Brocail, Bagwell and Manny on prowl in LA

Relief pitcher Doug Brocail was back on the road with the Astros on Thursday, which meant the clubhouse scene was a little more jovial. Brocail took pride in finishing a crossword puzzle and then welcomed reporters to get into the box against him.

That’s because Brocail will be throwing a simulated game Friday. He’s been on the disabled list since May 4 with a strained left hamstring and was giddy over getting back on the mound to face hitters and field his position.

Depending on how he does Friday, Brocail could be close to setting a schedule for a Minor League rehab assignment.

“I need to get in the situation of breaking to first [base],” Brocail said. “You can’t really get that until you get in the game. As much as I hate rehab assignments, this one is going to be a necessity only because if I over-stride or if I move too quickly, I’ve got to know what it’s going to do.”

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Astros manager Cecil Cooper said he will approach pitching to Dodgers slugger Manny Ramirez during this weekend’s series in Los Angeles the same way he has pitched to Cardinals All-Star Albert Pujols.

“If there’s a chance to walk him when he has a chance to hurt you, you have to walk him,” Cooper said. “The only way to do that is you have to get the guys out in front of him. Will he change the strategy? Not a whole lot. But you can’t let him beat you.”

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Jeff Bagwell, the Astros’ all-time leader in home runs and RBIs and a special assistant to the general manager, is making a rare road trip with the club this weekend in Los Angeles.

“I think he’s here more to visit with [Dodgers catcher Brad] Ausmus than he is with us,” Houston manager Cecil Cooper said.

Actually, Bagwell will remain with the big club through the weekend before heading to the Astros’ Single-A affiliate in Lancaster next week to check some of the organization’s prospects.

6 Comments

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