Astros are a loose bunch

When relief pitcher Wesley Wright was doing a television interview prior to Wednesday’s game, he got a shaving cream pie to the face, courtesy of – who else? – LaTroy Hawkins. The same LaTroy Hawkins who was the mastermind behind the rookies dressing up in tight workout outfits for the flight to Philadelphia for the final road trip of the season.

As the season draws to a close, the Astros are certainly a loose bunch. And that is just fine with interim manager Dave Clark.

“I like a loose atmosphere,” Clark said. “I think that’s how you’re able to go out and be yourself and play the game like it’s supposed to be played and have fun doing it. That’s exactly what it’s all about it, trying to have fun and win ballgames.”

Clark believes the manager and coaching staff have to create a positive atmosphere. He doesn’t want players getting too high when they’ve won a bunch of games in a row or too low when they’re struggling to put anything together.

“We want it on an even keel,” Clark said. “There are times you’re getting your butt kicked but you have to find a way to get it done, find a way to keep it at an even keel. A lot of that comes from the veterans as well. That’s the kind of atmosphere I definitely want, and that’s the kind of atmosphere I’ll definitely command.”


Wandy Rodriguez is scheduled to start the first game of the final series of the season Friday in New York. He will be followed by Yorman Bazardo on Saturday and Wilton Lopez on Sunday, but interim manager Dave Clark said Lopez could be used in the bullpen prior to Sunday.

The Astros are shorthanded in the bullpen with Chad Paronto perhaps unavailable for the final four games of the season because of a strained left hamstring.

“The thought process behind that is maybe put Lopez back in the pen and see where we’re at at that particular time,” Clark said. “The last game of the season, if we have to run them all out there, we’ll do it.”


Relief pitcher Chad Paronto, who had to be helped off the field in the seventh inning Tuesday after straining his left hamstring, said he was sore on Wednesday, though not as sore as he thought he’d be. Paronto said he’d like to pitch again in the final days of the season, but interim manager Dave Clark suggested the right-hander is done.

“It’s frustrating to finally get a chance to get out there and show people what I can do and get hurt,” Paronto said. “I’m not as effective when I pitch every five or six days. Being a sinker-baller, I do better when I pitch every one or two days.”

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