Mier's one-liner, Geary's exit and a catching shuffle
It was one line in a conference call, a line delivered by a teenage No. 1 draft pick. Just the same, it was about a former MVP and an All-Star who plays the same position.
What exactly did Jiovanni Mier say when asked by reporters about playing shortstop for the Astros, who drafted him No. 21 overall in Tuesday’s First-Year Player Draft?
“When I was down in Houston for the workout, one of the scouts was saying they wanted to get rid of [Miguel] Tejada and were looking for a shortstop,” he said. “I got big-eyed.”
Pause. Awkward silence.
You could call it a rookie mistake, if Mier was actually even a rookie.
In any case, the Astros brushed off the comment.
“I think it’s irrelevant,” general manager Ed Wade said. “We’ve got one guy who’s an All-Star shortstop who has a pretty good history of performing at this level and is having another All-Star-caliber season. We have an 18-year-old who’s hopefully beginning his professional baseball career pretty soon.
“Who we selected [in the draft] today or yesterday and how it impacts the composition of the big club in the short term is irrelevant.”
Wade even made light of the situation.
“Hopefully that’s not part of the recruiting speech,” he joked.
The Astros’ decision to outright relief pitcher Geoff Geary is certainly a curious one. He was one of the team’s most dependable members of the bullpen last year and had only pitched in 16 games, though ineffective, this year before going on the disabled list.
If Geary wants to continue to get paid by the Astros, he’ll have to accept his Minor League assignment and report to Round Rock and work his way back to the Majors. If not, he’s a free agent and will have to convince another team to give him a paycheck.
Speaking of curious moves, manager Cecil Cooper had Humberto Quintero – and not Ivan Rodriguez – behind the plate for Wednesday’s game. I-Rod had caught each of Wandy Rodriguez’s previous 12 starts and had been praised for helping the left-hander blossom.
Wandy allowed nine hits and five runs in 4 2/3 innings in his previous start five days earlier against Pittsburgh, and Ivan Rodriguez told general manager Ed Wade afterwards he thought Wandy was tipping pitches. Wandy said repeatedly he couldn’t find anything on videotape.
“He and Pudge had worked together for 10 or 12 starts, and I just said a change might be what’s needed for awhile,” Cooper said. “I’m going to start it today and see what happens. It’s not something Pudge is really happy with but I understand that. He wants to be an everyday guy and he and Wandy have had a good run.
“I think Q is playing pretty good. Let’s change it up and see what happens. It’s like changing Lance [Berkman] from third to fifth [in the order] or Hunter [Pence] from fifth to sixth. You have to make changes sometimes.”