Results tagged ‘ Clint Barmes ’

Barmes tells he’s agreed to terms with Pirates

Clint Barmes, who appeared in 123 games for the Astros last season, has agreed to terms on a two-year, $10.5-million contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Barmes, who was in Pittsburgh on Monday for a physical, told he chose the Pirates because they guaranteed him two years and he was able to reunite with manager Clint Hurdle, who was Barmes’ manager in Colorado when he broke into the Major Leagues. It also appealed to Barmes he could remain at shortstop.

“In talking with my agent and talking with the club, they were wanting to make a decision and they wanted to know by pretty much yesterday who their shortstop was going to be so they could continue to move on,” Barmes said. “It was one of those things they had a few others guys lined up behind me, and the way it was explained to me I was the first in line as far as who they wanted. They threw a great offer.”

Barmes, 32, played a Gold Glove-caliber shortstop last season for the Astros, who couldn’t afford to re-sign him during their rebuilding phase. Barmes missed the first couple of weeks of the season after breaking his hand in Spring Training and wound up hitting .244 with 12 homers and 39 RBIs.

“I definitely enjoyed my time in Houston,”  he said. “I know talking to [general manager] Ed Wade and the plans for the club and different things, I hate to say that I didn’t fit. But the direction they were heading made it hard. I enjoyed my time there, especially the people in the organization and my teammates and I think their heading in the right direction.”

Barmes said Milwaukee talked to him about a possible two-year deal, but the Brewers wanted to wait until the Prince Fielder situation played out before making any moves.

“We decided [Pittsburgh’s] offer was too good to pass up,” Barmes said.

The Astros could choose to find a shortstop through a trade or free agency or fill void the internally with Angel Sanchez or Jimmy Paredes, who could be moved from third base, though the club is reluctant to do that.

“We’ll have to explore different options to find a front-line shortstop or someone to share time with Sanchez,” Wade said.

Because Barmes is a Type-B free agent, the Astros will receive a compensation draft pick in next year’s First-Year Player Draft if he signs officially with the Pirates before Wednesday.

Could the Astros lose compensation for Barmes?

One of the biggest the decisions the Astros need to make this offseason is deciding whether to offer arbitration to free agent shortstop Clint Barmes, who’s a Type B free agent. The Astros are unlikely to re-sign Barmes, but if they offer him arbitration and he accepts, the team would be on the hook for about $5 million (he made $3.92 million last season).

That decision, however, could be pointless if a report in the New York Post is true. The newspaper, citing two officials briefed on collective bargaining talks, reported compensation for Type-B free agents will be eliminated this offseason. Presently, teams who offer arbitration to Type-B free agents and watch them sign with another team are given a sandwich pick between the first and second round in next year’s First-Year Player Draft.

If the elimination of compensation is part of the new Basic Agreement, the Astros would have no reason to offer arbitration to Barmes, who doesn’t appear to be in the team’s plans going forward because of his salary.

Barmes would like to return

Astros shortstop Clint Barmes is facing free agency this off-season for the first time in his career. He’s certainly open to exploring his options, but he’s had a good experience in Houston and would like to return to the Astros.

The Astros are rebuilding and could use some veteran influences, and there are no top shortstop prospects on the immediate horizon.

“I’d love to come back here, but I haven’t put a whole lot of thought into that yet,” he said. “Coming up to the off-season, I haven’t talked to my agent much about that at all to even know what other options there even are. There’s going to be a lot of changes [with the Astros] and a lot of things going on, which is another reason nobody knows what direction it’s going to head.”

Barmes, traded to the Astros from the Rockies last year, has been a valuable commodity on and off the field. A broken hand suffered in Spring Training led to a slow start at the plate, but he’s one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball. He’s hitting .243 with nine homers and 29 RBIs in 104 games.

Astros react to loss to Jays

Here is some cut-and-dried reaction from the Astros’ 7-5 loss to the Jays on Saturday, a game in which SS Clint Barmes let a ground ball roll under his legs in the sixth to help Toronto rally from a 4-0 deficit against Brett Myers. Jays slugger Jose Bautista hit two homers, including one off Myers following the Barmes error.

Clint Barmes on the error:

“We’ve made mistakes a lot of times this year that have hurt us, and I made a really big one today and it’s pretty frustrating, that’s for sure. Especially with what our record reads and kind of how it’s gone this year.”

Manager Brad Mills on the error:

“If you had to choose who you would want the ball hit to, it would be Clint. He always makes that play. It seems like when a team is able to hit home runs like they did, they can put runs on the board in a hurry. Myers did a good job of battling all the way through, but any time you give Major League teams extra outs, they’re going to be able to take advantage of them.”

Brett Myers:

“He’s solid every day for us. It’s my fault. I should have picked him up there. I thought I made a pretty good pitch. I hadn’t thrown Bautista a breaking ball day, and it just so happens he’s sitting on it right there. That’s the way it is, I guess.”

Barmes returns to Astros lineup

Clint Barmes makes his Astros debut tonight when the Astros open a three-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers at 7:05 p.m. CT at Minute Maid Park. Barmes, acquired in a trade from the Colorado Rockies in November, broke his hand when he was hit by a pitch in a March 25 game Spring Training game against the Yankees — five weeks ago tonight.

In case you missed it, the Astros activated Barmes following Thursday’s loss to the Cardinals and designated infielder Joe Inglett for assignment.

Barmes, as expected, is starting at shortstop and hitting second, which means Angel Sanchez isn’t starting. Sanchez started the first 25 games of the season at shortstop and has batted .300 with with 15 RBIs, which is tied for second on the team. Sanchez’s 30 hits are third on the team behind Brett Wallace and Hunter Pence, both of whom have 31 hits.

What Barmes brings to the club offensively remains to be seen, but his presence should be a huge boost for the defense. Barmes is a career .254 hitter with with 61 homers and 285 RBIs and is two years removed from hitting 23 homers and driving in 76 runs with the Rockies.

The Astros, who are trying to snap a two-game losing streak, will send ace Brett Myers (1-0, 3.31 ERA) to the mound for his sixth start of the year. Myers is 9-0 with a 2.10 ERA in 16 career starts at Minute Maid Park with the Astros. The game is a rematch of Saturday’s game in Milwaukee, with Shaun Marcum starting for the Brewers.

Here is the Astros lineup:

CF Michael Bourn

SS Clint Barmes

RF Hunter Pence

LF Carlos Lee

1B Brett Wallace

2B Bill Hall

3B Chris Johnson

C Humberto Quintero

RHP Brett Myers

Game 32: 8 pitchers take turns

The biggest news Saturday at Astros camp came in the morning, when it was revealed starting shortstop Clint Barmes would miss four to six weeks with a broken bone in his left hand, suffered when he was hit by a pitch Friday.

That’s a big blow to an Astros team that already has seen starting catcher Jason Castro likely lost for the entire season. The NL Central has been hit hard by injuries this spring, with Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals out for the year, Zach Greinke of the Brewers starting the season on the disabled list and Reds pitchers Homer Bailey and Johnny Cueto injured to begin the season.

Here’s the recap of the Astros’ 10-0 loss to the Nationals:

What went right: Eight different pitchers got work in Saturday, with reliever Henry Villar starting and giving up two hits and two earned runs in two innings. Wilton Lopez, Fernando Abad and Gustavo Chacin each threw a scoreless inning.

Abad, who’s struggled mightily this spring, had better command of his fastball, keeping it down better in the zone than he has in previous outings. Enerio Del Rosario stretched his scoreless innings streak to 12 1/3, but it wasn’t without some drama.

He loaded the bases with two outs in the fifth and would have escaped the inning had he not dropped a throw at first base, allowing an unearned to score. The next batter ripped a line drive back at him, and Del Rosario knocked it down and scurried to throw him out to end the inning.

Jason Bourgeois and Brett Wallace had the only hits for the Astros, both singles. Wallace also walked and is hitting .365.

What went wrong: Playing without Michael bourn, Clint Barmes and Bill Hall, the Astros were held to two singles, going 2-for-28 as a team. Angel Sanchez was 0-for-4, and Hunter Pence and Oswaldo Navarro were 0-for-3. Wallace and Del Rosario made fielding errors.

On the mound, Brandon Lyon allowed two hits and one earned run in one inning, Mark Melancon gave up two earned in one inning and Aneury Rodriguez squandered three earned runs and two hits in one inning.

What they said: “You start feeling sorry for yourself and all you have to do is look at what’s happening at other people’s camps. That’s why you try to build as much depth as you can, and that’s why every general manager in the game starts to hold their breath the last 10 days of Spring Training and hope things like this don’t occur.” — Astros general manager Ed Wade on the injury to Clint Barmes.

What’s next: In the final spring game of the season at Kissimmee’s Osceola County Stadium, the Astros will send Wandy Rodriguez to the mound in his final start before the regular season. Ryan Rowland-Smith, Aneury Rodriguez and Ross Wolf are also going to get in some work.

Injury update: SS Clint Barmes was diagnosed with a broken bone in his left hand and will be out four to six weeks. … C J.R. Towles woke up Saturday with back tightness and was scratched from the lineup. He’ll be reevaluated Sunday.

Here are today’s photos:

The Astros packed their truck for Houston on Saturday morning.

Bill Hall and special advisor Enos Cabell chat before Saturday's workout

Alberto Arias talks with trainers and Dr. David Lintner after throwing off the mound. He hasn't pitched a spring game this year because of shoulder tendinitis.

Jeff Keppinger, who is slowly recovering from Jan. 14 foot surgery, plays catch in the outfield Saturday morning.

Barmes out 4-6 weeks with broken hand

The Astros lost their second starting player to an injury this spring when it was revealed Saturday morning that shortstop Clint Barmes would miss four to six weeks with a non-displaced fracture of the fifth metacarpal bone of his left hand.

Barmes was hit by a pitch in the hand — the same hand he broke in the Minor Leagues in 2002 — on Friday night against the Yankees in Tampa. The hand will be immobilized, and Barmes will be examined in the next few days in Houston by Dr. Tom Mehlhoff.

“It’s definitely pretty frustrating to hear I’m going to have to miss time,” Barmes said. “After last night, talking to the doctor and going through some of the tests he was giving me, it looked very promising. There was a small fracture in the X-ray, and they’re saying it needs time to heal before we push it and try to get back to doing baseball activities.

“I’m hoping and am going to be trying to get back as soon as possible, but I can only push it as much as they’ll let me.”

The injury means Barmes will begin the season on the disabled list, leaving the Astros searching for another shortstop. They have four infielders in camp — Matt Downs, Angel Sanchez, Anderson Hernandez and Oswaldo Navarro — who were competing for two backup spots. Tommy Manzella, who started at shortstop on Opening Day last year, was optioned to Minor League camp two days ago.

Earlier this spring, starting catcher Jason Castro tore his anterior cruciate ligament and is lost for most of the season.

The Astros traded for Barmes in November to be their starting shortstop. He hit .235 with eight homers and 50 RBIs in 133 games last year for Colorado, and is two years removed from hitting 23 homers.

Game 31: Shuck steals the show

Friday’s game against the Yankees wasn’t televised, so there’s no video evidence that will tell the story of the outstanding game outfielder J.B. Shuck had. The evidence was on Shuck’s uniform, which was covered from neck to feet in dirt.

In short, Shuck played like a guy trying to make a team. Getting the start in left field before more than 11,000 fans under the lights at Steinbrenner Field, Shuck stole the show in a 6-4 loss to the Yankees. He went 1-for-4 at the plate with a hustling double and an RBI, but he made two terrific diving catches and threw out a runner at the plate.

“Shuck had a great game,” Astros pitcher Nelson Figueroa said. “Shuck was outstanding. It could have been a lot worse day if it wasn’t for Shuck. He made some great plays.”

Shuck made a diving catch in the left-center gap in the second to rob Eduardo Nunez of a hit, coming out of nowhere to corral the ball. The crowd gave him a standing ovation. In the fourth, he charged towards the infield and went horizontal to catch Brett Gardner’s blooper for an out. In the sixth, he fielded a fly ball and threw a rope to the plate to complete a double play.

“I got a bead on it in the gap and I though I had a chance and just dove for it and was able to get to it,” Shuck said. “The other just happened to stay up long enough and I was able to slide in there and avoid running into [shortstop Angel] Sanchez. You don’t think about it and you just go after it.”

Shuck, 23, is a non-roster invitee who’s battling with Jason Bourgeois for the final bench spot. He definitely  helped himself Friday.

Here’s the recap:

What went right: Outside of Shuck’s great game, there were a few other encouraging signs. Chris Johnson went 1-for-3 with a triple and a run scored, and Matt Downs came off the bench and went 1-for-1 with a double and is now hitting .286 in Grapefruit League action.

Michael Bourn, Jason Michaels, Hunter Pence and Oswaldo Navarro also had one hit each for the Astros. On the mound, Jose Valdez pitched a scoreless inning.

What went wrong: I always hesitate to say any starting pitcher’s outing went “wrong” in Spring Training, but Nelson Figueroa would certainly have liked to have a better a line than nine hits, five runs, four walks and two homers allowed in six innings. Figueroa did throw 106 pitches, so he got in his day’s work, and he pitched out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the first.

“It was fun to get the work in and get to 100 pitches,” he said. “I felt like I was still strong, but at the same time I’ve had a sinus infection the last two days and it kind of felt like I was in a fish bowl starting out. I felt a little weak in the first inning and it started to unravel quick and I was a little worried about that a short day and a long inning.

“I got out of that first inning and felt good and made some good pitches. I found Eric Chavez’s bat a few times. I’m just really working on command and locating my pitches and get comfortable with [catcher Carlos] Corporan. All in all, it could have been a better day result-wise. We were still in the ballgame when I left. It was fun to be out there and get the work in.”

Ross Wolf pitched the seventh and gave up two hits and one run, striking out one batter. At the plate, the Astros struck out nine times, including Pence twice. Angel Sanchez and Brett Wallace were 0-for-3, and center fielder Michael Bourn made a throwing error.

What they said: “I think I’m going to put mayonnaise and mustard on his sandwich before he comes in. He did a great job today. It was great to see him and have some fun and continue to see the young kids working hard and being productive.” — Astros pitcher Nelson Figueroa on the great defensive play Friday by left fielder J.B. Shuck.

What’s next: The Astros’ bullpen will be on display when they return to Osceola County Stadium to face the Washington Nationals at 12:05 p.m. CT. Opening Day starter Brett Myers was originally scheduled to start, but he will pitch in a Minor League game because he’s already faced Washington twice this spring. The Astros will piece things together with their bullpen, with Henry Villar getting the start. Also pitching are Brandon Lyon, Wilton Lopez, Enerio Del Rosario, Mark Melancon, Aneury Rodriguez and Fernando Abad.

Injury report: Shortstop Clint Barmes left the game after being hit in the left hand by a pitch. He had a nasty bruise and some swelling and will undergo X-rays on Saturday morning. Read more about it here.

Sorry, no pictures again today. I spent the pregame in the press box writing the story that updates the status of the team’s impending sale. Details can be found here.

Options a factor a decision time

As the Astros debate their remaining roster decisions in the next few days, one of the factors that will come into play is which players are out of options. Players who are out of options and don’t make the 25-man roster must clear waivers before being sent to the Minor Leagues, so the Astros would risk losing them.

The Astros have seven players who are out of options for 2011 – right-handers Nelson Figueroa and Alberto Arias, infielders Clint Barmes, Angel Sanchez and Jeff Keppinger, catcher Humberto Quintero and left-hander Ryan Rowland-Smith. Of those, only Sanchez and Rowland-Smith are battling for roster spots at this point.

“It’s certainly something we talk about,” general manager Ed Wade said. “We try to weigh all factors, including out-of-options status. Whether it’s one of the out-of-options guys or the Rule 5 players, we try to factor in everything before we make a decision.”

Sanchez, who returned to the lineup Wednesday after missing a few days with an upper back strain, is among five players competing for two backup spots on the infield. Rowland-Smith is in the hunt for a slot in the bullpen. Keppinger will start the year on the disabled list, and Arias is likely to be disabled, as well. Barmes, Figueroa and Quintero are locks to make the club.

Pitchers Lance Pendleton and Aneury Rodriguez were both taken in the Rule 5 Draft, which means they must remain on the 25-man roster all season or be offered back to their former clubs. That’s assuming, the Astros can’t work out a trade to keep them. Pendleton came from the Yankees, and Rodriguez from the Rays.

Game 24: Bud bests the Cardinals once again

The Astros beat the split-squad Cardinals, 3-2, on a hot Saturday at Osceola County Stadium, taking their Grapefruit League winning streak to four games. Bud Norris looked extremely sharp against the Cardinals — what else is new? — and the Astros made the most of their seven hits.

Here is the rundown:

What went right: Let’s start with Norris, who had his best spring outing of the year. He pitched five scoreless innings, allowing six singles, no walks and striking out five batters. Norris threw 79 pitches, including 54 strikes.

“Spring’s been ideally getting in your work and the numbers haven’t really been there, but I felt good today and everything was there,” Norris said. “I really mixed pitches well. I was really happy with the seven ground balls and no walks. That was the key for me today, pounding it down in the strike zone.”

Jeff Fulchino and Mark Melancon each threw a scoreless inning in relief, with Melancon lowering his spring ERA to 1.50.

At the plate, the Astros spread seven hits around with Jason Bougeois (.341 spring average), Clint Barmes (.239), Brett Wallace (.362), Matt Downs (.290), Carlos Corporan (.421), J.R. Towles (.379) and Tommy Manzella (.333) each getting one hit. Manzella, Wallace and Corporan had doubles.

Barmes made one of the best defensive plays you’ll ever see at shortstop in the second inning when he went deep into the hole between second and shortstop and threw out Mark Hamilton at first base by a hair. Bourgeois nearly upstaged him in the seventh with a terrific diving catch in center field. Bourgeois then rose to his feet and threw out the runner at first for a great double play. He’s hitting .341 and is making a strong case to make the club as the fifth outfielder.

What went wrong: Not much. There were a few 0-fers: Carlos Lee, Chris Johnson and Jason Michaels were each 0-for-3, though Lee drove in a run. Bill Hall was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. Brandon Lyon and Casey Fien each allowed two hits and one run in two innings of work.

What they said: “He did have some good results. The thing about Bud is he was really able to make some pitches with both his slider and his fastball and moving his fastball around the zone. He’d get behind a few hitters and he’d come back and when he needed to make a pitch he was able to do it with his fastball and his slider, and he threw some real nice changeups. That was pretty special as well.” — manager Brad Mills on Bud Norris’ strong outing Saturday.

What’s next: All five candidates for the fifth spot in the rotation will be in action Sunday when the Astros play their sixth and final split-squad games of the season. Ryan Rowland-Smith will start in Kissimmee against the Pirates, with Jordan Lyles following him. Lance Pendleton is also scheduled to pitch in that game. Nelson Figueroa will get the start in Lake Buena Vista against the Braves, with Aneury Rodriguez to follow him.

Injury update: Left-hander Wandy Rodriguez, whose previous scheduled start last Tuesday was scratched because of a mild tendinitis in his right shoulder, will throw in the bullpen Sunday and is scheduled to return to the mound Tuesday against Washington in Viera. … Infielder Angel Sanchez (back) fielded ground balls Saturday and said his back feels fine. He will try to take batting practice Sunday. … Center fielder Michael Bourn will return to the lineup Sunday after being held out Saturday as a precaution. “He was under the weather a little bit but he played in the heat and I don’t want to get him run down and so tired he has a setback and get really sick,” manager Brad Mills said.

 Here are the photos:

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Above: Some Astros Minor Leaguers watch drills on one of the back fields.

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Above: Astros ace Brett Myers fires a pitch in the bullpen, with pitching coach Brad Arnsberg catching him.

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Above: Catcher Brian Esposito chases a ball during drills on Saturday morning.

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Above: Matt Downs makes solid contact in batting practice on Saturday.

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Above: Hunter Pence and Jose Cruz sign autographs.

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Above: Lance Berkman, making his return to Osceola County Stadium, yucks it up while he stretches with the Cardinals.