August 2013

Wright thanks the fans of Houston

Left-handed pitcher Wesley Wright was called into Astros manager Bo Porter’s office by pitching coach Doug Brocail just prior to game time Monday, where general manager Jeff Luhnow delivered the news he was being traded to the Rays in exchange for money.

In 54 relief appearances this season, Wright was 0-4 with a 3.92 ERA.

“I’m excited,” Wright told MLB.com. “It’s an opportunity to go pitch for a contending team and something I’ve always wanted to do, and to get this opportunity now is kind of shocking, but I’m also excited about it.”

Wright was the longest-tenured member of the team, appearing in 71 games for the Astros in 2008 after they plucked him away from the Dodgers in the Rule 5 Draft. He was also the team’s second-highest paid player, meaning left-hander Erik Bedard is the only remaining player making more than $1 million ($1.15 million).

“The organization has been great to me and my family throughout the past six seasons,” Wright said. “They gave me an opportunity to see what I can do at the big league level. I’m really grateful to the organization and the fans and the city. They were really supportive to me and my teammates. Even in the down years, they supported me and all I can say is thanks to the city of Houston and the fans.”

Luhnow also announced that the Astros will select the contract of right-handed pitcher Philip Humber from Triple-A Oklahoma City on Tuesday. Humber will join the Astros in Oakland on Tuesday.  In his last seven appearances (in relief) with OKC, Humber was 2-0 with a 2.38 ERA with two walks and 14 strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings pitched.

Humber began the 2013 season in the Astros starting rotation, making seven starts and nine appearances overall before eventually being outrighted to Oklahoma City.

Astros to add another rookie to bullpen

The Astros will call up left-handed pitcher Kevin Chapman from Triple-A Oklahoma City on Friday and will designate left-hander Travis Blackley for assignment. Chapman will be in uniform against the Rangers for would be his Major League debut.

Chapman, 25, was 1-2 with a 3.20 ERA in 45 appearances for the RedHawks with two saves and 61 strikeouts in 50 2/3 innings of work. In his last 10 games, he has posted a 1.42 ERA with 20 strikeouts in 12 2/3 innings pitched. He earned a save in his last appearance on Tuesday, throwing a scoreless inning against Colorado Springs. For the season, left-handed hitters are hitting .193 against him.

Blackley, acquired by the Astros from Oakland on April 4 in exchange for Minor League outfielder Jake Goebbert, was 1-1 with a 4.89 ERA in 42 appearances with Houston this year.

Chapman, acquired last spring along with outfielder D’Andre Toney from the Royals in exchange for Jason Bourgeois and Humberto Quintero, will be the second rookie reliever to join Houston’s bullpen in as many games. Jorge De Leon was called up prior to Wednesday’s game, but he’s yet to make his Major League debut.

The addition of Chapman gives Houston five rookies in their bullpen, joining De Leon, Chia-Jen Lo, Josh Fields and Josh Zeid. Wesley Wright and Lucas Harrell are the only veterans in the bullpen.

Peacock to get ball Sunday against Twins

Right-hander Brad Peacock, who has been putting up terrific numbers at Triple-A Oklahoma City, will be recalled to make start Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Twins on Target Field.

The Astros were forced to find a starter for the series finale after Dallas Keuchel came out of the bullpen and worked 1 2/3 innings in a 13-inning loss to the Twins on Saturday. Peacock, who won’t be officially added to the roster until Sunday, is 6-2 with a 2.73 ERA in 14 games (13 starts) with the RedHawks.

“He’s thrown the ball extremely well,” Astros manager Bo Porter said. “That’s obviously factored into the decision-making.”

Peacock, 25, began the year in the Astros rotation and went 1-3 with an 8.44 ERA in five starts before being moved to the bullpen, where he posted a 7.04 ERA in four appearances (7 2/3 innings). Porter said it’s “definitely a possibility” that Peacock could remain in the rotation.

The Astros have had to shuffle their rotation quite a bit in recent days. Lucas Harrell started in place of Bud Norris prior to the Trade Deadline on Tuesday, and Brett Oberholtzer took Erik Bedard’s place Wednesday when he was pushed back with shoulder soreness.

The team has set its rotation for next week’s series against the Red Sox: Oberholtzer on Monday, Jordan Lyles on Tuesday and Jarred Cosart on Wednesday.

Look at how the Astros roster has changed

The Astros only have 11 players remaining on their active 25-man roster that were on their Opening Day roster (those players are in bold):

Starting pitchers (2) — Bud Norris, Lucas Harrell, Philip Humber, Brad Peacock and Erik Bedard.

Relief pitchers (2) — Jose Veras, Josh Fields, Hector Ambriz, Xavier Cedeno, Wesley Wright, Rhiner Cruz, Edgar Gonzalez.

Catchers (2) — Jason Castro, Carlos Corporan.

Infielders (3) — Brett Wallace, Jose Altuve, Ronny Cedeno, Marwin Gonzalez, Matt Dominguez, Carlos Pena.

Outfielders (2) — Chris Carter, Justin Maxwell, Rick Ankiel, Brandon Barnes, J.D. Martinez.

Facing Norris will be ‘weird’ for Astros

Tonight will be flat-out weird. The Astros are going to face off against former teammate Bud Norris, who was traded to the Orioles on Wednesday in exchange for outfielder L.J. Hoes, left-handed pitching prospect Josh Hader and a Competitive Balance Draft pick.

Norris has spent his whole career with the Astros and will be wearing orange and black tonight instead of orange and blue. He’s pitching in a pennant race for the first time in his career, so how will he respond? The Astros aren’t exactly the 1927 Yankees, but on Wednesday they bashed out 15 hits and 11 runs. Wonder what Bud was thinking?

Astros catcher Jason Castro said tonight’s game will unusual.

“It will be interesting,” he said. “It’s kind of weird, kind of surreal, I think now just having caught him so much I don’t think I’m going to have to watch any video on him tomorrow, but we’ll see. It will be fun and hopefully we can put up something similar to what we did [Wednesday}. It would be nice. Keep swinging it. He’ll do just fine over there, but hopefully that starts after we’re out of here.”

When the Astros traded Wandy Rodriguez to the Pirates last year, his first start came against the Astros at Minute Maid Park. Rodriguez went six innings against the Astros and allowed six hits and three runs.

This feels different. Norris was in the Astros clubhouse yesterday, took the team bus to the ballpark. Now he’s on the other side.

“He’s going to definitely try to have a good day and hopefully we stay with our approaches sand everything that’s been working the last couple of days,” Castro said. “We know what to expect as far as the stuff that he’s gotten and how he’s going to attack a little bit. We’ll see how he’ll adjust, and it will be fun.”

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