Results tagged ‘ Cecil Cooper ’

Wade, Astros preparing for arduous managerial search

Don’t expect the Astros have a full-time manager in place before the end of the season.

Astros general manager Ed Wade said club officials have yet to sit down and have in-depth internal conversations with regard to candidate lists, and the process could drag into November, especially if one of the candidates is on a coaching staff that reaches the World Series.

The Astros on Monday dismissed manager Cecil Cooper after two years and named third base coach Dave Clark interim manager. Clark will be in the mix for the full-time job at season’s end.

“Don’t call me a liar if we end up interviewing somebody in the interim,” Wade said. “I just don’t think it’s going to flow at that pace. We’ll have our internal discussions and try to come up with a manageable list, and then we’ll begin the process at some point thereafter.”

Wade hired two managers while he was general manager of the Phillies – Larry Bowa and Charlie Manuel, who led the Phillies to the World Series championship last year. Wade was an assistant general manager when Terry Francona was hired by the Phillies.

“I fired Terry, and I told him it was the biggest mistake I ever made in my baseball career,” Wade said.

Wade said he’d like to hire a manager that has managerial experience in the Major Leagues or Minor Leagues and coaching experience if the Majors. That would appear to eliminate Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio, both of whom have had their names surface in the media.

“I think experience goes a long way,” Wade said. “I agree with people that say just about everyone interviews well. I don’t think you can be overwhelmed in an interview setting, so you have to look at the individual’s body of work and what they’ve accomplished and what other people have said about them, people that have worked with him.

“You try to take all that information and make the right decision. I’ve been fortunate in the time I’ve been in baseball to work with some outstanding managers. I’ve worked with guys who were excellent tacticians on the field; I’ve worked with guys who were great in dealing with players. If you find somebody who can bring all those attributes to the job, you probably have Bobby Cox.”

Wade likes stand-up guys, managers who will pat players on the back when they need it and kick them in the tail when they need it.

“We’re going to have some core veteran guys on the club, we’re going to have young guys on the club,” Wade said. “There will be a lot of dialogue with the candidates about the dynamics of our team, the dynamics of our roster. We’ve got to ask them for input how they feel working with a club that’s a mixture of veterans and younger guys.

“There are some managers who are more comfortable or only comfortable with a veteran club, and there are some mangers who are developmentally oriented and like to take young players and see them grow. The way we’re going to be comprised next year would indicate a manager has to be willing to do both – work with veteran guys and get their respect and maintain the respect of those players, while at the same time having a willingness to bring the younger kids along and help to build what will become a new core nucleus.”

 

Astros news and notes from a quiet Saturday

Astros manager Cecil Cooper said infielder Jeff Keppinger was likely unavailable for Saturday’s game because of a problem with his right hip. Keppinger left Friday’s game with a back strain.

“He’s on the table and probably not available tonight,” Cooper said. “They’re gong to give him some treatment and keep him inside. Probably late in the game he’ll let me know if he’s even available to do anything, and I don’t think he is. We’re short in that area, but [Edwin] Maysonet can play all around and [Aaron] Boone play, so we’ll be OK.”

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Doug Brocail pitched in his first game in a month when he threw a scoreless inning Friday against the Phillies. He missed 24 games with a right shoulder strain.

“He threw strikes,” Cooper said. “He’s not the Brocail we’ve seen in the past. Not real crisp. He had two sharply hit balls. He did a good job and threw strikes, and that’s the main thing. He pitched down in the strike zone pretty good and you just have keep running him out there when you can.”

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Cooper believes Hunter Pence turned the corner after struggling for most of August. Pence entered Saturday on a seven-game hitting streak, during which he’s batting .391. He went 2-for-3 on Friday with a two-run homer to right field.

“When he’s at his best, he drives the ball to right-center,” Cooper said. “Hopefully we’ll see him climb and get that average back up over .400 and start climbing.”

Brocail feels better after tip from Oswalt

Even after more than 20 years in professional baseball, relief pitcher Doug Brocail still seeks advice. Brocail summoned teammate Roy Oswalt to play catch with him Wednesday with hopes he could find out why he was having trouble getting his arm in the proper slot.

About 10 throws into the pitch-and-catch session, Oswalt pegged it. He told Brocail he needed to get his front side (left side) and his left arm higher during his delivery, which would, in turn, cause him to get his back side and throwing arm higher.

“He got me up and out,” said Brocail, who’s been limited to 8 1/3 innings because of three different stints on the disabled list this year. “I’ve been so lost mechanically. When I came back and was sore and when I blew out my leg I have been throwing with a really low arm slot.

“About the 10th throw with me yesterday, he walked me through it and got me to a comfortable position. He got me way back on top of the ball, and the ball was coming out of my hand about seven or eight mph harder than I’ve been throwing all year.”

Oswalt could tell a difference right away.

“Pitchers go through different funks where they don’t really know what they’re doing,” he said. “You can kind of feel the ball isn’t coming out of your hand right. There’s got to be a reason a lot of times, more than just the obvious. Doug was telling me that he felt he wasn’t getting over the top of the ball because his arm wasn’t up high enough.

“Usually that stems from your front side. Everything operates from your front side. Instead of just telling somebody to get your arm up higher, which is not really the answer you’re looking for, you can correct something to allow them to get their arm up.

“I noticed his forearm, his lead arm, was down, and instead of throwing on top of the ball he was throwing around the ball. You can tell a lot of stuff by the spin of the ball, and I could tell the ball had a tilt to it instead of an over-the-top spin. That stems from not coming over the top of the ball.”

Brocail, who’s currently on the disabled list with a right shoulder strain, said he felt “phenomenal” today and wants to get on the mound and throw in the bullpen Friday or Saturday. He said he would have to go on a Minor League rehab before returning, hopefully by the start of September.

“We haven’t talked that far, but I’d like to get back out there,” he said. “I need innings. I haven’t done anything for the team all year, and hopefully this will get me over the jump and put myself in better position to throw the baseball.”

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Astros manager Cecil Cooper tried to talk shortstop Miguel Tejada into taking a day off when the two visited in the manager’s office before Thursday’s game, but Tejada convinced Cooper to keep writing his name in the lineup card. Tejada has started all but two games this year and leads the league in multi-hit games and hits.

“I’m the kind of guy, I like to play every day,” he said. “I don’t think I can help the team sitting on the bench. It doesn’t matter how tired I am, I can do the job. This time of year, everybody’s tired. As soon as I put on my uniform, I felt good to play nine innings.”

Cooper said he will have to settle for trying to give Tejada occasional innings off.

“He didn’t one, so we’re going to roll until I feel like he really needs it,” Cooper said. “He needs it, but he probably won’t get it.”

 

 

 

Rice mentions Cooper in HOF speech

Near the end of Jim Rice‘s Hall of Fame induction speech Sunday he ran down a long list of people he wanted to thank, including former coaches and his family. One of the last people he mentioned was Astros manager Cecil Cooper, Rice’s former roommate and teammate with the Boston Red Sox.

The two have remained close friends through the years, and Cooper sent Rice a text message and voice mail Sunday to send along his congratulations. Here’s what Rice had to say about Cooper:

“And, of course, a good friend of mine, Cecil Cooper, my roomie, my ace, my buddy, my friend to the end.”

Cooper was touched by Rice’s words.

“Jimmy and I are good friends and have been friends a long, long time,” he said. “We go back to the early ’70s, and I’m just pleased that he’s in there, he’s a Hall of Famer. He deserves it.”

Cooper recorded the induction ceremony and watched it on the plane to Chicago on Sunday.

“I didn’t expect anything differently from Jim,” he said. “He’s a good guy. Our families are close and always visit each other during Thanksgiving. We’ve been doing that for over 30 years.”

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Astros infielder Darin Erstad, who’s been on the DL for a week with a hamstring strain, took some batting practice Monday, but it wasn’t a big deal to the gritty Erstad. He said the hamstring was never an issue while he was hitting, but the challenge will be when he begins running.

Also, Aaron Boone took some batting practice Monday in his quest to return to action from March heart surgery.

Manager Cecil Cooper said LaTroy Hawkins, who’s been suffering from upper back pain and shingles, would be available Monday after his MRI came back negative, and infielder Edwin Maysonet would rejoin the club Tuesday after he went home to Puerto Rico to be with his wife, who was expecting a child.

Cooper apologizes during team meeting

Astros manager Cecil Cooper called a team meeting prior to Thursday’s game in which, according to more than one veteran player, he apologized to the team for forgetting to congratulate Ivan Rodriguez following Wednesday’s game. Rodriguez caught his 2,227th career game Wednesday, breaking the all-time games caught record.

Cooper was angry with how his team played in Wednesday’s 5-4, 10-inning loss to the Rangers and held a team meeting following the game in which players said he criticized their play. This didn’t set well with some players, who believed the story of the night was Rodriguez.

The players bought Rodriguez a bottle of Cristal champagne and signed it for him, while each had a bottle of champagne they got Pudge to sign for them. Cooper eventually congratulated Rodriguez after addressing the media Wednesday night.

Astros owner Drayton McLane arrived in Arlington prior to Thursday’s game and himself congratulated Rodriguez during batting practice, giving him a hug. McLane also chatted briefly with Cooper at the batting cage before disappearing to participate in a ceremony with former President George W. Bush, who lives in Dallas and was at the ballpark to participate in the re-naming of the owner’s suite.

Bush, who owned the Rangers when Rodriguez was a younster, paid a visit to the Astros clubhouse and congratulated Pudge on his record-setting game. Rodriguez responded by giving Bush one of his bats he used from the game last night.

The former President made his away around the clubhouse and stopped in manager Cecil Cooper’s office. Astros pitcher Tim Byrdak asked Bush if he could hug him, and after the embrace he yelled at his teammates: “And you said it couldn’t be done.”

Bush responded with, “Just as long as he didn’t kiss me.”

Here are two pictures, courtesy of Astros senior director of digital media Alyson Footer:

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