Results tagged ‘ Ivan Rodriguez ’

Pudge trade makes sense

You can call the Astros’ trading of Pudge Rodriguez to the Rangers a case of throwing in the towel for 2009 or the start of a rebuilding effort, but I don’t believe either is the case. Are the Astros out of it for this? Almost certainly, but they aren’t going to concede anything until they are mathematically eliminated.

And I wouldn’t call trading away a 35-year-old catcher who has very little left in the tank the start of a rebuilding effort. Pudge was brought here to serve in a pinch anyway, to play one season at catcher while the Astros wait on Jason Castro to get ready. Pudge gave the Astros more offense at catcher than they’ve had in years and was a great influence on the pitching staff, but basically they go three players from the Rangers for very little. It’s a good move, and the kind they should have made.

Now, if the Astros start getting rid of Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman, then you have rebuilding on your hands. Getting rid of Pudge? Not to so much.

So where do they go from here? Mike Hampton‘s season could be done and you’d have to call his return to the Astros a disappointment. Astros general manager Ed Wade took chances of Hampton and Russ Ortiz to be part of the rotation, and neither has worked out. Brian Moehler can be a productive part of the staff, especially is he’s the fifth starter and not the third or fourth.

The Astros should call up shortstop Tommy Manzella in September and get a good look at him. If you think he can be your everyday shortstop next year, make an effort to re-sign Miguel Tejada and move him to third. Tejada told MLB.com last week he’s open to moving to third, but money will be an issue. I’d sign him for $5 or $7 million, but not anywhere close to the $14 million he makes now.

I’d take the rest of the money — if any — the Astros might have in the off-season and invest in pitching. Signing another starting pitcher to put him with Oswalt, Wandy Rodriguez and Bud Norris. All of a sudden you have the makings of a nice rotation. I wouldn’t bring Jose Valverde back and either give the closing job to LaTroy Hawkins, who will be a free agent at season’s end, or identify someone in the organization who can close. That, of course, is easier said than done.

The bottom line is the Astros still have some nice pieces and moves like sending off Pudge could only have a positive effect on their future.

 

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.”

Berkman returns to lineup, Pudge gets hockey number

Lance Berkman had a swarm of reporters and television cameras waiting by his locker when he arrived at the ballpark Monday, many of whom followed him on the field during batting practice when he stopped to talk with general manager Ed Wade and head athletic trainer Nate Lucero.

Everyone wanted to know if Berkman was going to return to the lineup for the first time since he suffered a mild calf strain Thursday.

“He said he could still feel something in there, but it’s not like a pulled muscle that’s there all the time,” Wade said. “He’s in the lineup and he’ll see. Dr. [Jim] Muntz will be here tonight get a chance to talk to him and take a look at him a little bit, but he felt he was ready to go.”

Berkman doubled into left-center in his first at-bat in the first inning, and he was clearly favoring the leg somewhat. Fortunately for the Astros, Berkman made it into second base easily and didn’t have to test the leg too much.

“When you have a muscle issue for three days you’re not going to be 100 percent better, but I think it’s manageable,” Berkman said before the game.

Berkman felt he needed to get on the field as soon as possible, even if he’s not 100 percent.

“These are important games for us, and it’s just not the Cardinals, but we have a stretch here where we’re facing some tough teams and teams in our division and teams we have to beat if we want to get where w e want to go,” Berkman said. “It’s important for me to be in the lineup.”

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Astros catcher Ivan Rodriguez switched his jersey number to No. 77 on Monday. Pudge wore No. 7 throughout his career with the Yankees, but he couldn’t wear that number with the Astros because it was retired last year in honor of Craig Biggio. So, he did the next best thing. He doubled up.

“I was just missing my number and pretty much all my career I have been No. 7,” he said. “I respect that I cannot where No. 7 here because it’s retired, but it’s always a good thing to have two sevens instead of one. “

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