Results tagged ‘ Bud Norris ’

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.”

Norris excited for opportunity in Baltimore

Bud Norris, one of the few remaining players from the Astros’ previous regime, is on his way to a pennant race.

The Astros finally pulled of a deal just minutes before Wednesday’s non-waiver Trade Deadline, sending Norris to the Orioles in exchange for outfielder L.J. Hoes and another player.

“I’m excited for the opportunity,” Norris told “I’m very thankful for Houston and the organization for everything they’ve done for me and given to me. You get drafted by them and come through the Minor League system and play here for four years. Houston’s been my home for a long time. It will be hard to leave a lot of it behind me, but as I look forward I’m excited to play in Baltimore. They’ve got a great city and a great, young team. They play together and play very hard. I’m excited to go to postseason and make a run at something.”

Norris, 28, is 6-9 with a 3.93 ERA in 21 starts for the Astros, but was scratched from his scheduled start Tuesday in Baltimore, only adding to speculation a trade was in the works. At a $3 million annual salary, Norris was the Astros’ highest-paid player and is under club control for two more years beyond 2013.

Norris, the longest current tenured member of the team, has seen more than 12 trades in the last few years, with many teammates leaving Houston for greener pastures. The list includes Roy Oswalt, Hunter Pence, Lance Berkman, Michael Bourn, Wandy Rodriguez, Brett Myers, Chris Johnson, J.A. Happ and Brandon Lyon.

“I really wanted to get an opportunity play in the postseason,” he said. “You play in the big leagues to go out there to win to be the best you can be. It’s been a tough stretch the last four years in Houston and I’ve seen a lot of people get traded from them. I’ve prepared for it and I’m really excited for the opportunity to pitch in Baltimore.”

The trade punches a huge hole in the Astros’ rotation, but they have some arms coming in the Minor Leagues. Jarred Cosart, one of their top pitching prospects, made his debut earlier this month and more young arms could follow.

With Norris off the books, the Astros’ highest-paid player is veteran left-hander Erik Bedard, who’s making $1.15 million. The only other player making more than $1 million is relief pitcher Wesley Wright at $1.025 million.

The Astros traded closer Jose Veras to the Tigers on Monday in chance for outfield prospect Danry Vasquez and a player to be named later. Vasquez was the No. 4-ranked prospect in the Tigers system and was sent to Class A Quad Cities.

Norris says next 24 hours will be ‘pretty interesting’

Bud Norris, his heading swirling full of emotions about 24 hours prior to the non-waiver Trade Deadline, told reporters Tuesday afternoon in Baltimore he remains committed to the Astros, but wouldn’t mind getting a chance to play for a contender.

Norris got a call earlier that morning from manager Bo Porter, informing him he wasn’t going to get the ball in the series opener against the Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. He wasn’t traded, but the Astros wanted to sit him out as a precaution.

“They scratched me for a lot of reasons,” he said. “So it’s a little unfortunate. I wanted to go out there and pitch, but I understand there’s a lot of stuff flying around me. I’m here to support my teammates tonight and just go out and see what happens. I just have to be prepared for both ends of it. You could stay, you could go. So I’ve been concentrating on pitching here, and that’s what I’ve done for the last four years and it hasn’t changed yet, so that’s the way my focus is going to be. It’s out of my hands.”

Even as he repeatedly checked his phone in the clubhouse, Norris found time to escape the rumor mill by playing cards with teammates – the same teammates who stood behind him and jokingly read a fake report from the television that he had been traded.

Norris wouldn’t handicap whether he would be with the Astros in a day.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t want to put any numbers on it. Everybody speculates where I could go and stuff like that. It’s out of my hands. It’s the GM and the front office, and I just want to play baseball for wherever I am and right now. I’m still an Astro and that’s where my focus is.

Norris, the longest current tenured member of the team, has seen more than 12 trades in the last few years, with many teammates leaving Houston for greener pastures. He admits he can’t help but wonder what it would be like to pitch for a contender.

“Absolutely,” he said. “That’s why you play the game, is to compete and go out and win. We’ve been through it the last couple of years here, but to see 10-plus players I’ve seen [traded] in my four years is pretty crazy and I know now that maybe I’m the next piece…

“Like I said, I just want what’s best for me and my family and my future, and I’m very thankful for the Astros and everything they gave me. If they decide otherwise, I understand the reasons behind it and I still wish them well. I have to be a little selfish and take care of myself.”

Norris admitted the last few days have been nerve-wracking.

“And exciting at the same time,” he said. “My emotions are here and there and everywhere. I’m glad I had an off day [Monday] to give me time to relax and rest up. The next 24 hours will be pretty interesting.”

Norris scratched as three teams pursue him

The Astros scratched Bud Norris from his scheduled start Tuesday night against the Orioles and will instead send Lucas Harrell to the mound.

Norris, who’s on the trading block, has yet been dealt and was expected to be at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in an Astros uniform later in the day. The Astros are pulling him from the game as a precaution in advance of Wednesday’s 3 p.m. CT Trade Deadline.

A source told on Tuesday three teams were hard after Norris, including the Orioles, who are in contention in the American League East, but no deal is imminent.

Norris, 28, is 6-9 with a 3.93 ERA in 21 starts and is on pace to throw 200 innings for the first time in his career. He certainly could help plug a hole in the rotation of a contending team and the Astros are still trying to acquire as many prospects as they can.

Game 26: Norris looks sharp in win over Cards

What happened: Right-hander Bud Norris threw six scoreless innings in his final Grapefruit League start of 2013, and Rick Ankiel pushed home the winning run with a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning against his former team to lead the Astros to a 3-2 win over the Cardinals on Friday afternoon at Osceola County Stadium (boxscore).

What we learned: RHP Bud Norris is ready for Opening Day. Norris fired 84 pitches against the Cardinals and made a few mechanical adjustments as he went along, but his next major test will come when he faces the Rangers on March 31. Norris will throw a few innings in a Minor League game on Tuesday — his last appearance before the start of the season.

“Bud was outstanding,” manager Bo Porter said. “I mentioned it the last start that his secondary stuff really started to look sharp and his slider started to have some really good depth to it. He had some great changeups today. He fell behind in the count and was able to get back in the count with his changeup. Just a tremendous job of attacking the zone, working fast. The pace was great.”

What we learned II: RHP Chia-Jen Lo may have pitched his way onto the club. The Taiwanese reliever worked a scoreless ninth inning to earn the save to continue his strong showing this spring. Lo has appeared in nine games and allowed seven hits and two runs and struck out eight batters in 8 2/3 innings (2.08 ERA).

“Lo’s done a great job,” Porter said. “It’s an explosive fastball. He has command of three pitches he can throw any time in the count and a fastball that will get back on you.”

What else: 2B Jose Altuve went 2-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored to up his spring average to .370. … Chris Carter saw time at DH and went 2-for-4 with an RBI single. … RHP Jose Veras and LHP Xavier Cedeno both made their returns from the World Baseball Classic. Veras allowed one hit and two runs in two-thirds of an inning, and Cedeno recorded one out. … RHP Jose Valdez threw a scoreless inning to lower his spring ERA to 1.93. … The Astros didn’t commit an error for the second game in a row. … LHP Erik Bedard threw 70 pitches in four innings in a Minor League game against Atlanta.

What went wrong: Veras was rusty in his first Grapefruit League action since March 1, but that’s no cause for alarm. CF Justin Maxwell (0-for-4), 1B Brandon Laird (0-for-4) and 3B Matt Dominguez (0-for-3) combined to go 0-for-11 as the Astros’ red-hot offense was cooled off by the Cardinals.

What they said: “You always think you do, but that’s their decision. I’ll just wait until they tell me and go from there.” — LHP Erik Bedard when asked if he thought he’d done enough to make the team.

What’s next: RHP Philip Humber, who earlier this week learned he had secured a spot as the No. 3 starter in the Astros rotation, will start for the Astros when they make their first trip to Disney to face the Braves at 12:05 p.m. CT on Saturday. Humber will make his Astros regular-season debut April 3 against the Rangers at Minute Maid Park.

Who’s injured: OF Fernando Martinez (back) is day-to-day. … RHP Edgar Gonzalez (leg contusion) is day-to-day.

Tweet of the day:

Links of the day:

Video: Porter, Luhnow and Norris on Opening Day

Astros manager Bo Porter, general manager Jeff Luhnow and pitcher Bud Norris react to Wednesday’s announcement that Norris will start for the club on Opening Day.

Norris honored to take the ball on Opening Day

Bud Norris said he was humbled to learn Wednesday he would get the ball to start the season for the Astros. Houston manager Bo Porter named Norris as his Opening Day starter, meaning he’ll pitch against the Rangers on March 31 when the Astros play their first American League game.

Porter chose Norris over Lucas Harrell, who will pitch the second game of the season on April 2.

“I’m very honored,” Norris said. “It’s something I’ve been working for my whole career, something everyone works for their whole career. It’s a childhood dream to have an Opening Day game like that. I know Lucas had a great spring and he can pitch. It was either/or. I wasn’t mad if he got it or what not. I’m excited to go out there and give this team every opportunity to go out there and win, and very excited to do it in Houston on a nationally televised game.”

Norris said he hadn’t thought too much about starting on Opening Day, but it was clearly something he wanted. Porter told Harrell the news first Wednesday afternoon, and when Harrell was walking out of the manager’s office and Norris was walking in, Harrell gave him a pat on the rear.

“Just excited to get and it’s great to have that accolade in my honor, but by the same token having a guy [Harrell] pushing me and supporting me is outstanding,” Norris said. “I’m at a loss for words at times, but humbled by the experience.”

Norris said it was one of the most meaningful things that have happened to him as a professional.

“You don’t have an opportunity all the time to throw the first pitch of the season,” he said. “When I mean childhood dreams come, that’s truly what it is. I remember listening on the radio Opening Day and it’s a big anticipation thing. Just to know that day is I get to go out there and play baseball in the city of Houston, it’s truly exciting and I’m honored.”

Harrell, the team’s Pitcher of the Year last year, was happy for Norris.

“He’s earned it, he’s been here the longest and proven he can do it,” Harrell said. “What better guy to lead us?”

Norris named Opening Day starter, Lyles to Triple-A

Astros manager Bo Porter on Wednesday named right-hander Bud Norris as the team’s Opening Day starter. Norris will start March 31 against the Rangers, with Lucas Harrell pitching April 2 and Philip Humber going in the April 3 series finale.

It will be the first career Opening Day assignment for Norris, who went 7-13 with a 4.65 ERA in 29 starts for the Astros last year, including a 1.71 ERA at Minute Maid Park. Norris will be the fourth different pitcher to start on Opening Day for the Astros following Wandy Rodriguez (2012), Brett Myers (2011) and Roy Oswalt (2003-10).

“Bud Norris has done everything we’ve asked him to do from the time I’ve taken the job to being that leader that this organization needs,” Porter said. “You look at his home and road splits and how well he’s pitched at Minute Maid Park and how well he’s pitched in big games… I think he gets up for big games.

“Even as far back as last year, he had the second-best ERA in all of baseball pitching at home and the Opening Day starter, if you look at it, if they stay on turn and stay  healthy, that guy will get three more starts at Minute Maid Park between now and All-Star break. It was all those factors, combined with the history that goes with it. He’s our most-veteran [starting] pitcher, outside of [Erik] Bedard.”

The rest of the rotation is unknown, but the Astros did option right-handers Jordan Lyles and John Ely to Triple-A Oklahoma City, meaning Lyles won’t be in the rotation to start the year. Alex White, Brad Peacock, Edgar Gonzalez and Bedard are battling for the final two spots in the rotation, though it’s more likely Gonzalez will be used in long relief.

Lyles had allowed 36 hits and 23 earned runs in 11 2/3 innings this spring.

“When you look at it, Philip Humber has pitched terrific this spring and is an experienced guy,” Porter said. “We brought guys like Humber, White and Bedard in there because we wanted to add more experience to the rotation, but if you look at Jordan Lyles, he’s 22 years old and we believe he’s going to be part of the rotation for many years to come. Even in my conversation with him I said, ‘Roy Halladay was sent to the Minor Leagues.’ … I told him, ‘This is not a demotion, this is a delay. You go down there and take care of your business and you’ll be back here shortly.'”

Game 22: Astros play long ball to back Norris

What happened: Chris Carter hit a pair of two-run homers and drove in five runs, and Bud Norris threw six strong innings to lead the Astros to an 11-2 win over the Blue Jay sat Osceola County Stadium (boxscore).

What we learned: LF Chris Carter has his timing down. Astros manager Bo Porter could tell early in the spring that Carter’s timing wasn’t great and preached it was only a matter of time before he came around.

“Carter has done a lot of extra work with[hitting coaches] John Mallee and Dan Radison, and they’ve done a tremendous job getting things dialed up with him and you’re starting to see the power display,” he said. “We knew when he got his timing down, he has power to all fields and he’s capable of doing what he did today consistently.”

What we learned II: RHP Bud Norris is ready for Opening Day, if the Astros choose to give him the assignment. Norris worked six innings against the Blue Jays and allowed three hits and two runs in six innings.

“The slider got lazy a couple of innings,” he said. “Obviously, the third inning when they scored there were a couple of bad sliders, but once I got it out of my head to go out there and compete and be confident with it, they started coming along. You’re always trying to locate. That’s the No. 1 priority, but attacking and being aggressive is also a priority.”

What else: In addition to the two homers by Carter, Houston also got long balls from C Jason Castro and IF Brandon Laird. Carter, Castro and Laird are tied for the team lead with four homers this spring, and Carter leads with 11 RBIs. … The 32 homers the Astros have hit this spring are three more than they hit in the entire spring schedule a year ago, and there are 14 exhibition games remaining. … LHP Erik Bedard followed Norris with three scoreless innings, allowing one hit and striking out five batters, in his longest outing of the spring. Bedard had been slowed by a strained gluteal muscle, but he appears healthy now. … The Astros didn’t commit an error.

What went wrong: Well, not much. The Astros were 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position, but when you slug four homers, it doesn’t really matter.

What they said: “I don’t know how many pitches I threw, but to get the pitch count higher than it was at and to get up and down is the big key – how you feel in between innings.” – LHP Erik Bedard on his three-inning outing Sunday.

What’s next: The Astros are off Monday, but RHP Philip Humber will throw in a simulated game in Kissimmee. The team resumes Grapefruit League play Tuesday at 12:05 p.m. CT against the Jays in Dunedin, Fla., with RHP Jordan Lyles on the mound.

Who’s injured: OF Fernando Martinez (lower back strain) is day-to-day.

Tweets of the day:

Links of the day: Astros notebook is chock full of information, including more on the roster cuts that came down Sunday morning and where prospect Carlos Correa will likely begin the 2013 season, and much more.

Video of Jeff Luhnow talking roster moves:

The day in photos

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Astros wore green hats to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

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Matt Dominguez

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Bo Porter

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Doug Brocail watches Alex White in bullpen

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Catchers pick up balls after drills (Jason Castro in middle)

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Domingo Ayala with Carlos Pena

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Jeff Luhnow interviewed by Robert Ford

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Jason Castro flips his bat

Porter to use five-man rotation early in season

Astros manager Bo Porter said he’ll open the season with a five-man rotation despite the surplus of off days early in the year. The Astros have four off days in the first three weeks of the season, but Porter said he plans to stick with five starters throughout April.

“I’m a proponent of you take the off days,” he said. “You can’t duplicate the intensity we’ll have once we get to Minute Maid ballpark. That’s not to say that Spring Training, the preparation part of it, isn’t difficult, but you can’t duplicate that energy. Early in the year, I’ve always leaned on the side of giving the guys the extra off day, and later in the year if you have to skip a guy, we’ll skip a guy at that point.”

Porter also said he won’t decide on an Opening Day starting pitcher until later in camp. Right-handers Bud Norris and Lucas Harrell are the two candidates to take the mound on March 31 against the Rangers. Porter said several factors will play into the decision, including who the pitchers will match up against later in the month and where they will pitch (home or road).

Whichever pitcher starts on Opening Day would come back and start at home on April 7, but the No. 2 pitcher in the rotation would take his second start of the season on the road. Both Norris and Harrell were very strong at home last year. Norris led the NL with a 1.71 ERA at home last year, and Harrell ranked fifth with a 2.34 ERA at Minute Maid Park.

“Those are all factors that from a managerial standpoint you take those things into consideration,” Porter said. “You look at your opponents, you look at your division and you want to have your best guys going against division foes. You want to see your rotation stack up for the long haul where you have your best guys going against your division foes.”

The Astros’ first 15 games in 2013 and 18 of their first 21 games are against AL West foes.

Here’s what else is going on with the Astros:

  • The Astros are being cautious with left-hander Erik Bedard, who has a strain to his right glute. He hopes to get on the mound in the next few days.
  • Norris will start the Feb. 12 game against the Marlins in Jupiter, Fla. Norris’ scheduled day to throw would be Monday, but the Astros are off and Porter plans to make sure the players don’t have to come to the facility.

MLB Network was at Astros camp on Thursday, and here we see Sean Casey giving a fist bump to bench coach Eduardo Perez prior to their interview:

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