Saturday, December 13, 2014

Happy Birthday - 12/13

Happy Birthday to ~

LHP Austin Nicely (20)
A 10th round draft pick by Houston in 2013, Nicely played for the Greeneville Astros in 2014. In 12 games (10 starts), he was 2-6 with a 3.88 ERA and a 1.664 WHIP.

A few former Astros also celebrate the day ~

RHP Ron Taylor (77)
Taylor came to Houston in a June 1965 trade with the Cardinals and pitched in 68 games for the Astros in 1965 and 1966 with a 6.03 ERA and a 1.496 WHIP. Following his playing career, he went back to school at the University of Toronto, got his medical degree and became the team doctor for the Blue Jays.

SS/3B Dale Berra (58)
A first round pick by the Pirates in 1975, Berra came to Houston as a free agent in August 1986 and played in only 19 games for the Astros in 1987 at the end of his major league career. He hit .178/.296/.244. According to Baseball-Reference, Berra was once quoted in talking about his father Yogi as saying, "Our similarities are different."

RHP Aneury Rodriguez (27)
Originally signed by the Rockies as a NDFA out of the Dominican Republic in 2005, the Astros acquired Rodgriguez from Tampa Bay in the Rule 5 draft in 2010. After spending all season on the Astros roster as a Rule 5 draft pick in 2011, Rodriguez spent the vast majority of his 2012 season at Oklahoma City with only one start in Houston. In 44 games (nine starts) for Houston, he was 1-6 with a 5.12 ERA and a 1.303 WHIP.

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Friday, December 12, 2014

Astros Winter League Recaps

Results for Thursday, Decemeber 11, 2014


Adelaide 5, Sydney 4

Chan-Jong Moon finished 0-4 with 2 strikeouts in the Bite lineup, while Tyler Brunnemann rebounded from a disaster in his previous appearance by notching his 4th save of the campaign, tossing a 1-2-3 9th in the process.

Game 2 of this series will start at 5:30 Australian Eastern Time. That's 12:30 A.M. (American) Central Time.


Gigantes 6, Águilas 4

Jonathan Villar finished 0-3 with a walk and 2 strikeouts for Águilas.

Águilas will head east to take on Toros tonight. First pitch is at 7:30 Atlantic.


Culiacán 5, Jalisco 2

Leo Heras finished 1-4 with a run scored and 2 strikeouts as Jalisco dropped the series.

This weekend's series has los Charros traveling to Navojoa. First pitch of game 1 will be at 7:30 Mountain.


Carolina 13, Caguas 4

Carolina went off with a 9-run 3rd inning, which gave them an 11-1 lead. Carlos Corporán hit a double in 4 at-bats and had a sac fly in that big 3rd inning. Jobduan Morales finished 1-3 with a walk and a run scored.

Tomorrow evening, Carolina will take on Santurce.

Happy Birthday - 12/12

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

IF Carlos Hernandez (39)
No, not that Carlos Hernandez. This Carlos Hernandez was an amateur free agent from Venezuela signed by the Astros in 1992 who played in 16 games for Houston in 1999 with a .143 batting average in 14 at-bats. He also had three stolen bases in his limited playing time. He was traded in March 2000 to the Mariners.

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Chapter One of Tyler's Adventures in Panama ~

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Today's Rule 5 Draft

I am, unfortunately, tied up with that whole work thing right now, but David Coleman over at The Crawfish Boxes has the info on how the Rule 5 Draft played out today. OF Delino DeShields, LHP David Rollins and RHP Jandel Gustave were taken. Gustave is the least likely of the trio to "stick" as he is still very raw, but his power arm was just too enticing to pass up. [Oops! I totally missed that Ariel Ovando was taken in the minor league phase of the draft, and is apparently being converted to a pitcher.]

As much as I hate to see any of the three four in another uniform, I am not surprised that the Astros lost players. The depth in the organization is now rising to the top and only so many players can be protected. The good (great) news is that we didn't lose any of the other guys on this list. I am particularly grateful that, despite a great deal of last minute talk about C Roberto Pena being claimed, he was not.

Part of me hopes that each of the claimed players has great success, but a selfish part of me wants them back in the Astros fold. Spread your wings and fly, my lads.

Jandel Gustave - June 2014
Photo by Jayne Hansen

Astros Winter League Recaps

Results for Tuesday, December 9, and Wednesday, December 10, 2014


Adelaide and Sydney was postponed

Due to rain. According to the Bite's Facebook page, this game will "most likely" be made up as part of a Saturday doubleheader.

Tomorrow's (or tonight's) game will be played as scheduled, at 7:30 Australian Eastern Time.


Results from Tuesday

Gigantes 11, Licey 0

Domingo Santana provided a bit of a bright spot for Licey as he hit a triple in the 2nd. Ruben Sosa grounded into a force out in the 9th.

Toros 5, Águilas 4

Jonathan Villar was moved up to the leadoff spot for Águilas and went 0-5 with a strikeout. Teoscar Hernandez entered the game for Toros as a defensive sub in the 7th and went 0-1 in his only plate appearance.

Results from Wednesday

Licey 2, Gigantes 0

Turnabout is fair play? Domingo finished 2-2 with a walk as Licey responded with a shutout of their own.

These two teams will play yet again tomorrow.

Águilas 6, Toros 2

Jonathan Villar went 1-5 with a double and a strikeout as Águilas seized all momentum with a 3-run 7th. Teoscar entered the game as a defensive sub at LF in the 8th for Toros. He did not appear at the plate.

Toros will host Estrellas in a battle of the East, while Águilas takes on Gigantes in the battle of Cibao. Both games will take place at 7:30 Atlantic.


Tuesday: Jalisco 13, Culiacán 6

Jalisco took a wild one as they put up 8 in the bottom of the 2nd to respond to a 2-run top half. Culiacán whittled that lead down to 2, but Jalisco scored the game's final 5 runs to pad their lead.

Leo Heras went 1-3 with 2 walks and a run scored for Jalisco.

Wednesday: Culiacán 11, Jalisco 3

Heras had a tough night as he drew a walk, but struck out in all 3 of his at-bats.

This series will conclude tonight at 7:00.


Tuesday: Carolina 6, Santurce 0

Delino DeShields went 0-4 with 2 Ks for Santurce.

For Carolina, Carlos Corporán went 0-3 with a run scored, while Jobduan Morales finished 2-3.

Wednesday: San Juan 1, Carolina 0

Jobduan Morales went 0-4 with a strikeout as Carolina's DH.

Carolina will take on Caguas tonight at 7:30 Atlantic.

Happy Birthday - 12/11

No future Astros with birthdays today, but several former Astros mark the day ~

OF Derek Bell (46)
A second round pick by the Blue Jays in 1987, Bell came to Houston from San Diego in a December 1994 trade. Bell played for Houston from 1995 to 1999 and compiled a batting line of .284/.341/.430 in 683 games as an Astro. He had 153 doubles, ten triples, 74 home runs, 444 RBI's and 102 stolen bases. In nine games of post-season play from 1997 to 1999, he only managed an .094 batting average. He got his one World Series ring in 1992 with the Blue Jays.

OF Thomas Howard (50)
Originally drafted by the Padres in the first round in 1986, Howard signed with Houston as a free agent in December 1996. In 107 games for the Astros in 1997, he hit .247/.323/.353.

RHP Hal Brown (90)
Brown was purchased from the Yankees in March 1963 and pitched in 53 games for the Colt 45's in 1963 and 1964 at the end of his career with an ERA of 3.62 and a WHIP of 1.189. Brown spent a total of 14 seasons in the major leagues. His 1960 season in Baltimore, when he went 12-5 in 30 games (20 starts) with a 3.06 ERA and a 1.113 WHIP, was probably his best year.

OF Lee Maye (died July 17, 2002 at 67)
Maye came to Houston in a May 1965 trade with the Milwaukee Braves and played in 223 games for the Astros in 1965 and 1966, hitting .268/.302/.380. In 1964, he led the National League in doubles with 44 as he hit .304/.346/.447 for Milwaukee.

2B Rob Andrews (61)
A 10th round pick by the Orioles in 1970, Andrews came to Houston, along with Enos Cabell, in a December 1974 trade with Baltimore. In 212 games for the Astros in 1975 and 1976, he hit .249/.311/.294.

RHP Mike Henneman (53)
Originally drafted in the fourth round by Detroit in 1984, Henneman came to Houston in an August 1995 trade with the Tigers for Phil Nevin. In 21 games for the Astros in 1995, he had a 3.00 ERA and a 1.190 WHIP. He was an All-Star for Detroit in 1989. He was the Pitching Coach for Detroits Low A Affiliate in 2014.

Also, a very happy birthday to Rachel Frey, former " Real Time Correspondent covering the Houston Astros" and just genuinely nice person and friend of the blog.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Happy Birthday - 12/10

Happy Birthday to ~

IF Gregorio Petit (30)
Petit originally signed with Oakland out of Venezuela in 2001 and came to Houston as a free agent in January 2014. After playing 85 games in Oklahoma City, hitting .297/.340/.457, he was called up to Houston on July 25th. In 37 games for the Astros, he hit .278/.300/.423.

RHP Andrew Thurman (23)
Drafted in the second round in 2013 out of UC-Irvine, Thurman spent his 2014 season with the Quad Cities team. In 26 games (20 starts), Thurman went 7-9 with a 5.38 ERA and a 1.405 WHIP.

These former Astros celebrate the day as well ~

RHP Doug Henry (51)
Originally drafted by the Brewers in the eighth round in 1985, Henry came to Houston as a free agent in November 1997. In 139 games for the Astros from 1998 to 2000, he was 11-8 with 5 saves and had a 3.88 ERA and a 1.372 WHIP.  In four games for Houston in the NLDS in 1998 and 1999, he had a 1.88 ERA and a 1.125 WHIP. He is currently the Bullpen Coach for the Kansas City Royals.

RHP Dan Wheeler (37)
A 34th round pick by Tampa in 1996, Wheeler came to Houston in an August 2004 trade with the Mets. In 205 games for the Astros from 2004 to 2007, he was 6-12 with 23 saves and had a 3.02 ERA and a 1.088 WHIP.  In the NLDS in 2004 and 2005, he pitched in four games with a 1.69 ERA and a 1.313 WHIP.  Since it's his birthday, we'll just say that he didn't fare quite that well in the World Series and leave it at that.  He was traded to the then Devil Rays in 2007 for Ty Wigginton.

2B Bob Fenwick (68)
A first round pick by the Giants in 1967, Fenwick was drafted from the Giants in the Rule 5 draft in November 1971. In 36 games for the Astros in 1972, he hit .180/.226/.240. According to Baseball-Reference, Fenwick was the only major leaguer born in Okinawa when it was under U.S. control.

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

An Interview with Astros LHP Kent Emanuel

I caught up with Kent Emanuel last week by phone. He was in North Carolina, finishing up the last of his classes toward getting his degree in Kinesiology before heading home to Georgia for the holidays. In his first full professional season, the third round 2013 draft pick started out with Quad Cities, but was quickly promoted to High A Lancaster in early May. Lancaster is not without its challenges for pitchers, but Emanuel faced those challenges head on and more than held his own in the process.

Kent Emanuel - September 2014
Photo by Jayne Hansen

As is normally the case, my first question had to do with Emanuel's pitch repertoire. He throws a four-seam fastball, two-seam fastball, curveball, slider, changeup and a forkball. His fastball ranges from the high 80's to the low 90's touching 93 at times; his changeup and curveball are in the lower 70's and his slider and forkball are in the upper 70's. When asked what his best pitch was, he simply replied, "I can throw anything whenever." Of the forkball, he told me, "It's a very funky pitch. It kind of knuckles and tumbles and gets a downward movement. It's very funky."

Speaking of "funky," I asked him about the Baseball America draft report on him that claimed Emanuel's "funky delivery" was effective, but might end up costing him some velocity in the long run. He responded, "It's not really something that I've worried about. Typically, when it comes to mechanics, I think the big two things are making sure you're not killing yourself, that you're able to stay healthy and the other is just being able to control your body and be able to throw strikes. I've never had a probalem with either one of those two things so it's not really something that I've worried about too much. In terms of velocity, there are some things that I'm always trying to change a little bit, but it's nothing crazy. It's just a little tweak here and there in terms of driving off or rotating off, nothing that's really going to be a significant change in my mechanics."

In terms of what Emanuel feels as though he accomplished in 2014, he replied, "We won the league. That's by far and away the biggest accomplishment of the season. Personally, I felt that I really pitched better at the end of the year than I did in the middle of the year, but I would be remiss to say that I didn't think I pitched very well. I know I definitely did not meet my expectations and that's something that I'm definitely going to be changing this next season."

Following the 2013 draft, Kent Emanuel merited national attention due to his workload for the University of North Carolina during the College World Series. After signing with the Astros following the World Series, he was used sparingly in the Gulf Coast League, pitching only nine innings in his first season. In 2014, he pitched 124 innings and when I mentioned that he seemed to have bounced back nicely from any possible overuse, he said, "There was never really anything to bounce back from. I would be lying to you if I said I ever felt any problem with my arm.  My arm felt great always. I'm sure Rodney [Linares, Manager of the Lancaster team] would be one of the first ones to tell you that I think pitch counts and inning limits are pretty much irrelevant. It's all dependent on the person. I've never had any issues. I don't plan on ever having any issues. I take a lot of pride in taking care of my body and my arm so that's something I hope will continue throughout my career."

When asked about pitching at The Hangar, the home ballpark of the Lancaster JetHawks, Emanuel's reply came quickly, "I hate it. If we're being honest, I do not like pitching there. That's for sure." I noted that Emanuel's home/road splits certainly told different tales for his season as he had a 2.62 ERA and a 0.977 WHIP on the road, and a 7.21 ERA and 1.672 WHIP at The Hangar. Emanuel said, "I always liked it when we got lined up so I pitched on the road. I think a lot of that has to do with how I pitch. A lot of people assume that I get a ton of ground balls because I don't throw 96, but that's not the case with me. My success is really based on getting hitters off their timing and I get a lot of fly balls with that, especially with my changeup. I think that leads to splits like that, when you see those numbers at The Hangar compared to numbers on the road."

While The Hangar is an infamously hitter-friendly ballpark with the wind often blowing out to right field at a fierce clip, the wind was reportedly not as much of a factor in 2014, at least not until later in the season. But according to Emanuel, it's not just the wind that makes The Hangar a difficult place to pitch, "I think what a lot of people overlook is that it's not so much the wind in terms of home runs, but the outfielders have to play all the way back and the field is huge. They try to compensate for those long balls and it just leaves a gigantic outfield full of space for balls to land. I think that's a bigger reason to the offensive output you see out there than the home runs themselves."

What does Emanuel feel that he brings to the table as a pitcher? "I think it would be just competing and giving my team a chance to win. I think that's one of the greatest compliments I can receive and that's one that I've gotten from about every coach that I've played for. It's not so much about flashing, throwing 98 and getting all the strikeouts, but every time I'm out there I give my team a chance to win. I think that's one of my strongest suits is just competing and just going after it when I get out there and attacking hitters."

Emanuel has one of the best (if not the best) pickoff moves in the Astros system. (During the 2014 season, he had 12 pickoffs; 10 runners stole bases while he was on the mound and seven were caught stealing.) He told me, "If runners try to steal second off me, it's definitely a gamble when they're just trying to guess and gamble and go on first movement. Typically the catchers hate me when it comes to the running game because if someone does go and I don't pick them off, chances are they're going to be safe because they're gambling and going first movement, but not a lot of guys run on me. That's typical, though. Usually I get a lot of pickoffs early and then people kind of realize what's going on and I don't get as many pickoffs, but I limit guys trying to take second base which is obviously a big deal. It helps me out a lot."

We then segued to questions about some of his fellow Astros minor leaguers. If he could steal a pitch from one of his fellow pitchers, "I would say either Lance's [Lance McCullers] curveball or I would say straight up Vince's [Vince Velasquez] fastball, low and away when he docks it up at 97 with two strikes. That would be a lot of fun to be able to do."

As to which hitter he would least like to face, "Tony Kemp, no doubt. That dude did nothing but impress me playing with him. I played against him twice in college in the World Series my freshman year, but I never got to pitch against him. I didn't really know much about him. Obviously, when you see him, little guy playing second base, you don't know what to expect. Then I got to be teammates with him. That dude is certainly a gamer and he just gets after it and gets it done. I would definitely not want to see him in the batter's box if I had the choice of someone else."

When asked what fielders he liked having behind him when he pitched, Emanuel's first selection should come as no surprise, "Carlos [Correa], no doubt. That's beautiful. I've played in high school, in travel ball, and my shortstop was incredible and in college, I had great shortstops. It was to the point that I didn't think I could see much better, but it certainly is a luxury having him behind you. The things he does out there ... it's beautiful. That's just the way to describe it. It's beautiful watching him play shortstop.

I would say Tony is the other one. I love playing with Tony. He's such a competitor, such a gamer. That's the word I would (use to) describe (him) ... a gamer. He's just so much fun to be around. It's a blast. Especially when I had both of them playing behind me at the same time. That was great."

Emanuel had a hard time narrowing down the list when I asked him who on that Lancaster team made him laugh. "That's most of the team. We had a fun bunch. Kyle Westwood made me laugh, but he didn't mean to make me laugh. Brian Holmes is up there too. Zach Morton ... he cracked me up. Honestly, I could go down the list ... most of the guys from Lancaster. They're just a bunch of goofballs. It was a blast. They definitely made the season infinitely better. There's no question."

One of the highlights of Emanuel's young professional career was the opportunity to pitch in the postseason as Lancaster advanced to and ultimately won the California League Championship. In 12 postseason innings, Emanuel was 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA and a 0.917 WHIP. Of the experience, he told me, "It was a blast! It's great playing games where it's not so scripted. Especially when we have the piggyback system. Guys are going to get their work in, but come postseason, it really is all about winning the game and that's definitely the best way to play the game, going out there with the only goal (being) to win, just having the intensity taken up a notch.

(During the season), you come to the field one day and it would be like, 'Alright, I've got five innings. No matter what, after the fifth inning, I'm being taken out and someone's coming in for four. And if that doesn't work out, this guy will throw no matter what. Everyone's going to get their work.' (But in the postseason), just to come in and, 'Hey, you have the ball. We're going to ride you out until either you reach a pitch limit or you're giving up runs.' And it's all hands on deck in the bullpen. It's definitely the way I would prefer playing the game."

Kent Emanuel - September 2014 Playoff Appearance
Photo by Jayne Hansen

And if he couldn't play baseball? "If I wasn't playing baseball, I'd probably be playing college hoops still. I played basketball in high school and I almost didn't go to UNC because I was considering playing both sports in college. It's definitely something I miss and I love and I'd probably be playing basketball if it wasn't for baseball. I'd definitely be involved in sports. There's no doubt about that."


Thank you for your time, Kent. Good luck on your finals and best of luck in the coming season.

Astros Winter League Recaps

Results for Monday, December 8, 2014


Caracas 6, Zulia 0

Gregorio Petit started at shortstop for Caracas and finished 1-3 with a run scored and 2 strikeouts.

Caracas will be back in action on Friday, when they are in Aragua.


Lara 9, Caracas 2

Nestor Tejada went 1-4 for the Little Lions.

In their final game, Caracas will take on La Guaira today at 11:00 A.M. Venezuelan time.

Happy Birthday - 12/9

Happy Birthday to ~

Tri-City Manager Ed Romero (57)
A coach for the Astros at the major league level in 2008 and 2009, Romero has managed in the Astros minor league system for the last five seasons. In 2014, he managed the Astros Short Season A Tri-City ValleyCats back to the New York-Penn League Championship finals for the second year in a row.

One former Astro with a birthday today ~

3B Chris Truby (41)
Originally signed by the Astros as an amateur free agent in 1992, Truby played in 126 games for Houston in 2000 and 2001. He hit .241/.288/.464 with 21 doubles, five triples and 19 home runs. He was traded to the Expos for Geoff Blum in March 2002 (in Blum's first stint with the team). In 2014, he was the minor league infield coordinator for the Phillies.

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Since Justin is listed as 6'7" and 190#, this is a very good thing!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Astros Winter League Recaps

Results for the Weekend of December 5-7, 2014

First off, I would like to apologize for my constant going AWOL. I've drawn Jayne's ire about this on a few occasions, and every time I do that, I wonder why on earth would I want to draw her ire, because she is literally one of the nicest people that I have ever met.

Now, without (hopefully) further ado, here's the weekend that was for the Astros in the winter leagues.


Friday: Adelaide 7, Canberra 0

The Bite mauled the Cavalry on the strength of a 2-4, 3 RBI night from Chan-Jong Moon. He hit a sac fly in a 4-run 2nd, ripped an RBI double in the 4th, and finally, he hit an RBI single and came around to score the final Adelaide run of the evening in the 8th.

Saturday: Canberra 11, Adelaide 4

Unfortunately, the Bite were foiled in their sweep attempt as Australia's capital club brought out the heavy artillery with 9 runs in the 9th. Moon went 0-4 with a walk, a stolen base (3), and a strikeout.

Sadly, Tyler Brunnemann bore the brunt of Canberra's outburst. He got the final 2 outs of the 8th, but allowed one of the 2 runners he inherited from Will Mathis to score in the process. The wheels completely fell off for him in the 9th as he allowed 5 runs (3 inherited runners charged to him) while failing to record an out. He faced 5 batters in that 9th and all of them reached. Brunnemann allowed 3 hits, walked 1, and struck out 1.

This upcoming weekend, Adelaide will be in Sydney for a series against the Blue Sox. My aunt lives in Sydney... she isn't much of a baseball fan, but she does enjoy rugby.


Friday: Lara 5, Caracas 4

Danry Vásquez got the start in CF and went 0-3 with a walk and a K. Gregorio Petit started at 2B and also finished 0-3.

Saturday: Caracas 6, Bravos 2

Caracas took control with a 5-run 6th. Danry hit a 1-out triple in the 3rd (but was stranded), and he drove in Caracas' final run of the evening by grounding into a force out in the 8th. Gregorio Petit finished 0-4.

Sunday: La Guaira 12, Caracas 10 in 14 innings

Petit entered the game as a defensive sub in the 8th and went 1-4 with a run scored. Danry played all 14 innings and finished 1-6 with an RBI single in the 8th, walked, and scored a run.

In the only game on the Venezuelan slate tonight, Caracas will host Zulia at 7:30 Venezuelan time.


Friday: Estrellas 3, Águilas 1

Águilas Cibaeñas: Rough night for Jonathan Villar, who struck out in all 3 of his at-bats.

Results from Saturday

Estrellas 3, Licey 0

Domingo Santana went 1-3 with a walk for Licey.

Águilas 4, Escogido 0

Villar was able to rebound a bit from that rough Friday night as he was 1-2 with an RBI single in the 8th. Two batters later, he came around to score on an RBI single from Diego Goris. Villar also drew a walk.

Sunday: Águilas 3, Licey 1

Jonathan Villar ended up having a decent weekend after all, as he went 2-5 with a run scored and a steal (6).

The Dominican League is off today. Here is the slate for tomorrow:

Águilas @ Toros
Estrellas @ Escogido (not really relevant, as no Astros are on either team)
Licey @ Gigantes


Friday: Mexicali 7, Jalisco 5

Mexicali took the opener as they finished the game on a 6-2 run from the 5th-9th innings.

Leo Heras had a fine night at the plate for Jalisco as he finished 3-3 with an RBI double in the 5th, 2 walks, 2 runs scored, and 2 stolen bases (12).

Results from Saturday

Culiacán 5, Mazatlán 3

Gonzalo Sañudo was the first reliever out for los Tomateros. He got the victory as he allowed 2 hits and struck out 3 over 1.2 scoreless frames.

Mexicali 10, Jalisco 3

Mexicali used a 7-run 4th to turn this one into a laugher. Leo Heras went 0-3 with 2 Ks.

Sunday: Jalisco 3, Mexicali 2

Los Charros avoided the sweep, and Amadeo Zazueta's 3-run shot in the 5th was the difference. Heras finished the weekend on a slide as he went 0-4 with 2 strikeouts.

Jalisco will begin a series with Culiacán tomorrow.


Friday: Caguas 4, Santurce 2

Caguas' 2 2-run innings topped Santurce's single tallies. They managed to win this one despite committing 4 errors.

Delino DeShields finished 2-5 and put Santurce on the board with an RBI single in the 7th. Roberto Peña was behind the plate for Caguas and finished 0-3 with a strikeout.

Luis Cruz got the start for Caguas and fired 5 scoreless, allowing 3 hits, walking 1, and striking out 2.

LBPRC All-Star Game (Saturday): Team Feliciano 3, Team Figueroa 3

Delino DeShields also took part in Saturday's All-Star Game, which finished in a 3-3 tie between Team Feliciano and Team Figueroa. No, really.

He was part of Team Figueroa, which I'm fairly sure wasn't named for Nelson Figueroa. He entered the game in the top of the 4th as a defensive sub and finished 3-3, a home run shy of the cycle (ICYMI, Astros County has a special term for finishing a home run shy of the cycle, but again, it would be incredibly inappropriate to say it here).

Puerto Rico returns to action tomorrow as San Juan takes on Mayagüez, while Carolina faces Santurce.

Happy Birthday - 12/8

Happy Birthday to ~

C Oscar Campos (18)
Campos, signed as an international free agent out of Venezuela, only played in 14 games in his first season, hitting .200/.273/.260.

One former Astro celebrates the day as well ~

C John Mizerock (54)
Drafted by the Astros in the first round in 1979, Mizerock, born in Punxsutawny, Pennsylvania (the home of Groundhog Day) played in 92 games for Houston in 1983, 1985 and 1986.  As the back-up back-stop for Alan Ashby, Mizerock didn't warrant a great deal of playing time and his .181 batting average for Houston helped ensure that would be the case.

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Sunday, December 7, 2014

Happy Birthday - 12/7

Happy Birthday to ~

2B Frankeny Fernandez (18)
Fernandez signed as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic in July 2013. Fernandez started his first professional season in 2014 in the Dominican Summer League, but merited a promotion to the Gulf Coast League team in early August. In the two venues, combined, he hit .300/.407/.399 with 13 doubles, four triples, one home run, 37 RBI and 35 stolen bases.

Two former Astros have birthdays today as well ~

C Hal Smith (84)
Drafted from the Pirates in the 1961 expansion draft, Smith played in 140 games for the Colt .45's in 1962 and 1963, hitting .236/.287/.365. His best season was probably 1957 when he hit .303/.328/.483 for the Kansas City Athletics with a 37% caught stealing rate. He got his one World Series title with the Pirates in 1960.

LHP Bo Belinsky (died November 23, 2001 at 64)
A Rule 5 pick from the Phillies in 1966, Belinsky pitched in 27 games (18 starts) for Houston in 1967, going 3-9 with a 4.68 ERA and a 1.439 WHIP.

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