Results tagged ‘ Doug Brocail ’

Sitting out is tough on Berkman

Just so you know, it’s killing Lance Berkman not be in the lineup for the final two games of the St. Louis series. He admits he’s getting paid too much money to sit on the bench, the but the reality is that Berkman would hurt the Astros even more if he tried to play through his calf strain and went on the disabled list.

There’s a reason I picked Berkman as the team’s MVP at mid-season, and not just because he leads the Astros in nearly every offensive category except for batting average. One of the reasons the Astros got off to such a miserable start is Berkman got off to a bad start. Without him, their lineup isn’t nearly as good.

Berkman said the precedent sent by Astros icons Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio makes it hard for him to sit when injured. Biggio went on the disabled list once in his 20-year career, and Bagwell played through a painful shoulder condition as he career wound down.

“There’s a lot to be said for the way those guys conducted themselves,” Berkman said. “You can’t get away from Baggy and Bidge here because they were the ultimate professionals on the field and played the game hard. Other guys like AusmusBrad is the toughest pretty boy I’ve ever been around in my life — he’d catch and have all kinds of things and you’d never know about it.

“They set a standard a lot of guys have followed, and we’ve always been an organization that if we can get out on the field that’s what you should do. We have an obligation to the fans and an obligation to the organization and to your teammates most of all to all to play if at all possible.”

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Astros catcher Ivan Rodriguez believes the Astros are in the midst of something special, and he should know. He was the starting catcher for the 2003 World Series champion Florida Marlins, who overcome a slot start to make the playoffs and win it all. The Marlins were 48-45 through 93 games in 2003 (the Astros are 47-46).

“We had a bad first half and we came back and finished 20 games over .500 and were able to get to the playoffs and win the World Series,” he said. “That’s baseball. We have to go out there and play hard every day.”

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Astros general manager Ed Wade said he had good reports on Doug Brocail‘s first rehab outing Monday at Triple-A Round Rock. Brocail, who has been out since May 4 with a left hamstring strain, threw one hitless inning with one strikeout for the Express in the first of six scheduled rehab outings.

“Doug had a real good outing last night at Round Rock and threw one inning and had to cover first base on the last hitter he faced,” Wade said. “He threw 14 pitches and went to the bullpen and threw 11 more to get to 25. He came through it great. That’s a big move in the right direction to get him in there.”

Astros expect quiet deadline

Astros general manager Ed Wade reiterated his stance Saturday that he doesn’t see his club making an impact trade before the July 31 deadline.

Wade said the Astros don’t want to give up prospects and aren’t in position to add salary. Also, Houston entered play Sunday three games out of first place in the NL Central.

“We’ll have conversations with clubs,” he said. “I just don’t want to raise undo expectations that we’re going to really be active at the trading deadline because that’s not going to be the case. We’re not going to be in a position to make a deal of significance.

“We’ve talked about where our payroll is at this point in time and we’re going to be very reluctant to give up a lot of young players. But we’ll continue to have conversations if there’s ways to improve.”

The kinds of things Wade anticipates doing are more along the lines of adding inexpensive pieces like Chris Coste, who was claimed off waivers July 10. Relievers Chris Sampson and Doug Brocail could also return from the disabled list soon.

“A year ago at this time we had a real pressing need for starting pitching and bullpen help and we went out and got [Randy] Wolf and [LaTroy] Hawkins,” Wade said. “The way Roy [Oswalt] and Wandy [Rodriguez] are pitching at the top of the rotation and the way the other three guys have gotten us deep enough into games, puts us in a position where we’re not in dire need to go out and add starting pitching.”

Brocail, Bagwell and Manny on prowl in LA

Relief pitcher Doug Brocail was back on the road with the Astros on Thursday, which meant the clubhouse scene was a little more jovial. Brocail took pride in finishing a crossword puzzle and then welcomed reporters to get into the box against him.

That’s because Brocail will be throwing a simulated game Friday. He’s been on the disabled list since May 4 with a strained left hamstring and was giddy over getting back on the mound to face hitters and field his position.

Depending on how he does Friday, Brocail could be close to setting a schedule for a Minor League rehab assignment.

“I need to get in the situation of breaking to first [base],” Brocail said. “You can’t really get that until you get in the game. As much as I hate rehab assignments, this one is going to be a necessity only because if I over-stride or if I move too quickly, I’ve got to know what it’s going to do.”

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Astros manager Cecil Cooper said he will approach pitching to Dodgers slugger Manny Ramirez during this weekend’s series in Los Angeles the same way he has pitched to Cardinals All-Star Albert Pujols.

“If there’s a chance to walk him when he has a chance to hurt you, you have to walk him,” Cooper said. “The only way to do that is you have to get the guys out in front of him. Will he change the strategy? Not a whole lot. But you can’t let him beat you.”

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Jeff Bagwell, the Astros’ all-time leader in home runs and RBIs and a special assistant to the general manager, is making a rare road trip with the club this weekend in Los Angeles.

“I think he’s here more to visit with [Dodgers catcher Brad] Ausmus than he is with us,” Houston manager Cecil Cooper said.

Actually, Bagwell will remain with the big club through the weekend before heading to the Astros’ Single-A affiliate in Lancaster next week to check some of the organization’s prospects.

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