May 2010

Astros GM Ed Wade explains roster moves

The Astros made a pair of roster moves following Monday’s loss to the Diamondbacks, placing left-hander Tim Byrdak on the 15-day disabled list with a right hamstring strain and optioning right-hander Sammy Gervacio to Triple-A Round Rock.

The club recalled right-hander Wilton Lopez from Round Rock and purchased the contract of left-hander Gustavo Chacin, putting the 40-man roster at its limit. Chacin will pitch as the lefty out of the pen in place of Byrdak.

Astros general manager Ed Wade said Byrdak’s hamstring had been bothering for several weeks.

“[Head athletic trainer] Nate Lucero called me after he came out of the game tonight and said Tim said he had trouble finishing his pitches, and Nate went back and looked at video of last year compared to this year and it was apparent to him he was really having trouble coming down on his landing leg,” Wade said. “It seemed apparent he was trying to compensate for the hamstring.”

Wade talked to Byrdak (1-0, 5.23 ERA in 13 games) after the game and he confirmed that was the case.

“Before the hamstring blows or he hurts his arm, we put him on the DL and hopefully it resolves itself in 15 days,” Wade said.

Chacin was 1-1 with a 3.65 ERA in five starts for the Express. He’s allowed 24 hits, six walks and struck out 14 batters in 24 2/3 innings. He was a non-roster invitee to Spring Training.

Wade said left-hander Wesley Wright was also given consideration for being called up, but he threw six innings Monday.

“I talked to [Round Rock manager] Marc Bombard and he said he Chacin could handle the role in the bullpen and [pitching coach Brad Arnsberg] is familiar with him from Spring Training and their days together in Toronto,” Wade said.

Gervacio, who threw one-third of an inning Monday and gave up a two-run single, is 0-1 with a 12.27 ERA in 3 2/3 innings in six appearances. Lopez was 2-1 with a 5.40 ERA in three relief appearances at Round Rock and was 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA and five strikeouts in four relief appearances for the Astros earlier this year.

Brett Myers proving to be a great pickup

Brett Myers is 1-2 with a 3.82 ERA in five starts for the Astros. Those aren’t terrific numbers, but they’re not bad, either. He’s certainly proven to be a solid addition, considering he occupies the No. 3 spot in the rotation nicely and he competes and eats innings. Other than the sudden influx of awful (and predictable and unoriginal) hip-hop music that now permiates the clubhouse almost every night, I’m glad the guy is around. He and I are inseparable these days.

Myers has pitched six innings twice and seven innings three times in five starts. Sure, he’s allowed 41 hits in 33 innings, but that’s his style. He attacks hitters and challenges them to hit his best stuff. Jason Heyward and Nate McLouth made him pay Friday by hitting homers, but if Myers gives up a pair of singles he usually works his way out of it. The homers have been few and far in between so far.

Sending Myers to the mound every five days gives the Astros piece of mind, the kind of which they wouldn’t have if Myers wasn’t around. Bud Norris would be occupying the No. 3 spot, and he’s young and has been inconsistent. Myers is a battler and a proven innings-eater and is doing just what the Astros hoped he would when owner Drayton McLane decided to go above his desired payroll goal and sign Myers to a deal with a guaranteed $5.1 million this year and potentially $11 million over two years.

So far, so good.