Results tagged ‘ Drew Locke ’

Game 5: The race for fifth starter begins

The Astros won their second Grapefruit League of the spring, beating the Florida Marlins 5-3 on Thursday afternoon at windy Osceola County Stadium. It was another day of some stellar pitching performances.

Here’s the breakdown:

What went right: The Astros jumped on the Marlins for two runs in the first inning and two more in the second inning. Brett Wallace continued his strong spring with a two-run single in the first, and Humberto Quintero and Clint Barmes added RBI hits in the second to make it 4-0. Quintero had an RBI in the sixth, going 2-for-2. Drew Locke went 2-for-2 with his first two hits of the spring.

“It felt good,” Locke said. “I’ve been working a lot in the cage with Barney [hitting coach Mike Barnett] and I finally felt comfortable up there. I think I was rushing things, trying to do too much up there. I kind of fixed a couple of things and had a couple of good swings. I got that first hit out of the way and now I can just relax up there.”

Nelson Figueroa made his first start and threw two scoreless innings, allowing two hits and one walk, and Enerio Del Rosario, Fernando Rodriguez and Gustavo Chacin each threw a scoreless inning. Figueroa pounded the zone and threw 31 pitches in his audition for the No. 5 starter’s spot.

Wallace started a nice 3-6 double play at first base, and Koby Clemens, who replaced Wallace later in the game, made a nice pick off a relay throw from Matt Downs.

What went wrong: There were a few hiccups on the mound, which is to be expected to you run so many arms out there. Aneury Rodriguez, a Rule 5 pickup, gave up three hits, one walk and one run in two innings, and Wesley Wright and Henry Villar each allowed a run and a hit in one inning, but nothing to be concerned about.

Michael Bourn hit into a pair of double plays, which is quite unusual.

What they said: “Figgie was Figgie, and he threw the ball extremely well and the guys that followed him up were just consistent. A couple of them work themselves into some jams but they were able to battle through it and get themselves out of jams, and it’s good to see Chacin come in and do a good job and Henry at the end do a good job. We got some real good performances from some people.” - manager Brad Mills.

What’s next: Friday should be fun. Lance Berkman is scheduled to make his return to Osceola County Stadium when the Cardinals travel to face the Astros. Ryan Rowland-Smith will make his first start of the spring, with Brandon Lyon, Jeff Fulchino, Fernando Abad, Mark Melancon, Casey Fien, Ross Wolf and Patrick Urckfitz also scheduled to throw.

Injury update: Catcher Jason Castro was diagnosed with a torn medial meniscus and will undergo surgery Friday morning in Houston. It’s unknown how long he’ll be out, but my best guess is the range of one to two months. We’ll know more tomorrow after Dr. David Lintner gets in the knee and looks around. … Outfielder J.D. Martinez did some running and other drills on Thursday, but still hasn’t been cleared to play. He’s going to be at least a couple of more days before he gets in a game.

Sorry, no photos today. The Castro developments kept me occupied and off the back fields in the morning. You can bet I will have some on Friday, with an emphasis on the Puma’s return.

Astros named Minor League MVPs

The Astros announced their 2010 Most Valuable Players for each of the club’s Minor League affiliates on Friday. The eight MVPs were selected by the field staff of each team:

Triple-A Round Rock – Outfielder Drew Locke hit .279 with 17 homers, 36 doubles and 74 RBIs in 135 games. He was the team’s Offensive Player of the Month three times and Pacific Coast League Player of the Week in August. Locke, acquired in the Rule 5 Draft in 2008, was team MVP at Double-Corpus Christi last year.

Double-A Corpus Christi – Infielder Koby Clemens hit .241 with 26 home runs, 85 RBIs and a .350 on-base percentage in his first year in Double-A. He was a midseason Texas League all-Star and finished third in the league in homers, fourth in RBIs and sixth in runs. He was the MVP last year at Class A Lexington.

Class A Lancaster – Outfielder Brandon Barnes hit .259 with 27 homers, 31 doubles and 80 RBIs. He tied for sixth in the California League in slugging percentage (.517) and had a .326 on-base percentage. The 2005 Draft pick was also Lancaster’s Defensive Player of the Month in June.

Class A Lexington – Outfielder Jacob Goebbert finished his second professional season with a .291 average, 48 doubles, 10 home runs and 98 RBIs. He finished first in the South Atlantic League in doubles, while ranking second in RBIs and sixth in hits (151). He was named South Atlantic League Player of the Week from July 26-Aug. 1, and earned Defensive Player of the Month honors twice for the Legends. He was a 13th-round pick of the Astros in the June 2009 Draft.

Short-season Tri-City – Infielder Ben Orloff hit .307 with 23 steals and a .405 on-base percentage in 63 games for the New York-Penn League champs. A ninth-round pick in the 2009 Draft, he was named Tri-City’s Defensive Player of the Month for July and August.

Rookie-league Greeneville – Outfielder Telvin Nash hit .265 with 12 doubles, 12 home runs and a .348 on-base percentage. The Astros’ third-round pick from the June 2009 Draft led the team with 36 RBIs and tied for the team lead in home runs. Nash earned Defensive Player of the Month honors in August.

Gulf Coast League Astros – Right-hander Jose Perdomo earned went 4-3 with a 1.67 ERA in 11 starts. Signed by the Astros as a non-drafted free agent in July of 2009, Perdomo ranked second in the GCL in strikeouts (69), third in ERA, fifth in innings pitched and third in WHIP (0.98). He was also named GCL Astros Pitcher of the Month in July.

Dominican Summer League Astros — Right-handed pitcher Francisco Baso went 7-3 with three saves and a 1.33 ERA in 16 relief appearances. He also earned DSL Astros Pitcher of the Month honors in June and July. The 19-year-old native Panamanian was signed as a non-drafted free agent prior to the 2008 season.

Astros face 40-man roster decisions

The Astros must have their 40-man roster set by 11 p.m., which is why club officials spent most of this week in meetings at Minute Maid Park going over the roster. Astros manager Brad Mills sat in on the meetings, along with the front office and members of the player development staff. Owner Drayton McLane participated on Monday and Tuesday.

Several spots on the 40-man have been cleared with players filing for free agency, so the Astros have some wiggle room. Any players on the 40-man roster by the end of today are protected from being taken by other club’s in next month’s Rule 5 draft. The roster is at 33 (if I’m counting correctly) entering Friday and will likely be at 37 at the end of the day after they add some Minor Leaguers. That will leave a few spots open for free agents, though they could create more spots by non-tendering contracts to some players.

But what Minor Leaguers will they add?

Among the players up for consideration are outfielder Drew Locke, pitcher Sergio Perez and infielder/outfielder Koby Clemens, who led all of the Minor Leagues in RBIs last season. Clemens appears to be a man without a position and isn’t likely to be added to the roster.

Generally, players drafted out of college have to be protected after their third full season in baseball, which means those taken in the 2006 draft. High school players have an extra year, meaning high school players drafted in 2005 are eligible for the Rule 5 draft for the first time.

The Astros can add these players to the 40-man roster, put them on the Triple-A roster, Double-A roster or Class A roster. Anyone on the Triple-A roster can be drafted in the Rule 5 draft and have to stay on the Major League roster for the entire season or be sent through waivers and offered back to the original club for half the waiver price. Players on the Double-A roster can be drafted in the Triple-A portion of the draft and be placed anywhere in the system.

Last year, the Astros selected Locke in the Minor League phase of the Rule 5 draft from the Los Angeles Dodgers after he hit .311 with 11 homers and 85 RBIs at Class A Inland Empire. What a find. Locke hit .338 with 20 homers and 109 RBIs at Double-A Corpus Christi last season.

Clemens hit .345 with 22 homers and 121 RBIs and a .419 on-base percentage in hitter-friendly Lancaster and has been tinkering with playing first base. Perez was 11-11 with a 4.68 ERA in 27 starts at Corpus Christi.

Other first-time eligible players for the Rule 5 draft include:  right-handers Bryan Hallberg (Lancaster) and Casey Hudspeth (Lancaster/Corpus Christi), left-hander Chris Salamida (Lancaster), outfielder Jimmy Van Ostrand (Corpus Christi) and outfielder Nick Moresi (Corpus Christi).

Left-hander Fernando Abad and infielder Wladimir Sutil were added to the 40-man earlier this month.

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