12:00 CST
Probable Starters:  Wandy Rodriguez (HOU) vs. Chris Schwinden (NYM)

Monday's Results:  Atlanta over Houston 10-5
Winning Pitcher:  Todd Redmond (ATL)
Losing Pitcher:  Rhiner Cruz (HOU)
Home Runs:  ATL - Uggla (1)

Minor League Player of the Game:  Jonathan Villar had two walks, which is huge for someone who had 54 walks to 156 strikeouts last season.  Now, if he can just get some hits to go with the walks ...

Jordan's Journey Continues

[Note from What the Heck:  Jordan Comadena, a catcher in the Astros minor league organization, is going to guest blog for us throughout the season about life in the minor leagues.  If you missed it, his last entry is here.]

It’s been too long since my last post.  Today was my first official day of minor league pitchers and catcher’s spring training.  Let me fill you in on how I got here. 
The last time I wrote, I was finalizing all my equipment and making my plans to get to Florida.  My wonderful agent, John Shinn, got me all taken care of in terms of equipment.  I am always very grateful and appreciative of the work he does for me.  With my bags all packed up, I got on the road to Florida on February 21st.   With the drive being close to 19 hours I break it up into two days of driving.  On day one I go about 11 hours to Stockbridge, Georgia.  It is a nice exit right off the interstate where I get a hotel and get some sleep.  An early start on the 22nd got me to my destination in Florida around one in the afternoon.  This year I drove to Port Saint Lucie first and stayed with teammate Robert Donovan for a few days.  He threw a bullpen to me and we were able to workout together each day.
Last Saturday I came to Kissimmee and got settled in to the complex.  I got my locker set up and got my first workout in.  Since I was in town early I had to find my own place to stay, so my former teammates Brandon Barnes and Kyle Greenwalt were kind enough to let me stay with them and their families for the week.  Brandon is currently in big league camp.
My week of early workouts went great.  I was able to get in and take a lot of batting practice, do a lot of catching drills and get my work done in the weight room.  I was also able to catch a number of different pitchers that had reported early to camp.  It’s very beneficial for the pitchers as well as for me to get them going off the mound.
Today was the first day of minor league spring training.  All the pitchers and catchers are in camp.  I am all settled in to my hotel room with my roommate Kirk Clark.  The first day included physicals, testing, meetings and a long workout.  Half of the 80 pitchers in camp threw pens, I took BP, hit in the cages, and ran my conditioning test.  Needless to say, I will sleep very well tonight.  The next three days will be much of the same.  I will catch a lot of bullpens and take a lot of batting practice.  It is important to listen to your body, get your rest and stay hydrated.  The first week of camp always takes a toll on your body regardless of how much you workout in the offseason.  It’s great to be back in the swing of things and I now look forward to the rest of the position players getting here.  

Jordan Comadena
March 3rd

Happy Birthday - 3/6

RF Adam Bailey (24)
Drafted out of the University of Nebraska in the 23rd round in 2010, Bailey moved quickly through the system in 2011.  In 79 games in Lexington, he hit .282 before moving on to Lancaster, where he hit .289 in 30 games, and then ended the season by hitting .323 in 23 games in Corpus Christi.  He was second only to Kody Hinze in home runs (24) and RBI's (95) in the Astros minor league system, while also hitting 24 doubles.  I'd like to see him walk a little more and strike out a little less, but all-in-all, his 2011 season was a success by any measure.  I'd hoped to have an interview with Adam ready for today, but he left for Florida sooner than I expected.  I should have something in the next few days.

One former Astro with a birthday today ~

SS Clint Barmes (33)
Originally drafted by the Colorado Rockies in 2000, Barmes was obtained in a trade with Colorado in November of 2010 for RHP Felipe Paulino.  In one season with the Astros in 2011, he had a batting line of .244/.312/.386/.698 over 123 games.  Barmes signed with Pittsburgh as a free agent in November of 2011.

Tweet of the Day

Evan Grills@EvanGrills
Threw my first bullpen today feels great to be outside!
I bet it did feel great to be outside.  At the time that Evan tweeted this, reported this as the current temperature in his hometown of Whitby, Ontario:

Feels Like: 12°

Monday, March 5, 2012

Spring Training Schedule - Game 3

Monday's Game Time:  Astros (2-0) vs. Atlanta (0-2) at 12:05 CST
Broadcast:  KBME 790 at 12:00 CST
Probable Starters:  RHP Jordan Lyles (HOU) vs. RHP Jair Jurrjens (ATL)

Sunday's Results:  Astros over Washington 10-2
Winning Pitcher:  J.A. Happ
Losing Pitcher:  Stephen Strasburg
Home Runs:  HOU - Chris Snyder (1), J.D. Martinez (1), Fernando Martinez (1)

Minor League Player of the Game:  Jacob Goebbert for a terrific diving catch in the bottom of the 9th to rob Rendon of a hit (and because the bone-headed announcers misidentified Goebbert even though the cameraman clearly showed the name on his back at least three times after he made the play)

WTH 25-Man Roster - Final Outfielder

As posted over the weekend, RHP Jack Armstrong became the 23rd player and final relief pitcher to be named to the WTH Roster.  Runners-up were Jason Chowning, Jorge de Leon, Mitchell Lambson, Pat Urkfitz, Jason Stoffel, Ebert Rosario, Xavier Cedeno and Josh Zeid.  For more on the WTH 25-Man Roster, go here.

Next, let's pick our final outfielder.  This list is comprised of all those receiving votes in the last round of voting as runners-up to winner Domingo Santana.  My choice for this position would be Austin Wates, hands down.  Not only did he have a great, consistent season, but he also played at all three outfield positions.  A case could also be made for Emilio King who is rumored to have an outstanding arm (although he has to cut down on the strikeouts) and Jake Goebbert, a left-handed bat with numbers that are very similar to Austin Wates, who has played both left field and right field.  And, of course, we shouldn't forget about the up and coming  Teoscar Hernandez, a possible five-tool prospect!

With all that said, here are the 2011 stats for the players.  Look them over and vote.

Happy Birthday - 3/5

LHP Steven Dennison (23)
Dennison was drafted by the Marlins in 2010 and failed to sign so the Astros picked him up as a NDFA in 2011.  The big (6'7" 225 lbs.) lefty made 14 appearances for the GCL Astros in 2011 with an 0-1 record, a 3.93 ERA and a 1.582 WHIP.  He struggled in June, but in July and August he improved to a 2.30 ERA and a 1.404 WHIP.  Dennison is the son of Texans offensive coordinator and former Broncos linebacker Rick Dennison.

1B/3B Mike Hessman (34)
Originally drafted by Atlanta in the 15th round in 1996, Hessman signed a minor league contract as a free agent with the Astros February 2, 2012.  He has played parts of 5 seasons in the major leagues, most recently with the Mets in 2010.  He played in Japan in 2011.

One former Astro with a birthday today ~

CF Brian Hunter (41)
A second draft round pick for the Astros, Brian started his major league career in Houston (1994-1996) and ended it in Houston (2002-2003), but played for five other teams in between.  He had a .278/.314/.377/.691 batting line in 370 games for Houston.  His best season at the plate was 1995 when he hit .302 in 78 games.  Per Baseball-Reference, he was part of this trade to Detroit in December of 1996:
December 10, 1996: Traded by the Houston Astros with Doug BrocailTodd JonesOrlando Miller and cash to the Detroit Tigersfor Brad AusmusJose LimaTrever MillerC.J. Nitkowski and Daryle Ward.
He led the American League in stolen bases in 1997 and 1999.

Tweets of the Day

Kevin Gonzalez
First day in the books. Conditioning test almost killed me lol

Joe Witkowski
First day of camp in the books, good day on the field with the guys. Nice to see some familar faces and meet a lot of new people as well.

Great first day at the office. Good seeing all the guys again! #

Got a sun burn today 

Day 1 done. Felt good to be in the sun and have the uni on again

Adrian Houser
Good first day.. First pen tomorrow. 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Spring Training Schedule - Game 2

Sunday's Game Time:  Astros @ Nationals at 12:05 CST
Broadcast:  KTRH 740 at 11:50 CST & MLB.TV at 12:00 CST
                     MLB Network on delay at 3:00 CST
Probable Starters:  J.A. Happ (HOU) vs. Stephen Strasburg (WSN)
Record: Astros Spring Training Record 1-0

Saturday's Results:  Houston over Washington 3-1
Winning Pitcher:  Kyle Weiland, HOU (1-0, 0.00)
Losing Pitcher:  Ross Detwiler, WSN (0-1, 9.00)
Save:  Wilton Lopez, HOU (1, 0.00)
Home Runs:  Chris Johnson, HOU (1)

WTH 25-Man Roster

The 23rd player and Final Relief Pitcher selected for the What the Heck 25-Man Roster was RHP Jack Armstrong.  Also receiving votes were Jason Chowning, Jorge de Leon, Mitchell Lambson, Pat Urkfitz, Jason Stoffel, Ebert Rosario, Xavier Cedeno and Josh Zeid.  (For more information on the WTH 25-Man Roster, go here.)

Coming Monday - Let's pick our final Outfielder.

Happy Birthday - 3/4

RHP Richard Rodriguez (22)
Signed as a non-drafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic, Rodriguez pitched effectively in 5 starts in 2010 with the DSL, going 2-1 with a 2.00 ERA and a 1.056 WHIP.  However, he sat out most of 2011 and only pitched 3.2 inning in 4 appearances in August with the GCL Astros with poor results.  I'm assuming that he was rehabbing from an injury and hope to see him back to his 2010 form.

One former Astro with a birthday today ~

2B Andy Mota (46)
Drafted by Houston in the 12th round in 1987, Andy didn't have quite the success that his father Manny had in the major leagues.  Andy appeared in 27 games for Houston in 1991.

Tweet of the Day

Bobby Doran
Today marks the season opener for: naps, golf, and shaving.