Results tagged ‘ Gustavo Chacin ’

Wade explains Astros roster moves

With the deadline to tender contracts to players eligible for salary approaching quickly approaching, the Astros on Wednesday outrighted left-handers Tim Byrdak and Gustavo Chacin, removing them from the 40-man roster.

The Astros also outrighted right-handed Minor League pitcher Matt Nevarez, who will be placed on the roster at Triple-A Oklahoma City, and signed catcher Carlos Corporan to a Minor League deal with an invitation to Spring Training. Byrdak and Chacin can elect to become free agents. The moves leaves the Astros’ 40-man roster at 37.

“Basically, these moves were economically driven,” Astros general manager Ed Wade said. “We’re trying to get our payroll numbers where they need to be, and with 10 arbitration-eligible players we had to pick and choose amongst those guys.

“In the case of Byrdak and Chacin, they weren’t easy decisions to make, but we felt with the arbitration status that it was a direction we had to go in. I spoke to Tim [on Wednesday] and indicated to him that he should go ahead and see what might be available, but we can continue to have dialogue.”

Byrdak made $1.6 million last season and would have seen his salary rise to around $2 million in arbitration, which is a hefty price for a left-handed specialist. Byrdak, 37, went 2-2 with a 3.49 ERA in 64 games for the Astros last season, holding lefties to a .213 batting average.

Left-hander Fernando Abad, who had a 2.84 ERA in 22 appearances in his rookie season in 2010, is in the mix to assume the role of lefty specialist, though there are some in the organization that envision him as a possible starter. Wade will continue to explore other options via free agency or trade as well.

“Fernando’s role and where he ends up will be determined when we go to Spring Training,” Wade said. “We have a lot of time between now and then to try to figure out what we want to do from the left side. We still have Wesley Wright, and we’ve expressed interest in other left-handers that might be out there and fit what we’re trying to do.”

Chacin, 30, went 2-2 with a 4.70 ERA in 44 appearances with the Astros last season after signing as a Minor League free agent. Nevarez, 23, spent last season at Double-A Corpus Christ, where he was 2-1 with one save and a 3.76 ERA in 36 games. He’s now eligible to be taken in next month’s Rule 5 Draft.

The moves leave the Astros with eight remaining arbitration-eligible players ahead of the Dec. 2 deadline to tender contracts to those players: pitchers Wandy Rodriguez, Nelson Figueroa and Matt Lindstrom, infielders Clint Barmes and Jeff Keppinger, catcher Humberto Quintero and outfielders Michael Bourn and Hunter Pence.

“The time and circumstances made sense for us to go ahead and create roster space prior to the tender deadline,” Wade said.

Corporan, 26, played for Triple-A Reno in the Arizona organization last season and hit .290 with 12 home runs and 50 RBIs. The switch-hitting catcher hit .342 against lefties, while appearing in 87 games in 2010, including 78 behind the plate.

A native of Puerto Rico, Corporan is currently playing for Ponce in the Puerto Rican Winter League, where he is hitting .279 with 10 RBIs in 17 games. Corporan becomes the club’s ninth non-roster invitee.

“Our scouts had good reports on him,” Wade said. “He has pretty good numbers, and he gives us that protection at Triple-A if something were to occur at the big-league level.”

Astros GM Ed Wade explains roster moves

The Astros made a pair of roster moves following Monday’s loss to the Diamondbacks, placing left-hander Tim Byrdak on the 15-day disabled list with a right hamstring strain and optioning right-hander Sammy Gervacio to Triple-A Round Rock.

The club recalled right-hander Wilton Lopez from Round Rock and purchased the contract of left-hander Gustavo Chacin, putting the 40-man roster at its limit. Chacin will pitch as the lefty out of the pen in place of Byrdak.

Astros general manager Ed Wade said Byrdak’s hamstring had been bothering for several weeks.

“[Head athletic trainer] Nate Lucero called me after he came out of the game tonight and said Tim said he had trouble finishing his pitches, and Nate went back and looked at video of last year compared to this year and it was apparent to him he was really having trouble coming down on his landing leg,” Wade said. “It seemed apparent he was trying to compensate for the hamstring.”

Wade talked to Byrdak (1-0, 5.23 ERA in 13 games) after the game and he confirmed that was the case.

“Before the hamstring blows or he hurts his arm, we put him on the DL and hopefully it resolves itself in 15 days,” Wade said.

Chacin was 1-1 with a 3.65 ERA in five starts for the Express. He’s allowed 24 hits, six walks and struck out 14 batters in 24 2/3 innings. He was a non-roster invitee to Spring Training.

Wade said left-hander Wesley Wright was also given consideration for being called up, but he threw six innings Monday.

“I talked to [Round Rock manager] Marc Bombard and he said he Chacin could handle the role in the bullpen and [pitching coach Brad Arnsberg] is familiar with him from Spring Training and their days together in Toronto,” Wade said.

Gervacio, who threw one-third of an inning Monday and gave up a two-run single, is 0-1 with a 12.27 ERA in 3 2/3 innings in six appearances. Lopez was 2-1 with a 5.40 ERA in three relief appearances at Round Rock and was 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA and five strikeouts in four relief appearances for the Astros earlier this year.

Day 38: Cuts are looming, Gervacio shines again

Before we get to Monday’s game analysis, which won’t be pretty, let’s talk roster cuts. The Astros have 38 players on their active roster, meaning they need to trim the roster by 13 prior to Sunday. The next round of cuts could come as early as Tuesday morning, prior to the home game against Philadelphia.

The cuts should help determine some roles, such as starting catcher (J.R. Towles or Jason Castro), closer (Matt Lindstrom or Brandon Lyon) and fifth starter (Brian Moehler or Felipe Paulino), all of which are up in the air. The Astros could choose to go with a four-man starting rotation and carry an extra relief pitcher the first couple of weeks of the season.

Most of the decisions will be made before the team leaves Florida on Thursday night, but there could be some loose ends to tie up this weekend. The Astros play exhibitions games against Toronto on Friday and Saturday at Minute Maid Park.

“We’ll probably make some moves in the next couple of days,” general manager Ed Wade said. “We may end up talking to some of the non-roster guys and talk to them about their status but have them go to Houston with us for the games against Toronto.

“We still have some decisions to make, there’s no question about that. We’re not locked down on the 25, particularly with some of the nicks and dents health-wise we have right now.”

Some quick predictions:

Closer: Lindstrom

Catcher: Towles

Fifth starter: Paulino

Fifth outfielder: Cory Sullivan


The Astros lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates 13-1 on Monday afternoon in Bradenton, Fla., and it was as ugly as the score. They gave up four home runs, committed four errors and were held to six hits. They had no hits in the final four innings against four different Pittsburgh pitchers. Ouch.

Here’s the breakdown:

The good: Stop if you’ve heard this before, but right-hander Sammy Gervacio was terrific once again. The 25-year-old side-winder struck out three batters and didn’t allow anyone to reach base in two perfect innings, lowering his ERA to 0.82.

In 11 innings this spring, he’s allowed only three hits, one run, two walks and struck out 14. It would be hard not give him a roster spot at this point. And considering Moehler could be in the bullpen, that could leave Casey Daigle, Chris Sampson and Wilton Lopez battling for the final bullpen spot. That will go down to the wire.

“In a game when things don’t seem to be going well at all, he still comes in and throws well,” manager Brad Mills said of Gervacio. “That’s pretty special.”

Brandon Lyon threw two innings for the first time this spring and struggled a bit, giving up five hits and two runs. He did say he felt fine, though. Lopez allowed one hit and one walk in his sixth appearance, but still has not allowed an earned run this spring.

Also, Edwin Maysonet started in left field for the first time this spring, marking his fourth outfield appearance of the year. He’s an infielder by trade, but he’s trying to increase his value by getting more versatile. He went 1-for-4 at the plate and is hitting .295, and he swung the bat well last year with the Astros.

“Right now I’m very comfortable,” he said. “The first game playing the outfield in Spring Training I was kind of nervous, but now I have more work and I feel more comfortable at it.”

The bad: Left-hander Gustavo Chacin, a non-roster invitee to Spring Training, was hammered by the Pirates. He went two innings in his first start and gave up nine hits, including three home runs, eight runs (six earned) and two walks. In his defense, he gave up a two-run homer after first baseman Chris Shelton dropped a pop up that would have ended the second inning.

Chacin was a long shot to make the team, but his 12.96 ERA in five outings didn’t help his chances.

“He struggled with his fastball command, and when that happens it’s tough,” Mills said.

Chacin said if he doesn’t make the team, he wasn’t sure if he would go to the minors, if given the opportunity, or look for another team to latch onto.

“You see my ERA is very high, but I pitched good ballgames,” he said. “I got a couple of errors, routine plays we don’t make. I feel good because I’m healthy and my arm is in pretty good shape and I feel happy.”

What they said: “If he’s not at the point of getting into games in the next couple of days then I think the prudent thing would be to go ahead and disable him and give him time to get ready. We’re not there yet. He could come in tomorrow and say ‘I’m good to go on Wednesday’. We could leave him back here and he could play in [Minor League] games all the way through Sunday if it looked as if he were moving in a straight line and ready for Opening Day.” – GM Ed Wade on Lance Berkman, who is recovering from March 13 knee surgery.

What’s next: Right-hander Bud Norris will make his fifth start of the spring when the Astros return to Kissimmee to face the Philadelphia Phillies at Osceola County Stadium at 12:05 p.m. CT. Norris, who’s been considered a favorite to land a spot in the back end of the pitching rotation, threw 58 pitches in his longest outing of the spring Friday against Pittsburgh and gave up three hits and three runs in four innings. Lindstrom, Sampson, Fulchino and Tim Byrdak are scheduled to follow Norris.

Astro-notes: SS Tommy Manzella (strained quadriceps) and OF Jason Bourgeios (strained hamstring) were scheduled to get some at-bats in a Minor League game at the complex in Kissimmee on Monday, but those games were rained out and they hit in the cage instead. Mills said he’d like to get Manzella and Bourgeois into a Minor League game before putting them into a Grapefruit League game:  “Before we throw them into something like that, we have to get them in a game atmosphere. If anybody, [the rainout] probably pushes Bourgeois back a little bit. We’d like to at least see him get some more at-bats and see him a little bit more.” … C J.R. Towles was scheduled to play in a Minor League team to test his hamstring, but wit the rainouts he was in the starting lineup in Bradenton and went 0-for-4 to drop his average to .333. Mills said the hamstring is “probably not where we need to be… but at the same time we need to get him behind the plate and seeing pitches and swinging the bat.” … 1B Lance Berkman, who had minor knee surgery March 13, took batting practice again Monday, and Mills said he did well. The Astros plan to increase his activities. … Mills said RHP Brett Myers, who was slowed by a groin strain, threw a bullpen session Monday and had no problems. He’s scheduled to start Friday’s exhibition game against Toronto. … RHPs Alberto Arias (right rotator cuff impingement) and Yorman Bazardo (right shoulder strain) will continue with their respective throwing programs, which consists of throwing off flat ground at this stage.