Results tagged ‘ Jack Cust ’

Astros release Duke, Cust

Left-handed pitcher Zach Duke and outfielder Jack Cust, a pair of veterans trying to find a home in Houston, were both released by the team Tuesday morning in a move that certainly was no surprise.

Cust, who signed a one-year, non-guaranteed, $600,000 contract with the Astros with an option for 2013, and Duke, who was on a Minor League contract, both struggled mightily this spring. Cust had one hit in 25 spring at-bats and never appeared in the outfield because of discomfort in his left elbow.

“The thing with Cust, we weren’t able to use him in the outfield all of spring really,” Astros manager Brad Mills said. “He got to play a couple of innings of a ‘B’ game out there and the bat wasn’t there and what we had hoped. We know he’s got the ability to do that, but it wasn’t able to show in the 30-something plate appearances we gave him,”

Duke was 0-3 with an 11.30 ERA in four games (three starts) for the Astros this spring and had allowed 25 hits and 18 runs in 14 1/3 innings.

Duke was a candidate for the fifth starter spot, leaving youngsters Kyle Weiland and Jordan Lyles battling for that position. The moves leave the Astros with 39 players in camp.

“Any time you have to give a release to somebody, that’s a difficult thing to do,” Mills said. “In Duke’s case, we thought that the location of his pitches wasn’t quite where it needed to be and then his breaking ball wasn’t quite the breaking ball we thought we could transfer over into our bullpen.

“We thought his sinker was on top of his game, and the command wasn’t there. It just didn’t translate into a starter for us, and with that breaking ball being so inconsistent we weren’t able to use him out of the bullpen.”

Other news from Tuesday morning:

  • Center fielder Jordan Schafer will be held out of hitting drills completely Tuesday to give his left hand more time to heal, and there’s a chance he could be given Wednesday of as well. Schafer injury his left hand making a diving catch in the outfield March 18 and irritated a nerve in the hand.
  • Right-hander Bud Norris said he could have pitched Wednesday, but the Astros are giving him two extra days. Norris says he’ll be ready to go on Friday against the Braves in Kissimmee

Tuesday’s lineup vs. Tigers:

CF J.B. Shuck

SS Jed Lowrie

RF Brian Bogusevic

1B Carlos Lee

3B Chris Johnson

DH Chris Snyder

LF Matt Downs

C Jason Castro

2B Jose Altuve

LHP Wandy Rodriguez

Mills sporting a black eye and a new watch

The Astros worked out on the stadium field at the Osceola County Stadium complex for the first time Friday morning in anticipation of Saturday’s Grapefruit League opener against the Washington Nationals.

Before the players began to stretch, manager Brad Mills addressed the team and lauded non-roster outfielder Brandon Barnes for presenting him earlier in the morning with a Transformers watch. Mills’ watch was shattered and he suffered a black eye Wednesday when a ball came through the netting behind the cage and struck him.

“That’s pretty good for a young kid to do that,” Mills said. “I told the guys if we screw up on the time today, it’s Brandon’s fault, because of the Transformers watch.”

Here’s the latest on the Astros:

  • LHP Sergio Escalona, who injured his throwing elbow swinging a bat last week, will be shut down for a few days, Mills said. Escalona had an MRI on Thursday, which showed no structural damage.
  • Mills announced the next two starters in his rotation following Livan Hernandez (Saturday), J.A. Happ (Sunday) and Jordan Lyles (Monday).  Wandy Rodriguez will start Tuesday against the Mets, and Bud Norris will start Wednesday against the Phillies in Clearwater.
  • Among the relievers scheduled to pitch behind Hernandez on Saturday are Brett Myers and Brandon Lyon, who will be pitching in a game for the first time since May. Myers will throw one inning in his debut as Astros closer (he won’t pitch the ninth, however).
  • The batting order has yet to be announced, but Mills revealed his starters for Saturday’s game against the Nats: Chris Johnson (third base), Jed Lowrie (shortstop), Jose Altuve (second base), Carlos Lee (first base), J.B. Shuck (left field), Jason Bourgeois (center field), Travis Buck (right field), Castro (catcher) and Jack Cust (DH).
  • Third baseman Jimmy Paredes, who’s nursing a sore left wrist, took batting practice left-handed Thursday, but is still not cleared to swing right from the right side of the plate.
  • Castro, who missed all of last year following knee surgery and then had foot surgery in December, will catch only three innings Saturday. Mills said he’d like Castro to catch three more innings Monday and then perhaps four on Wednesday, depending on how he feels.

Players gather to stretch on the stadium field for the first time

Details of Snyder, Cust contracts

Here are some details of catcher Chris Snyder’s contract with the Astros:

— Salary in 2012 is $750,000, of which $350,000 is guaranteed

— There is a mutual option for 2013 for $4 million, of which all is guaranteed. There’s a $500,000 buyout if on active roster or disabled list on 2012 Opening Day and option declined by either party.

Other notable items:

$125,000 for 300 plate appearances

$125,000 for 325 plate appearances

$125,000 for 350 plate appearances

$125,000 for 375 plate appearances

$250,000 for 400 plate appearances

$250,000 for 425 plate appearances

$250,000 for 450 plate appearances

$250,000 for 475 plate appearances

Plus: $100,000 for MVP ($50,000-2nd; $25,000-3rd); $50,000 for WS/MVP; $50,000 for LCS/MVP; $25,000 for Silver Slugger; $25,000 for Gold Glove; $25,000 for All Star. Plus (for each on active roster): $50,000 for 30 days; $50,000 for 60 days; $50,000 for 90 day; $50,000 for 120 days; $50,000 for 150 days. Plus: $200,000 if traded (one time).

Here are some details of OF/1B Jack Cust’s contract with the Astros

— Salary in 2012 is $600,000

— Club option for $1 million in 2013, all of which is guaranteed if option is exercised. Base in 2013 increases $100,000 for MVP ($50,000-2nd; $25,000-3rd); $50,000 for WS/MVP; $50,000 for LCS/MVP; $25,000 for Silver Slugger; $25,000 for Gold Glove; $25,000 for All Star.

Cust “excited” to join Astros

Jack Cust, who signed a one-year, $600,000 contract with the Astros with an option for 2013, was bubbling with excitement about his new team during an interview Wednesday with

“I’m excited for it,” he said. “I feel like it energizes me. We’ve been talking to Houston for a little bit now, and I knew there was a prospect of me going down there. I feel I’m in good shape and ready to go. It’s definitely exciting going to a new league and in the Central division, which has a lot of very good teams.”

Cust, who is on a non-guaranteed Major League deal, appeared in 67 games before being cut loose by the Mariners last July, batting .213 with three homers and 23 RBIs. He spent the previous four seasons with the Oakland A’s, hitting 97 homers and driving in 281 runs in that span.

“Last year was a big disappointment for me after having some pretty good years the previous four seasons,” Cust said. “I never really had a year like last year and it motivates you. I feel like I’m a hard worker. I’m going to keep working hard and I’m excited to go out and show people I can still do what I know I can do, which what I’ve always done: hit the ball out of the ballpark and get on base and score runs.”

Cust said he hasn’t spoken to anyone with the Astros regarding his role with the club in 2012, but he wants to try to win a starting job. He could possibly get some time at first base, too.

“Whatever it is, you’ve got to get yourself ready to play,” he said. “I like to hit the ball to all fields, hit home runs and drive in runs and score runs. That’s what the game is all about on offense. I play hard every day and I want to play every day. That’s the name of the game to me, going out there and playing the game hard and leaving it all on the field. I’m excited to show the fans what I can do.”