Saturday, August 25, 2012

Happy Birthday - 8/25

No future Astros with birthdays today, but one former Astro is celebrating ~

RHP Horace Guy "Dooley" Womack (73)
Where did all the colorful names go?  After coming to Houston in a trade with the Yankees in December 1968, Dooley played in 30 games for the Astros in 1969 with a 2-1 record, a 3.51 ERA and a 1.344 WHIP. His career in the majors from 1966 to 1970 was a long time coming. According to his wikipedia page, he spent 10 years in the minors in which "he appeared in 349 minor league games, going 65-55 with a 3.13 ERA in 1041 1/3 innings."

Tweet of the Day

Corpus Christi Hooks

Fireworks cap off a great night of baseball at Whataburger Field! could clinch a playoff spot tomorrow!
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Roster Moves

Oklahoma City
I missed one. The Astros signed RHP Edgar Gonzalez who played most recently for Monterrey in the Mexican League. He got the start for the Redhawks on Friday.

Corpus Christi
RF Adam Bailey was placed on the 7-day DL.
RHP Josh Zeid was activated from the DL.

RHP Erick Gonzalez was assigned from the GCL to Greeneville.

CF Jordan Schafer was assigned to the GCL for rehab.

Minor League Recaps

Friday's Recaps

DSL Mariners DSL Astros

GCL Astros 1 GCL Nationals 2 (8)
GCL was 3-hit shutout in their first game of the day, Friday. Not all was lost however, because they still managed to score a run on a trio of hits with Juan Santana's RBI single to score Ydarqi Marte in the 6th inning. Erick Gonzalez picked up his third blown save in the 7th frame after giving up a run on a couple hits. Rodney Quintero (0-3) took the loss, pitching just 2 outs in the 8th. Quintero walked a batter, struck 1 out, allowed 1 hit and the game-winning run during that time.

GCL Astros 3 GCL Nationals 6
GCL scored 3 in the 5th inning in this one, but starting pitcher Enderson Franco (3-2) allowed 6 runs (5ER) on 11 hits through 7 and it wasn't enough.  Franco also walked a pair and struck out 6. Teoscar Hernandez had a multi-hit night, batting 2 for 4 with a double, solo homer and run scored.

Greeneville Astros 1 Danville Braves 7
Greeneville got on the board with a run in the first on Friday, but that was the only score.  The Astros had 4 hits all night and Terrell Joyce had 3 of them, going 3 for 3 at the plate.  Greenville fell behind after a 5 run 3rd inning in which starting pitcher Kevin Comer (3-4) allowed all those runs on 6 hits with a walk and 3 Ks. Comer took the loss.  Carlos Correa had the other hit of the game, going 1 for 3 with a walk.

Vermont Lake Monsters 4 Tri-City ValleyCats 7
Two words: Jarrod McKinney.  McKinney batted 2 for 3 Friday and both of his hits were homers.  The first was a 2-run shot in the second inning and the next was a solo knock in the fourth.  Preston Tucker (2X4, RBI) and Jesse Wierzbicki (2X3, 2B) both scored runs as well.  Aaron West got the start and went 4 innings on the mound allowing 2 runs on 7 hits, walking 1 and striking out 3.  Jamaine Cotton (2-1) came on for the next 3 frames and picked up the win, allowing 1 run on 4 hits with 4 Ks.

Charleston RiverDogs 3 Lexington Legends 2
Lexington scored a couple runs in the fifth inning but that wasn’t enough to offset the 3 runs Jonas Dufek (6-4) allowed through the first 6 innings on Friday at home.  Dufek collected the runs on just 5 hits and a walk while striking out 8 batters and logging the loss.  Chan Moon went 2 for 4 at the plate and now has a .270 average in 173 Abs for Lexington. The Legends didn’t record an extra base hit in the game.

Lake Elsinore Storm 4 Lancaster JetHawks 9
This game was scoreless until the fourth inning when Erik Castro hit a 2-out, solo HR.  Castro ended up hitting 2 for 4 with a run scored and 2 RBI, bringing his season total to 100.  Grant Hogue hit 1 for 2 with a double, RBI, walk and 2 stolen bases.  Delino DeShields didn’t have a hit in the game but drew a walk, scored 2 runs and stole 3 bases of his own, bringing his record setting total to 96 for the season.   On the mound Blair Walters (2-2) had a nice outing, earning the “W” after pitching 7 innings and allowing just 2 runs on 6 hits, 1 walk and K-ing 5.

Midland RockHounds 4 Corpus Christi Hooks 2
This game was the completion of the game from the previous night, which saw a power outage at the park and dancing by Kiké Hernandez and Andy Simunic.  Rob Rasmussen had a shutout going through 5 innings Thursday when the game was called.  Jake Buchanan (5-7) picked up the last 4 innings on Friday and allowed 4 runs on 6 hits, walked 2 and K-ed 3 while recording the loss and his first blown save.  George Springer finished 3 for 4 at the plate with a run scored and Jonathan Singleton hit 2 for 4 with a RBI.

Midland RockHounds 6 Corpus Christi Hooks 7
This game saw Corpus Christi scrapping back the entire time to even the score and finally score the winning run on Jonathan Singleton’s solo, walk off homerun to lead off the ninth inning.  According to Greg Rajan of the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Singleton’s said it was his first walk off homer ever.  Singleton ended up 2 for 5 in the game with 2 runs scored.  Jake Goebbert was on at the plate too, hitting 2 for 3 with a double, 2 runs scored and a walk.  Ben Orloff got in on the action too, batting 3 for 4 with a run scored and a RBI. Jason Stoffel (2-1) collected the win after going the last frame on the mound.  In his time, Stoffel gave up a hit and struck out 2.

Oklahoma City RedHawks 3 Iowa Cubs 5
The RedHawks got on the board first Friday but were playing catch up the rest of game and ended up a few runs short.  Starting pitcher Edgar Gonzalez got Oklahoma City started strong, only being charged with a pair of runs (1ER) while walking 2 and striking out the same.  Brian Sanches came on to pitch 2 outs in the seventh inning and in his time allowed 2 runs on 3 hits.  Sanches picked up his second blown save and moved his record to 1-3 with the loss.  Jimmy Paredes was on fire offensively Friday, hitting 3 for 4 with a 2-bagger, run scored and a RBI.  Paredes also stole his 36th base of the year in the game.  Matt Downs batted 2 for 3 with a run scored and a walk.

Player of the Day:  Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a 3-way tie.  ‘Lino DeShields stole 3 bases Friday and earned a share of the title with Mr. Jon Singleton who hit not only the game winner in walk off fashion, but also the first walk off of his career.  Equal amongst these guys is Jarrod McKinney who hit 2 for 3 on Friday, both hits being taters for a total of 3 runs.

Pitcher of the Day:  Jamaine Cotton, come on down.  Cotton earned his second “W” of the season Friday after logging 3 innings of work and allowing just a single run on 4 hits in that time.  Cotton also struck out 4 and made every female in the front row swoon.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Minor League Recaps

Thursday's Games

DSL Athletics at DSL Astros - cancelled
I'm broken hearted that I won't have a DSL game to recap today.

GCL Marlins over GCL Astros 7-3
Agapito Barrios went to 1-5 for the season as he allowed five runs (four earned) on five hits over four innings of work. Ambiorix de Leon pitched two scoreless, followed by three innings from Alan Abreu in which he gave up two runs (one earned) on four hits. The Astros scored three in the bottom of the first for a promising start, but only managed to get four base runners the rest of the game. Edwin Gomez has been on a roll as of late, going two-for-four with a double and an RBI yesterday and hitting .389 over his last 10 games.  Luis de la Rosa and Yonathan Mejia both hit RBI doubles; and Teoscar Hernandez was two-for-three with a walk and scored a run.

Greeneville over Danville 7-3
With this win, the Greeneville crew has now worked their way closer to a possible playoff berth and is now only a half a game back with only five games left to play. They will need a little help from Johnson City, though, as there are no head-to-head matches left between the two teams. Daniel Minor got his third straight win in as many starts as he allowed three runs (only one earned) on four hits in seven innings. His ERA for August is 0.35. Michael Dimock allowed only one hit in his two innings. Greeneville matched runs with Danville until the Astros opened things up in the fifth and sixth with five runs. Brian Blasik, newly named Appy League All-Star, was two-for-five with two RBI and scored a run; Terrell Joyce drove in two; and Marc Wik was two-for-four with an RBI double and scored twice. Jean Batista, now with the ValleyCats, was also named an Appy League All-Star.

Tri-City over Brooklyn 2-1 in 11 innings
Brian Holmes got the start, giving up two runs on six hits and four walks over five innings of work. He was followed by three scoreless frames from Euris Quezada and two and a third innings from Travis Ballew (one run on two hits). Scott Zuloaga and John Neely (S, 3) faced one batter each to close things out. Ballew was credited with his fifth win in relief. Jesse Wierzbicki was a one man wrecking crew as he hit for the cycle, including a two-run bomb in the 11th that gave the ValleyCats the win, drove in three and scored twice. Wierzbicki is hitting .378/.439/.541 over the last 10 games.Preston Tucker was two-for-five and scored twice. He is hitting .347 in the 30 games he's played in so far this season.

Charleston over Lexington 10-9 in 11 innings
This one was a heartbreaker in more than one way. Down 8-3 going into the bottom of the eighth, the Legends took a 9-8 lead as they put up a six spot in the frame, but ultimately couldn't hold on as Murilo Gouvea was charged with the blown save and Gabriel Garcia was pegged with the loss. Lexington is now on an eight game skid. Starting pitcher Luis Ordosgoitti was less than sharp, allowing four runs on seven hits in only three innings and was followed by Evan Grills (three runs on three hits in three and a third) and Thomas Shirley (one run on two hits in one and two thirds). There was some good offense from the Legends in this one, but it wasn't enough to counter the sketchy pitching. Jordan Scott (2x5 RBI R), Zach Johnson (2x5 2B RBI), Brandon Meredith (2x5 BB R SB), Nolan Fontana (2x4 2B 3RBI 2BB 2R), Jobduan Morales (3x6 R) and Justin Gominsky (2x4 2RBI) all contributed to the cause. Zach Johnson now has 37 doubles and 107 RBI for the season.

Midland at Corpus Christi - suspended in the middle of the 5th
Corpus Christi was up 2-0 when the lights went out ... literally. The game will resume at 5:00 p.m. CST today and will be followed by the regularly scheduled game.

Lancaster over Rancho Cucamonga 10-0
David Martinez earned his eighth win in a combined shutout, as he allowed eight hits and two walks with six strikeouts. Chia-Jen Lo and Brad Dydalewicz kept the shutout alive through the final two innings. Grant Hogue was en fuego -- three-for-three with an RBI and two runs scored, including a steal of home.

Andrew Robinson

One of the more impressive things I've seen on a baseball field was stealing home tonight. 

There was a lot of thievery going on as Drew Muren and Delino DeShields each swiped a bag as well. DeShields is now at 93 for the season. And not to be outdone, Carlos Perez (2x3 2-2B RBI BB 3R) displayed some decent wheels as well.

Jason Schwartz

Catcher Carlos Perez just tagged and scored from 2nd base on a fly ball to right field.  

Oklahoma City over Iowa 2-1
Jose Cisnero had a solid start, giving up one run on three hits over six innings to earn his third win with the Redhawks. Brian Bass and Jose Valdez (S, 18) combined for three innings of scoreless relief. Cisnero also contributed offensively as he hit a two-run double for his first professional hit EVER. The Redhawks only managed three other hits in the game, all singles.

Player of the Day: If you hit for the cycle and get the game-winning run in with a two-run homer in extra innings, you too can be my Player of the Day. Jesse Wierzbicki, you're the man!

Pitcher of the Day: Seven innings of shutout ball? David Martinez it is!

Star of the Day: I'm creating a special category just for today for Jose Cisnero. He only allowed one run on three hits in his start and then drove in both of the team's runs with his first professional hit. That deserves a special acknowledgment.

Happy Birthday - 8/24

2B Enrique Hernandez (21)
Drafted in the 6th Round in 2009 out of the American Military Academy in Puerto Rico, Hernandez spent most of the season with Hi-A Lancaster before a recent call-up to Corpus Christi. At Lancaster, he hit .275/.318/.418 in 100 games. In 12 games for Corpus Christi, he is hitting .250/.298/.341 and .306/.359/.417 over his last 10. This recent interview with Kiké will tell you a little more about him.

Former Astros with birthdays today ~

LHP Hal Woodeshick (died June 14, 2009 at 76)
Woodeshick came to Houston from Detroit in October 1961 and played for the Colt .45's and Astros until he was traded to the Cardinals in June of 1965. In 174 games, he was 21-38 with a 3.16 ERA and a 1.324 WHIP. He was an All-Star for Houston in 1963 when he was 11-9 in 55 appearances with a 1.97 ERA and a 1.026 WHIP. He led the National League in saves in 1964.

RHP Dean Wilkins (46)
Originally drafted by the Yankees in the second round in 1986, Wilkins was picked up by Houston from the Cubs in the Rule 5 draft in December 1990. He pitched in seven games (eight total innings) for the Astros in 1991 with a 2-1 record, a 11.25 ERA and a 3.250 WHIP.

RHP Mike Grzanich (40)
A ninth round pick by the Astros in 1992, Grzanich's entire MLB career consisted of one inning pitched for the Astros in 1998. He retired from baseball with a major league ERA of 18.00 and WHIP of 3.000. It's not often you get a blow-by-blow description of one professional inning pitched, but this is the exception.

RHP Kip Gross (48)
Originally drafted by the Mets in the fourth round in 1986, Gross signed with Houston as a free agent prior to the 2000 season. He pitched four and a third innings in two games with an 0-1 record, a 10.38 ERA and a 2.538 WHIP.

Tweets of the Day

Greg Rajan

Oh my. Enrique Hernandez and Andy Simunic are dancing on the field to some disco tune. Quite a disturbing sight. 

Mark Magowan

So this is happening in Corpus Christi  ....

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

An Interview with RHP Adrian Houser

Poor Adrian Houser. First, I'm pretty sure I embarrassed the heck out of him when I met him last weekend. Then I quizzed him within an inch of his life about his pitch repertoire, mechanics, movement, command, development, etc. Unfortunately, that's what he gets for agreeing to a second interview with me. I had done this email interview with him during the off-season so I wanted to cover some new ground.

I was fortunate enough to catch Houser's last start - five innings, five hits, no runs, no walks and three strikeouts. He was aggressive and relied on his defense behind him to get quick outs. The game lasted one hour and 53 minutes. As he told me the next day, "I like to attack the hitters. People have got to prove to me that they can hit me."

On to the interview (edited for brevity and clarity) ~

What has he been working on?: "I guess coming out of Spring Training into extended, we were working more on repeating my motion. Through extended, I did a lot better. Then when we got here, the first couple games were a little shaky. Then Hector Mercado [worked with me on some things] and the next two games after that went real well. I've just been doing the same thing ever since, just trying to do the same thing they keep telling me. I talked to our pitching coordinator and he said I've come a long way since Spring Training [on repeating mechanics] so I'm happy with that, but I've just got to keep working, get it better every day."

What was his first Spring Training and Extended experience like?: "Spring Training was different. I really liked it. It was a lot of fun. Just working every day, making sure we're ready to go for the season. Extended? Extended was long. It was definitely a grind. It was starting to get hot there towards the end so I was really happy to leave, but I think going to extended will hopefully work out for the best. Got to get a lot more practice in, got to do more stuff with the coaches instead of just jumping into the season and trying to fix [things] during the season."

On his pitch selection: "I've got a fastball, sinker, curveball and changeup. I used to have a slider but when we went to working on motion, they just wanted me to have [either] a slider or a curve [not both] so I could work on using less pitches [and] repeat my motion. My curve and changeup have come a long way since high school, especially my changeup. They're both pretty good and they've both [come] a long way. Hopefully [I can] get the mechanics thing down and bring back the slider in Spring Training next year."

On his velocity: "I know in Spring Training I hit 95. Usually I'm sitting 90-92 and hitting 94 maybe. In high school I hit 97. I was sitting 91-94 and hitting 95, 96 [pretty regularly]. Hopefully it will come back to me when I get used to pro throwing, throwing every day. Like in high school, [I] didn't throw a bullpen, just threw games and played a position. Here it's throwing every day and a bullpen between each start. Just get my body used to it a little better and hopefully it will come back."

What kind of movement does he have on his pitches?: "My fastball's got pretty good movement. It's got a little bit of run on it. I worked [on my sinker] with George Frazier in the off-season. He showed me a little bit different spot to put it in to get a little more sink on it, so it's got some nice sink on it now. My changeup's got some pretty good sink on it too. It's got late action on it. My curveball's 12-6. It's pretty good when I'm on."

On his command: "I'm doing a lot better in the last year. Comparing last year to this year, I'd definitely say this year I'm doing a whole lot better staying around the zone. Every now and then, you're going to miss a spot, but I think this year after the first few games, I've really got it down. I'm hitting my spots pretty well, doing a pretty good job of that."

Which Astros pitcher has a pitch he'd like to steal?: "Tropeano's got a nasty change up. That'd be something good to have."

Which Astros hitter would he least like to face in the batter's box?: "Here, I'd probably have to say Brian Blasik. He's a freak. He's just so good. You hardly ever see him go a game without getting a hit."

On the Greeneville team: "There's quite a bit of talent here, especially with the trades and the new draft guys this year. They're really good and I like it a lot. They help me out in the field and put up some runs so it's great to have them on the team, as a pitcher."

What is the key to getting to the next level of his development? : "Just keep doing what I'm doing and get better every day. Just listen to my coaches. They're helping me, trying to get me to the big leagues. Just got to keep listening to them. Work hard every day just to be better than the day before. That's all you can do."

I'm going to try not to embarrass Adrian any more than I did the other day, but if he's not one of the nicest young men that I've met throughout my minor league journeys, he has me completely snowed. But make no mistake, he may be a nice guy but he is also a competitor. He just saves his fire for the mound.

Minor League Recaps

Wednesday's Games

DSL Athletics over DSL Astros 5-4
OK, let me be brutally honest. I have hit a wall covering the DSL crew. There are only three games left in their season. So I'm phoning it in. Five guys pitched and everybody was charged with at least one run except for the guy that let an inherited runner score. They are all so far away from ever making it to the majors, you don't really care and neither do I as I write this at 5:30 in the morning. Jean Carlos Cortorreal went three-for-five, but he's only .201 for the season so I don't really care about that at this particular point in my life either. (Zachary Levine deserves a medal for writing about the Astros every day, but at least he gets paid to do it.)

GCL Marlins over GCL Astros 4-2 (Game 1)
This was the completion of a suspended game from earlier. Kyle Hallock had started the game allowing two runs. Jandel Gustave picked up where he left off pitching a total of three and a third innings and allowing two runs on two hits and five walks. He was followed by Ricardo Batista who pitched a scoreless two and two thirds innings. The Astros came within two on a two-run Luis de la Rosa home run in the seventh. De la Rosa  and Yoel Silfa each went two-for-three.

GCL Astros over GCL Marlins 7-5 in 7 innings (Game 2)
Jose Montero pitched the first three and two-thirds allowing only one run on five hits. Gera Sanchez was charged with two runs (one earned) but also was awarded the win as the Astros put up a four-spot in the seventh. Erick Gonzalez made things interesting as he allowed another two runs in the final inning but the Astros ultimately held on. Edwin Gomez had a big day with four RBI, including a bases clearing double. The Astros had two errors but that pales in comparison to the Marlins five errors so I'll let it slide.

Greeneville over Elizabethton 4-3
Michael Feliz got the start and gave up three runs on seven hits over four and two-thirds innings. Tanner Bushue pitched two and a third and earned the win in relief. (Bushue looked good when I saw him last weekend and has only allowed one earned run in his last 6 appearances for a 0.69 August ERA. I would love for him to turn a corner as he's still only 21.) Richard Rodriguez and Mike Hauschild (S, 3) were perfect in their outings. Luis Alvarez contributed half of the offense with two solo home runs. Brian Blasik drove in the other two runs with sac flies.

Brooklyn over Tri-City 4-1
Starter Lance Day allowed three runs on four hits over five innings and was followed by Juan Minaya who allowed one run on three hits over three innings. The ValleyCats offense couldn't scratch across a run beyond the second inning. Tyler Heineman was two-for-four with two doubles and scored the sole Tri-City run on a M.P. Cokinos RBI single. Dan Gulbransen and Cokinos were also two-for-four on the night. The good news is that the ValleyCats have clinched their division and a playoff berth.

Greensboro over Lexington 6-1
Lexington has now lost seven in a row. Don't make me break out Cher again. Luis Cruz was the latest victim as he gave up five runs on nine hits for the loss. Nate Pettus added on the final run before giving way to two scoreless innings from Mitch Lambson. Lexington didn't get a run across until the eighth and then only did so courtesy of a wild pitch. Jordan Kreke was two-for-four. Zach Johnson had the only extra base hit, a double.

Corpus Christi over Midland 4-2
Ross Seaton got the win in a very effective seven inning start. He gave up a two-run homer and not much else as he only allowed five hits and a walk with six strikeouts. Seaton was followed by what has become a lethal one-two combo of Kevin Chapman and Jason Stoffel (S, 25) to close things out. Every starter had one hit except for Jonathan Singleton who had one walk for the evening. Kike Hernandez' one hit was a solo home run. Jay Fernandez' one hit was a two-run single to put the Hooks in the lead in the sixth.

Rancho Cucamonga over Lancaster 8-7
Colton Cain was less than effective as he allowed six runs on six hits over only four innings of work. Carlos Quevedo and Pat Urckfitz held down the fort, but Andrew Robinson faltered as he allowed two unearned runs in the ninth and was charged with a blown save and the loss. Andrew Aplin was three-for-five with a two-run home run; Drew Muren was two-for-four with a two-run inside the park home run and a sac fly RBI; and Jonathan Meyer was three-for-four with a double, walk and scored two runs. Delino DeShields stole two more bases and is now at 92 for the season.

Oklahoma City over Iowa 6-3
Jarred Cosart had a terrific start as he pitched five scoreless innings with two hits, a walk and three strikeouts. Mark Hamburger was charged with a blown save as he gave up three runs in his one and a third innings, but Brian Sanches got the win in relief and Jose Valdez got his 17th save as the Redhawks came back late for the win. Brad Snyder was two-for-four with a two-run home run; Matt Dominguez was two-for-three with a double and a RBI; and Jimmy Paredes contributed an RBI triple to the mix.

Player of the Day: I have not given Drew Muren nearly enough love this season. He has excelled at three different levels and is currently hitting .324/.386/.419 for Lancaster in 19 games. An inside the park home run and three RBI makes Drew an easy choice. Honorable mention goes to Edwin Gomez for his four RBI day.

Pitcher of the Day: Ross Seaton gets the nod for his fine outing, plus for whittling the Hooks magic number to clinch a playoff spot down to three.

Happy Birthday - 8/23

No future Astros birthdays, but one former Astro with a birthday today ~

SS/3B Marty Martinez (died March 8, 2007 at 65)
Martinez came to the Houston organization in a December 1968 trade that sent Bob Aspromonte to Atlanta.  In 185 games over three seasons for the Astros, Martinez hit .268/.305/.320. The Cuban born Martinez managed for the Rangers and the Mariners organizations in the minors for several years and served as interim manager for the Mariners for one game in 1986 for a career major league managerial record of 0-1.

Bonus Tweet of the Day

Jason Schwartz

...and another for . That's 2 SBs in 1st inning (92 total). At this rate he'll have 100 by the 6th.  

Tweet of the Day

Nate Pettus
Nate Pettus@NatePettus88
With great mustache comes great responsibility

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Roster Moves

Houston/Oklahoma City
RHP Armando Galarraga was designated for assignment.
RHP Hector Ambriz had his contract purchased by Houston and is being called up.
RHP Aneury Rodriguez was activated from the temporary inactive list.

RHP Zach Grimmett was placed on the 7-day DL.
LHP Pat Urckfitz was activated from the 7-day DL.

An Interview with SS Carlos Correa

Carlos Correa was drafted as the number one pick overall in the 2012 draft out of the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy and High School. He will not turn 18 until September 22nd. He has responded well to his recent promotion from the GCL Astros to the Greeneville Astros and is hitting .407/.484/.667 in 8 games.

It didn't take Carlos Correa more than five seconds to leave me with a very favorable first impression. I had just met him and we were relocating to a different area to conduct the interview. I leaned over to pick up my camera case, but my hand never touched it. Carlos had already picked it up and insisted on carrying it for me.

Carlos' answers, conveyed in impeccable English, may sound like tired sports cliches to some of the more jaded among us, but nothing could be further from the truth. He is a very earnest young man and he meant every word as three themes emerged -- working hard, giving 100% and focusing on the goal, the goal being nothing short of a major league career.

And give 100%, he does. Tim over at Crawfishboxes was sitting nearby during Saturday's game and caught this terrific diving catch by Correa on video (about 1:50 in). He will leap and he will dive for anything hit anywhere near him. He is focused at the plate and I don't think you'll ever see this Carlos dogging it down the first base line.

Here is some of what he had to say (edited for brevity and clarity) ~

Biggest surprise/toughest part about playing pro ball: "Playing professional ball is really fun. The guys that come from high school [have] to get used to playing every day because in high school we don't do that. For me that's the tough part, playing every day. You've got to deal with that ... get focused, play hard and give your 100% every day."

On living away from his home in Puerto Rico: "I've done that before so I'm used to it. They [his family] know that I'm here to work hard, to reach my goals [and get] to the big leagues. It has not been a big deal for us."

What has he accomplished and what is he still working on?: "I have been working a lot in every aspect of the game, but we focus more on hitting because it's the most important part of the game. Right now I'm getting used to hitting every day and I feel really comfortable with all this work. We're just playing good, playing to win and trying to make the playoffs here in Greeneville."

Who are his friends on the team?: "My close friends right now are Lance McCullers and Rio Ruiz. We have been together in the GCL and now here so those are my closest friends right now here in Greeneville."

What would he do if he couldn't play baseball?: "I would study. If baseball doesn't work, I will go study and [get] a four-year degree and keep it going, do my job, work hard to do whatever I want to do. But right now, my goal is if God keeps me [in] good health, just play baseball and reach the big leagues." [What would he study?] "I like numbers. I would try to be an accountant."

Who on the team makes him laugh?: "These Dominican kids make me laugh every time. They're really funny and I like them a lot. I talk with [Ovando] a lot and I really enjoy talking with him. He's really funny. You never take him serious."

Any pressure as the first #1 pick from Puerto Rico?: "Right now, I don't feel any pressure. At the beginning like maybe starting professional ball, but right now I'm playing relaxed. I feel comfortable playing. I just focus on doing my work, try to do my best every time and give my 100% every time I touch the field."

Any words to Astros fans about the future?: "I would say that we've got a really good farm [system] down here. We've got a lot of good players so I think the future of the Astros will be good. The players that are coming, we are working really hard. We want to make the big team. We're focused on trying to be a winning team in the big leagues. Everyone in the organization wants to be in the big leagues with the Houston Astros. Right now the players that I know, like me and Lance and Rio are working really hard. We know what we want for our future. We want to make it and we're going to make the organization get better."

On the team chemistry in Greeneville: "To win is about a team, it's not about players and we as a team are playing really good. We're good friends. Everyone here gets along with the other and I think that's the key, being a good teammate and respect[ing] the game. That's important."

How has he liked the Astros organization so far?: "For me, the Astros organization is really good. They have a really good program, really good coaches that are here to help you out and make you better, and I think that's really good. I really like the organization and I like everything they do here to help us out."

Any final words?: "Thank God He gave me the ability and He gave me such great parents that [taught] me the correct way so I thank God for everything. I give Him the glory for everything. That's the most important part, having Him as first."

When I asked Carlos my standard question, "Can you tell me something about yourself that most people don't know and might be surprised to hear?," he couldn't think of a thing. He finally shrugged and said, "Baseball 24/7." Baseball is his life right now. Carlos' focus is baseball, pure and simple. And everyone already knows that.

When we finished the interview, Carlos gave me a hug. Impression complete. Impression very favorable.

Minor League Recaps

Tuesday's Games

DSL Indians over DSL Astros 3-1 (completion of 8/4 suspended game)
Javier Saucedo gave up three runs on seven hits over six innings pitched (albeit three of the innings were pitched on August 4th and the other three were pitched yesterday) and was charged with the loss. Erick Hurtado pitched the final two quite effectively. The Astros threatened a couple of times but couldn't get anything across after the third inning.

DSL Indians over DSL Astros 7-1 in 7 innings
If I tell you that all four Astros pitchers (Yoiner Angulo, Edwin Villarroel, Jesus Castillo and Angel Heredia) allowed at least one run, but only two of the seven runs were earned runs, that will probably tell you everything you need to know about this game -- three errors, a passed ball, two wild pitches and a hit batter. Ugly. Johan Tomas de la Cruz drove in the only Astros run with a single in the sixth. Pedro Coa was two-for-four with a double; and Mesac Laguna and Marlon Avea also doubled.

GCL Cardinals at GCL Astros - postponed

Elizabethton over Greeneville 7-5
Starter Francis Ramirez gave up three runs in three innings with two of the runs coming via the long ball. After an effective inning from Andrew Walter, Joe Musgrove gave up another three in a rocky two and two-thirds inning appearance and was pegged with the loss. Zach Dando gave up the final run. But the offense was very encouraging as Marc Wik and Rio Ruiz each hit their first professional home runs in the game. Terrell Joyce (2x3) hit his seventh of the season. Jimmy Howick was two-for-four.

Tri-City over Brooklyn 5-2
A good start from Juri Perez (two runs on seven hits over six innings) plus lockdown relief from Jeremiah Meiners (one hit and three strikeouts over three innings) put Tri-City on the brink of clinching a playoff spot. Jesse Wierzbicki was the star of the day, going three-for-five with a RBI. Preston Tucker drove in two.

Greensboro over Lexington 3-1 in 11 innings
This was a pitchers' duel, pure and simple, as the two starting pitchers each allowed only one run on four hits over six innings. Lexington's starter Mike Foltynewicz, with ten strikeouts, had to settle for a no-decision. Murilo Gouvea and Dayan Diaz combined for four innings of scoreless relief, but Tommy Shirley gave up two runs on three hits in the 11th to seal the Legends' fate. Zach Johnson was two-for-five with a double and his 106th RBI of the season. Jordan Kreke was also two-for-five and scored the Legends only run. Lexington has now lost 6 in a row.

Lancaster over Rancho Cucamonga 13-6
Nick Tropeano earned his fourth win with the JetHawks (10th win of the season) despite allowing four unearned runs on five hits with seven strikeouts in his seven innings. Kenny Long gave up his first run as a JetHawk and Jorge de Leon allowed the final run. Erik Castro was a one-man wrecking crew as he went three-for-five with a two-run home run in the second and a grand slam in the seventh. Delino DeShields contributed with a two-run triple and stole his 90th bag of the season. Every Lancaster starter except for Robert Pena got into the hit column, including two-hit nights from DeShields and Jio Mier and three-hit nights from Domingo Santana and Castro.

Corpus Christi over Midland 7-1
Big Bobby Doran was in beast mode and earned the win as he allowed no runs on four hits with a career high 10 strikeouts in five and a third innings. Alex Sogard kept the shutout alive through two and a two-thirds innings, but Arcenio Leon allowed the lone Midland run in the ninth. Most of the Hooks offense came late, including a Chris Wallace two-run double in the sixth and a Robbie Grossman two-run home run in the seventh. Austin Wates was two-for-four with a triple and a RBI.

Round Rock over Oklahoma City 4-1
Rudy Owens has yet to get a win as an Astro and he took another loss Tuesday night after allowing two runs on four hits in six innings of work. Enerio del Rosario gave up another two runs in one inning. The only Redhawks run scored on an Angel Sanchez single. Matt Dominguez was three-for-four and scored a run. Brad Snyder was two-for-four with two doubles.

Player of the Day: Erik Castro had been in a slump. Nothing like a two home run, six RBI night to break a slump. He now has 23 home runs and 98 RBI for the season. Great job, Erik!

Pitcher of the Day: The hands down winner is Bobby Doran. Not only did he get a career high ten strikeouts in his five and a third innings of shut out ball, he also earned his fifth win with Corpus (13th of the season) to bring the Hooks that much closer to clinching a playoff spot.

Happy Birthday - 8/22

No future Astros birthdays today, only former Astros ~

LHP Randy Wolf (36)
The Astros traded Chad Reineke to the San Diego Padres in July of 2008 for Randy Wolf. In 12 starts for the Astros, Wolf was 6-2 with a 3.57 ERA and a 1.302 WHIP. He was an All-Star for Philadelphia in 2003. But the thing I most remember Randy Wolf for is that he was just another hapless Houston victim of Bud Selig, having to start a "home game" against the Cubs in Milwaukee after Hurricane Ike. We can only hope that, if anything like that should ever happen again, Jim Crane will politely but firmly tell Bud what to do with himself. Ironically, Wolf is now pitching for Milwaukee. Man, Wolf just got released on his birthday. That's cold. I blame Selig.

RHP Hipolito Pichardo (43)
Acquired as a free agent in 2002, Hipolito, despite having a pretty awesome name, did not do well in his one appearance for the Astros that year. I mean he REALLY did not do well. In 0.1 IP, he gave up 3H, 3ER, 2BB and a wild pitch, for an ERA with the Astros of 81.00 and a WHIP of 15.00. That was his last major league appearance.

Tweet of the Day

Nick Tropeano

When your out on that field, there's no other care in the world. Love what you do.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Some Random Observations about Greeneville

I just spent a long weekend in Greeneville, Tennessee watching the Astros Rookie level farm team play three games. A few interviews will be coming out shortly, but in the meantime I wanted to jot down some random thoughts I had along the way.

First of all, Pioneer Park is a simply beautiful ballpark. I had no idea that it was located on the Tusculum College campus and that it had been built to lure the Astros into establishing a minor league team in the area. Here's a great picture of the entrance to the park to show you how impressive the facility is. There are banners throughout the concourse featuring former Greeneville Astros players who have made it to the bigs (along with the date of their debut), including J.D. Martinez, Jose Altuve, Fernando Abad and others, which I found to be a really nice touch. David Lane, the General Manager of the Greeneville Astros, was terrific to work with and set me up with everything I needed as far as access to the park and talking to the players.

Having just been in Lancaster seeing the Hi-A JetHawks team two weeks prior, I was immediately struck by how young the Greeneville team is. The average age for position players is 20.3 and 21.1 for pitchers, but there are several players far younger than that, the 17-year old Carlos Correa and 18-year olds Rio Ruiz, Lance McCullers and Ariel Ovando, among others. The overall impression is one of unbridled, enthusiastic optimism with no trace of the cynicism you might see in a grizzled old minor league veteran of 21 or 22 who has been sobered by the difficult realities in front of him.

Dan Radison, newly minted first base coach for the Astros, was on the scene as I watched workouts and batting practice on Saturday and we had the opportunity to talk for a brief time. Little did I know that the next time I would see him would be less than 24 hours later on an online news conference announcing him as the new Astros first base coach. He looked tired and I'll bet he was. All I can really tell you about him is that he was very nice to me and seemed to have a good sense of humor which will come in handy over the next 6 weeks or so.

I also had the opportunity to (again, very briefly) chitchat with Cesar Cedeno. No matter how many ballplayers I have met or will continue to meet as long as I write this blog and get to talk to ballplayers, I will always be starstruck and in awe when it comes to the Colt .45's and Astros icons from the 60's, 70's and 80's. With that said, I CHITCHATTED WITH CESAR FREAKING CEDENO!!!! I was screaming inside like James at Astros County will when he one day meets Dickie Thon (which will happen because it is his destiny).

There were a couple of players that I didn't interview (yet) but who stood out for one reason or another. Daniel Minor started the Friday game and I must say I was impressed with the 9th round pick. He worked quickly and confidently. He would bear down when he fell behind in the count and didn't walk a hitter. He was in control the whole way. I only saw Mike Hauschild face one hitter but I was impressed because he sported the high socks look and, at 6'3" 210#, he looks like a big league pitcher already. Jordan Jankowski also rocked the high socks and rewarded my expectations with two strikeouts over the one inning I witnessed. He now has 49 strikeouts over 30 innings so I would have been disappointed with anything less.

And then there's Ariel Ovando, a man/child with the legs of a marathon runner. Steve (aka Appy Astros) and I discussed those legs and Ariel's gait at length. I'm not speaking for Steve when I say this, but Ovando doesn't appear to have figured out how to make those legs work to the best of his ability yet. I'll leave it at that.

One final observation. MLB could learn something from these guys. I was pleasantly surprised with a 2:12 game on Friday and I was downright flabbergasted when Saturday's game clocked in at 1:53. That's what happens when mound visits are a rarity by either catcher or coach and pitchers check the runners with a look instead of a throw. Can we please adopt more of that at the major league level?

Thanks again to David Lane and Steve (Appy Astros) for everything.

Minor League Recaps

Monday's Games

DSL Indians over DSL Astros 15-1
Five Astros pitchers combined in this mess with Rayderson Chevalier getting charged with the loss and Geronimo Franzua being the only Astros pitcher to emerge unscathed. The Astros were held to four hits with Hector Roa getting two of them. Luis Reynoso had the only extra base hit, a double.

GCL Astros over GCL Cardinals 4-3
Kyle Hallock got his third rehab start, stretching it out to two innings this go around and allowing one run on two hits. Raul Rivera gave up another two runs in his four innings of work before the relief crew in the guise of Gera Sanchez and Erick Gonzalez (S, 10) came in to pitch a very effective final three innings. Edwin Gomez was two-for-three with a double and a solo home run. Juan Santana was two-for-five with a double and an RBI. Darwin Rivera also doubled.

Greeneville over Elizabethton 6-5
Starter Frederick Tiburcio allowed four runs on seven hits over four innings and struck out six. He was followed by Christian Garcia who was charged with one run and was awarded the win thanks to solid relief from Mike Hauschild and Jordan Jankowski (S,3). This game was always close as the two teams traded runs, and a wild pitch allowing Ariel Ovando to score what proved to be the wining run turned out to be the difference maker at the end of the night. And it was the Ariel Ovando show as he hit two home runs, walked twice, drove in three and scored three. Terrell Joyce also had a very nice night at the plate, going two-for-four with two doubles.

Staten Island over Tri-City 8-7 in 11 innings
Six pitchers combined for Tri-City in this one. Brady Rodgers got the start, giving up three runs on five hits in five innings. Jamaine Cotton got the first blown save of the night as he allowed three runs in his one inning of work before giving way to Travis Ballew and Scott Zuloaga for scoreless relief. Blake Ford then got the second blown save of the game as he gave up one run in the eighth and John Neely was charged with the loss, allowing one run in two and two-thirds innings. Preston Tucker was the offensive star of this one as he went three-for-five with a double, a home run, three RBI and three runs scored. Dan Gulbransen was three-for-six with two RBI; and Austin "Catfish" Elkins, Joe Sclafani and Ryan Dineen each had two hits.

Greensboro over Lexington 5-1
Starter Chris Devenski gave up two runs on seven hits in five and a third innings which proved to be one run too many as Lexington was held to one hit and one run for the night. Evan Grills added on another three runs before giving way to Gabriel Garcia who allowed no hits and one walk in his relief outing. Brandon Meredith got the only Lexington hit in the second inning, but the Legends wouldn't score until the ninth when they scored one on a double play thanks to a hit batter, walk and fielding error.

Lancaster over Rancho Cucamonga 14-11
The score sounds much closer than the game actually was as Lancaster took a commanding lead early driving three Rancho Cucamonga pitchers out of the game and scoring all 14 runs by the time the fourth inning was over. Tyson Perez got his ninth win, despite allowing five runs on eight hits over seven innings, as he was gifted with 14 runs in support of his start. Then things got a little dicey as Brad Dydalewicz gave up a three-run home run in the eighth, Zach Grimmett loaded up the bases in the ninth and was followed by Jose Trinidad who gave up a three-run double. Kenny Long then followed to get a quick double play to end things. The pitching might have been a bit questionable at times last night but the offense was anything but. Delino DeShields broke the Astros minor league single season stolen base record with two steals in the second inning; Telvin Nash hit his 26th home run; and Jio Mier hit his third home run. Everyone in the line-up got at least one hit but a few were overachievers.

Delino DeShields - 2x4 2B 2RBI BB SO 2R
Jio Mier - 2x4 2B HR 4RBI 2R
Andrew Aplin - 3x4 2B RBI BB 2R
Telvin Nash - 2x5 HR 3RBI 2SO R
Jonathan Meyer - 2x4 BB SO 2R
Grant Hogue - 2x5 3B 3RBI 2SO 2R

Corpus Christi over Springfield 2-1 in 13 innings
There was good pitching from both teams in this one. Asher Wojciechowski allowed one run on five hits over six and two-thirds innings and Kevin Chapman, Jake Buchanan, Erick Abreu (W, 9-4) and Jason Stoffel (S, 24) combined to allow only one additional hit over the next six and two-thirds innings. The Hooks were held to five hits with two of them being a home run from Jonathan Singleton and Jay Fernandez's solo homer in the thirteenth inning.

Round Rock over Oklahoma City 2-1
Brett Oberholtzer allowed two runs on ten hits with seven strikeouts over seven and two-thirds innings and was pegged with the tough luck loss as his team couldn't provide him with run support. Mike Hessman did his part as he went two-for-four with two doubles. Jimmy Paredes was also two-for-four with one double.

Players of the Day: I've got to give this one to Delino DeShields for breaking the stolen base record, but I also have to acknowlege Ariel Ovando's two home run, three RBI night.

Pitchers of the Day: I'm going with the whole Corpus Christi crew for a tightly pitched match.

A Record-Breaking Night for Delino DeShields

Delino DeShields, Jr. made Astros minor league history in the Lancaster JetHawks game on Monday, August 20, 2012. After being hit by a pitch, he stole his 88th base of the season in the second inning and then promptly stole third base for his 89th. DeShields broke the previous Astros single season minor league record of 87 which was held by Lou Frazier. Frazier had held the record since playing in the Florida State League in 1988. I was in Lexington in April and witnessed DeShields steal five bases in three games. Here he is after stealing third in a game from April 30th. He swiped three bags that day.

But even more importantly, in the greater scheme of things, the two stolen bases put Delino in a position to score the run on a Jio Mier sac fly. DeShields is tied with George Springer in the Astros minor league system with 103 runs scored so far this season.

Congratulations Delino. Keep getting that uniform dirty.


Happy Birthday - 8/21

LF J.D. Martinez (25)
Originally from Miami, Julio Daniel Martinez was drafted in 2009 in the 20th Round out of Nova Southeastern University. Suffering a bit of a sophomore slump for the Astros this season, Martinez hit .235/.308/.373 in 105 games leading to an assignment to AAA Oklahoma City. In 10 games with the Redhawks, he is hitting .205./.244/.256. Future trivia question answer: Martinez was the first player to hit a home run in the Marlins new stadium on April 13, 2012.

Former Astros with birthdays today ~

1B/OF Jim Beauchamp (died December 25, 2007 at age 68)
Beauchamp originally came to Houston prior to the 1964 season in a trade with the Cardinals. He played in 23 games for the Colt .45's in 1964 and 25 games for the Astros in 1965 before being traded away to Milwaukee in May of 1965. He once again came to Houston in a trade with the Reds prior to the 1970 season and was once again traded away in June 1970, this time to his original organization, St. Louis. In 78 games for Houston, he hit .179/.257/.269. He went on to have a long career managing in the minor leagues for Houston, Cincinnati, Toronto and Atlanta from 1975 to 1990.

IF Jerry DaVanon (67)
A first round pick by the Cardinals in 1966, DaVanon came to Houston from Cleveland in April 1975 and was subsequently traded to St. Louis along with Larry Dierker in November 1976. In between, he played in 94 games for Houston hitting .284/.398/.397.

OF Karl "Tuffy" Rhodes (44)
A third round pick by the Astros in 1986, Rhodes played in 92 games for Houston from 1990 to 1993, hitting .219/.302/.303. After his MLB career ended, his career in Japan took off. Baseball-Reference has this great article about Rhodes' years in Japan.

SS Andujar Cedeno (died October 28, 2000 at age 31)
Cedeno first signed on with the Astros organization as a NDFA out of the Dominican Republic in 1986 and played for the Astros in 392 games from 1990 to 1994. He was traded to the Padres in December of 1994, but came back to Houston from Detroit to play in three final major league games in September of 1996. In a total of 395 games, he hit .250/.309/.389. He hit for the cycle in August of 1992 in a game against the Cardinals. He died in a car accident at the age of 31.

Roster Moves

Corpus Christi
RHP Adalberto Flores was sent to the 7-day DL.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Minor League Recaps

Sunday's Results

Burlington Royals 8 Greeneville Royals 4
Greeneville tried to come from behind on Sunday, but were shut down in route by the opposing bullpen, getting only 2 hits after the seventh inning.  Terrell Joyce (2X4) and Ernesto Genoves (1X4) both homered in the game.  Genoves' HR was a 3-run shot to left with 2 outs in the seventh inning.  Lance McCullers (0-2) got the start and the loss, pitching 3 innings and being charged with 5 runs (3 ER) on 3 hits.  McCullers also walked 2 and struck out 6, fanning every batter he faced in the first.

Staten Island Yankees 0 Tri-City ValleyCats 11
Joe Bircher had a good game at "The Joe" yesterday.  Bircher faced 20 batters through his 6 innings of work, meaning at some point he retired a lot of those guys in order.  Actually after allowing a couple guys on in the second inning, Bircher got the next batter to hit into a double play, retiring every batter after that sequentially until he left in the 6th—15 in a row, counting the DP.  Joe Bircher collected his third win, moving him to 3-2 on the season, allowing 2 hits, walking 2 and K-ing 6 in his shift on the hill.  Offensively, the ValleyCats performed as well.  Tri-City had 12 hits, 3 stolen bases and a 2 out, 3-run line drive homer from Preston Tucker.  Here's the box from

Lexington Legends Rome Braves

Lancaster JetHawks 6 Inland Empire 66ers 0
Another strong pitching performance on Sunday here led to Lancaster's 3-hit shutout of Inland Empire.  Blair Walters (1-2) picked up his first win since joining the JetHawks.  Through 6 innings, Walters allowed just 2 hits, walked 3 and struck out 3.  At the plate Jiovanni Mier had a big night, batting 2 for 4 with 3 RBI. Domingo Santana hit 2 for 4 and collected his 85th RBI of the season.  Delino DeShields hit 1 for 4, scored a run and stole another base—his 4th with Lancaster and 87th of the year (more on that later).

Corpus Christi Hooks 7 Springfield Cardinals 1
Corpus Christi used the old "1-2 punch" to win their game in Springfield on Sunday.  "1" here being a strong showing by starting pitcher Paul Clemens and "2" being the 7 runs they scored to support Clemens' efforts on the mound.  Paul Clemens (2-2) went seven innings on Sunday, allowing 6 hits and 1 unearned run.  He also walked 1 and struck out a trio.  Jason Stoffel came on for the last inning and a third, picking up his 23rd save of the season while striking out 2 and allowing no hits, retiring the 4 batters he faced in a row.  Austin Wates went 2 for 4 at the plate with a pair of RBIs.  Jonathan Singleton went 2 for 4 with his 26th 2-bagger of the year.  Jake Goebbert went 2 for 4 with a walk and clubbed a 3-run homer in the ninth to put his team up by 6.

Oklahoma City RedHawks 5 Round Rock Express 2
Oklahoma City didn't score first Sunday, but RedHawks' pitching managed to keep their opponents scoreless after the second inning and the offense did the rest.  Carlos Corporan continued to produce offensively, hitting 3 for 4 with a double and 3 RBIs in the game.  Brad Snyder went 1 for 4 with a RBI double, his 55th and 18th, respectively.  On the mound, Mark Hamburger (1-5) took the win after coming on in the sixth for an inning and 2 thirds of work.  Hamburger allowed a hit, walked 1 and struck out 1.  Fernando Abad threw the first 5 and a third frames, but didn't get a decision after also allowing 2 runs on 6 hits, walking 1 and K-ing 3. Jose Valdez came out of the bullpen to get the last out and also picked up his 16th save of the season, fanning 1. 

Player of the Day:  Mr. 'Lino DeShields is the man today.  'Lino stole his 87th base of the year on Sunday and that ties him with Lou Frazier for most Astros minor league stolen bases in a season; a record that has stood since 1988.

Pitcher of the Day:  There are a few worthy guys today, but Joe Bircher tops them all.  Bircher dominated on Sunday.  He forced batters into 2 DP's, then "settled down", retiring 15 in a row and striking out 6 in his remaining time on the mound.  After the game, RobCop was seen asking for his autograph.  

A Taste of Greeneville

I will be writing about my Greeneville trip for the next couple of weeks. I snagged six great interviews with some young exciting players, but since I will be travelling today and it will take me a while to write things up, I wanted to leave you with something to whet your appetite. I'm very pleased with how well these photos of one Lance McCullers pitch photographed with continuous shot came out despite the net being in front of me. Enjoy!

Happy Birthday - 8/20

CF Cory Sullivan (33)
A seventh round pick by the Rockies in 2001, Sullivan signed with Houston as a free agent prior to the 2010 season. In 57 games for the Astros, he hit .188/.257/.234. In four seasons with Colorado, he hit .279/.330/.391.

Tweet of the Day

Aaron West

The only thing that's as fake as  is the meat at taco bell.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Thanks, Millsy

            On October 27th, 2009 Brad Mills was named the manager of the Astros by, then owner, Drayton McLane.  Mills was here for 445 regular season games since that day (minus a few suspensions) and the Astros changed a lot during his term as Skip’, to say the least.  The period saw the departure of hometown players like Michael Bourn & Lance Berkman and the addition of new faces like Jose Altuve & Jed Lowrie.  It also saw the ownership change, announcement of the league switch for the 2013 season—a trying time for any organization— and the Astros' 50th anniversary. Through it all, Mills was here, with his trademark positive attitude.  Even the 2012 Baseball Prospectus commented on Mills’ demeanor, saying he has, “…the ability to see the glass as half full when it’s ¾ empty,” followed by he is, “[a]lways expecting the best….”
            I don’t think anyone was surprised by the announcement late last night that Mills’ time as manager of the Houston Astros was up, but just the same it’s always a little hard to say goodbye.  Mills led the team through an extremely rough stretch in their 50-year-long history and by all accounts he did it with pride and all of his ability.  Of course he could have had more wins, maybe even should have played some position players over others, but these are things that can be said about any manager. 
            The point is, Mills is now part of the Houston Astros’s past and deserves a farewell that thanks him for his service.  His tenure may not ever be considered as one of the brightest stretches along the team's timeline, but sometimes all that matters is that a guy was with you when things were tough.  Mills was one of those guys for Houston.  So goodbye, Brad Mills and thanks for the memories.   

Minor League Recaps

Saturday's Results

DSL Astros 3 DSL Rays 5
The Astros tried to mount a rally in the ninth inning Saturday, but it proved to be too little, too late, moving their record to 22-43 on the season.  Jean Carlos Cortorreal had a multi-hit game, going 2 for 5 with a double and a RBI.  Mesac Laguna also had a double with his only hit in 4 ABs, his 12th of the season.  After coming on in the second for 4 frames of work, Juan Hernandez (0-4) collected his fourth loss of the year.  Hernandez allowed 4 runs on 5 hits, walked 1 and K-ed 4 during his shift. 

GCL Astros GCL Nationals

Burlington Royals 0 Greeneville Astros 2
Greeneville played a very impressive game of baseball Saturday at home.  Adrian Houser, Tanner Bushue and Zachary Dando combined for a 7-hit shutout and didn't issue any free passes all game.  Houser (3-4) picked up the win after throwing the first 5 frames and through that time he allowed just 5 hits and struck out 3.  Zachary Dando acquired his first save, taking the helm for the final 2 innings, allowing 1 hit and striking out 4.  At the plate, Angel Ibanez had a good night, hitting 2 for 4 and scoring both runs.  Ibanez was hit in first in the first inning by Rio Ruiz (1X3) and again in the eighth inning by Terrel Joyce (2X4).

Staten Island Yankees 5 Tri-City ValleyCats 2
The ValleyCats offense was stifled at home on Saturday.  Tri-City batsmen had 5 hits all game spread across 4 batters.  Tyler Heineman finished 2 for 4; his 2 hits scored both runs for his team.  Aaron West (6-1) had a tough outing, giving up 5 runs on 7 hits, walking 1, striking out 5 and collecting his first loss through 5 and a 2 thirds.  Jeremiah Minors came on to finish the game out after West and allowed just 4 hits, striking out 3.

Lexington Legends 3 Rome Braves 5
This game got off to a positive start Saturday with Brandon Meredith's 15th homer, a solo shot to center field, getting Lexington on the board.  Meredith ended up 1 for 1 at the plate with 2 runs scored and 3 walks.  Chris Epps batted 2 for 4 with a double and a RBI.  Legends pitching just couldn't contain the opposing offense in this game.  David Rollins (1-2) went the first 6 innings, taking the loss and allowing 4 runs on 6 hits including the go-ahead 2-run, 2-out homer in the fourth.  Rollins also walked 2 and struck out 4.

Lancaster JetHawks 3 Inland Empire 66ers 7
Lancaster has now dropped three games in a row and this one was no picnic.  David Martinez (7-5) got the start and took the loss, pitching 4 and two thirds while being charged with 6 runs (5 ER) on 8 hits with 1 walk.  Offensively this game was a test for the JetHawks too.  Lancaster struck out 11 times in Saturday and only collected 4 hits.  Andrew Aplin (1X3), Domingo Santana (1X4) and Alex Todd (1X2) all had a hit apiece and a RBI each too.  Domingo Santana now has 84 RBIs.

Corpus Christi Hooks 12 Springfield Cardinals 4
Corpus Christi came alive on Saturday and took a decisive win on the road at Hammons Field.  Jonathan Singleton led the charge, batting 4 for 6 with 3 RBIs, 3 runs scored and a massive 2 run homer in the first inning.  Austin Wates hit a tater of his own in the sixth inning, a 3 run shot to left field.  Wates ended up 1 for 4 on the night.  Jake Goebbert got in on the scoring too, hitting 2 for 5 with a double and 2 RBI of his own.   Matthew Heidenreich (2-1) started the game for the Hooks and after giving up 3 runs (0 ER) in the first inning he remained for 5 more scoreless frames and took the win.  Heidenreich ended up with those runs on 6 hits, 1 walk and 3 Ks.

Oklahoma City RedHawks 5 Round Rock Express 4
The RedHawks mounted a 4-run eighth inning to come from behind and take this win in Round Rock Saturday.  Jose Martinez hit 3 for 4 in the game with 2 RBI. Both of Martinez' RBI came on his go ahead 2-out, RBI single in the eighth inning.  Carlos Corporan hit his sixth homer of the year in the sixth inning, a solo shot to right field to start the inning and get Oklahoma City on the board.  Corporan finished the game 1 for 3 at the dish with 2 runs scored.  Jarred Cosart (1-2) came on to pitch in the seventh inning and stuck around to pick up the win, his first of the season with the RedHawks.  Over 2 frames, Cosart allowed 1 run on a hit, walked 1 and struck out 3.  Jose Valdez came on to close things out in the ninth inning and earned his 15th save of the season, giving up a hit and K-ing 2.  Valdez now has 49 strikeouts in 38.1 innings for Oklahoma City. 

Player of the Day:  Mr. Jon Singleton, come on down.  Singleton not only hit an impressive 4 for 6 yesterday (including a HR), but had 3 RBI and scored 3 runs to boot.  That's a one man show.

Pitcher of the Day: We have a 3-way tie today between Adrian Houser, Tanner Bushue and Zachary Dando.  These 3 guys combined their forces and shutout their opponent Saturday and did so without issuing any walks and striking out 10 (Bushue and Dando only gave up a hit apiece as they split the last 4 frames).  That is the definition of "teamwork."               


Happy Birthday - 8/19

LHP Ricardo Batista (21)
Signed as an NDFA from the Dominican Republic in 2008, Batista has been used primarily as a starter in the past, but was moved to the bullpen this season with good results. In 12 appearances for the GCL Astros, he is 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA and a 1.385 WHIP.

Former Astros with birthdays today ~

C Reggie Baldwin (58)
A third round pick by the Astros in 1976, Baldwin's entire major league career consisted of 52 games for the Astros in 1978 and 1979. He hit .241/.267/.345. He spent one more year in the minor leagues for the New York Mets where he was sent by Houston in a trade for Keith Bodie, the current manager of the Corpus Christi Hooks.

RHP Woody Williams (46)
Originally drafted in the 28th round by Toronto, Williams signed with Houston prior to the 2007 season. In one season for Houston, he pitched in 33 games (31 starts) with a 8-15 record, a 5.27 ERA and a 1.431 WHIP. Williams' best seasons were the four years that he spent in the Cardinals organization where he had a 45-22 record and earned his one All-Star nod in 2003.

Tweet of the Day

Aaron West

Baseball is a humbling game. Tomorrow is a new day and a new opportunity to get better.

Roster Moves

Oklahoma City
RHP Jarred Cosart was activated from the DL.
RHP Enerio del Rosario was activated from the DL.
RHP Sergio Perez was placed on the 7-day DL.

Corpus Christi
RHP Ross Seaton was assigned from Oklahoma City to Corpus Christi.