Results tagged ‘ Lance Berkman ’

Monday morning Astros update

Astros manager Brad Mills said Monday morning his group of injured players were improving: Lance Berkman (knee surgery), Michael Bourn (strained oblique), Jason Bourgeois (strained hamstring), Tommy Manzella (strained quadriceps) and Yorman Bazardo (shoulder strain). Right-hander Alberto Arias (shoulder strain) was scheduled to get an MRI on Monday morning.

“Lance came into the office and said he felt better today and that’s always good to hear from him,” Mills said. “We’re trying to keep his range of motion where it needs to be and keep the swelling down. Bourgeois felt better when he came in today, and Manzella is feeling and looking better. Those things are good. Arias is getting an MRI this morning and we’ll looking forward to hearing back from him. Bazardo is getting stronger every day and playing catch and doing all his things.”

Arias, Bazardo and Bourgeois are fighting for spots on the club, and Mills admitted their inability to get on the field isn’t helping their chances.

“We’re not looking at this as a detriment to them because we want them healthy, but at the same time if they can’t go out and perform they can’t show us,” he said. “Jason has been able to show us quite a bit. Bazardo hasn’t been able to show us very much and it’s more of a situation with him than Jason because of that.”

Bourgeois strained his left hamstring Sunday, a few weeks after he strained his right hamstring early in camp. Considering Bourgeois’ speed is his biggest asset, the injury is frustrating.

“That’s my game,” Bourgeois said. “It’s unfortunate but these things happen.”

Bourgeois was able to play catch and take batting practice, but he’s not going to do any quick movements. Manzella is still at least a week away from returning.


Because of rainouts, split-squad games and Monday’s off day, the starting rotation has been thrown a little off. Wandy Rodriguez will start Monday against the Cardinals, with Felipe Paulino to pitch Tuesday in Bradenton against the Pirates. Reliever Casey Daigle will make a spot start Wednesday at the New York Mets.

Oswalt, who threw one inning Sunday in Kissimmee before rain washed out the game against the Mets, will take his turn Friday. Bud Norris and Brian Moehler, both of whom pitched against Boston in Sunday’s split-squad game, will be worked in. Norris said he might pitch in a Minor League game.


With starting shortstop Tommy Manzella out for at least another week with a strained quadriceps, veteran Geoff Blum was scheduled to see his first action of the spring at shortstop on Monday. Blum plays primarily first base and third base at this point in his career, but he has played 190 games at shortstop in his career.

“We have to look at all of our options,” Mills said. “With Tommy being down for a few days we want to make sure we see [Edwin] Maysonet over there and [Jeff] Keppinger and Blummer. We’ll keep all options open. This is the first time we put him out there this year. I’ve got to see him play out there. I do know he’s got good hands, a good arm and his experience and being able to position himself where he needs to be should help his range.”

Sunday morning Astros update

I’m back from a respite in Houston and am in Kissimmee for the rest of the spring, so expect frequent updates. Anyway, I’ll have a story later today on the rash of injuries that’s taken over the club the last few days, but here’s a quick rundown:

  • 1B Lance Berkman had fluid drained from his knee Saturday, one week after undergoing arthroscopic surgery to clean out some loose cartilage. Berkman is walking with a limp and is still sore, but he’s not ruling out returning by Opening Day.
  • RHP Alberto Arias will undergo a precautionary MRI on Monday. Arias has been diagnosed with a shoulder strain and has lost some velocity on his fastball. The Astros want to get a better look at the shoulder to find out what’s going on.
  • SS Tommy Manzella, who was diagnosed with a strained quad, is out of baseball drills again today. Manzella said he’s going to take it slow and will be out a few days. General manager Ed Wade told him Sunday morning he didn’t want him to be “Braveheart.”
  • CF Michael Bourn was held out of Sunday’s game because of a strained oblique. Bourn said he was sore, and he did do some bunting in the batting cage. He’s listed as day-to-day, but Wade said he won’t play until he’s 100 percent.
  • RF Yorman Bazardo, who strained his shoulder a week ago, has been throwing on the side while the training staff works to improve his range of motion.


Berkman undergoes surgery, no ligament or meniscus damage

Astros first baseman Lance Berkman is expected to begin rehabbing Saturday after undergoing morning arthroscopic surgery to clean out loose cartilage debris in his left knee.

Astros team spokesman Gene Dias said Berkman didn’t have any meniscus or ligament damage and his prognosis remains the same: he’s expected to return in two to four weeks. The surgery was performed by Dr. David Crumbie at Florida Hospital in Kissimmee.

“From what I understand, they were able to clean everything up and there was no cartilage damage and he’s fine,” manager Brad Mills said. The level of concern has gone way down because of that. The doctor says he’s fine, so we’ll just go off of him and getting him ready and strong.”

Day 20: Rain dampens everything; injury updates

This is my seventh year covering the Astros and coming to Kissimmee for Spring Training, and I’ve never seen it rain like it did the last two days. The Astros were rained out Thursday in Viera, Fla., where they were supposed to play the Nationals. The team got on the bus for Dunedin, Fla., and was going to try to play the Blue Jays on Friday. Not sure if they will be able to do that.

I stayed in Kissimmee today to check on first baseman Lance Berkman and pitcher Alberto Arias, both of whom were examined by team medical director Dr. David Lintner. Berkman said the results of the exam of his bruised left knee were “inconclusive” and that further assessment was needed. At this point, it’s nothing that’s going to keep him out of games.

Arias said he was diagnosed with inflammation in his right shoulder. He’s going to take a couple of more days off from throwing and could get a cortisone shot soon. Arias was relieved, though, that Lintner didn’t diagnosis him with anything major.

Also, right-hander Brandon Lyon took another step towards returning when he faced live hitters for the first time Friday morning. Lyon threw 25 pitches in the batting cage to hitters from Minor League camp and said he felt good. He’ll likely throw to hitters again on Sunday, this time on the field.

Because I’m not with the team in Dunedin today, I won’t have my post-game analysis blog entry. If there is more news on Berkman’s knee, I’ll be sure to pass it along.

By the way, if you didn’t already know you can follow me on twitter @brianmctaggart for all the latest news and updates.

Day 16: Tough day for non-roster pitchers

The Astros lost to the Atlanta Braves 9-4 on Sunday at Champion Stadium to fall to 2-2 this spring. Most of their regular starters played, with Michael Bourn and Geoff Blum among those that didn’t make the trip.

Here’s the breakdown:

The good: Lance Berkman appears to be fully recovered from his bruised knee. He went 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles, an RBI and a strikeout and looked very Puma-like going into second base. After his second at-bat, manager Brad Mills asked him how he felt and he told the skipper he wanted another at-bat. Carlos Lee also had a double, and Hunter Pence (1-for-2), Pedro Feliz (1-for-2) and J.R. Towles (1-for-3) continue to swing hot bats.

Even Kaz Matsui, who has one hit in 10 at-bats this spring, smoked a ball hard in his first at-bat, but it was caught for an out. Jason Michaels also hit a couple of balls hard that resulted in a pair of rare outs for him. On the mound, Henry Villar continues to impress. He threw a scoreless inning, as did Evan Englebrook.

The Astros also had nice execution on a failed squeeze bunt in the second inning by Braves pitcher Tommy Hanson with third baseman Pedro Feliz making the tag of the runner between third base and home plate.

The bad: There were some ugly pitching lines, with non-roster relievers Gary Majewski and Roy Corcoran each giving up three runs. Majewski got the loss after allowing three hits, one walk and two earned runs in two-thirds of an inning, and Corcoran followed him and allowed four hits and three earned runs in one inning.

Josh Banks, also a non-roster invitee, was roughed up for five hits and two runs in two innings. Starter Brian Moehler pitched in out and of trouble in his first start and wound up allowing four hits, two walks but only one run in his two innings.

Houston did commit one error, but it probably should have been a hit. Shortstop Tommy Manzella was swallowed up by a grounder that took a bad hop. Mills said after the game the ball nearly took Manzella’s face off. He was right. Mills also said there was one relay and cut-off situation he would have liked to have seen performed better.

What they said: “It was nice to see Lance swing the bat real well, and I thought Carlos swung the bat real well. Kaz hit that line drive to lead off the game, so there were some well-hit balls. There at the end of the game, too, [Chris] Shelton up the middle. J-Mike hit a couple of balls hard. Any time you can put those at-bats together and hitting the balls on the button [that’s good]. They hit some balls on the buttons, too, but they found the holes and found the alleys.” – Astros manager Brad Mills.

What’s next: The Astros return home to face the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday at Osceola County Stadium. Bud Norris will make his first start of the spring as the Astros finally get through their starting rotation one time. Mills said Sunday second baseman Kaz Matsui would be given the day off, with Jeff Keppinger starting at second.

Among the other pitchers scheduled to throw Monday are Tim Byrdak, Jeff Fulchino, Shane Loux, Chia-Jen Lo, Gustavo Chacin and Polin Trinidad.

Mills tinkering with new lineup

How about Hunter Pence batting third, Carlos Lee batting fourth and Lance Berkman batting fifth? That’s the way Astros manager Brad Mills filled out his lineup card for Saturday’s game against the Braves, and Mills admitted he’s going to give some consideration to that configuration when the season starts.

Mills would like to have as much consistency in the lineup as possible, and he’s sat down with the players and talked about where they might hit in the order

“It’s something I had looked at during the winter and then when position players got here last week I sat down Lance and we talked about a few things and he was very receptive to it, and I also talked to Carlos about some things,” Mills said. “I’m not going to tell you what those are right now because they might not come about, but we’re just taking a look.

“When we start the season, I don’t like to have things moved all over the place. When a guy comes to the ballpark I like him to know exactly what’s asked of him and where he’s going to hit in the lineup most of the time. Right now is a good time during Spring Training, at least during the first two weeks of Spring Training, to get a chance to take a look at what’s going on and so forth.”

Berkman hit primarily third last year, with Lee hitting fourth and Pence hitting sixth. Mills believes hitting Pence third will allow the Astros to take better advantage of his speed.

“You try to get more guys on base with more speed at the top of the lineup, getting better pitches to hit for Carlos with a quality bat behind him and getting big run-production from Lance hitting fifth,” Mills said. “There’s going to be a lot of guys on base for both Carlos and Lance, and if Carlos doesn’t pick them up then Lance is there to pick them up.

“We’re giving ourselves a chance to possibility score more runs with our two big guys right next to each other.”

Berkman to return to action Friday

Astros first baseman Lance Berkman is scheduled to get two at-bats in Friday’s Grapefruit League game against the Detroit Tigers in Lakeland, Fla. Berkman sat out Thursday’s game because of a bruised left knee and is making good progress.

Berkman said Thursday morning he was scheduled to get an injection into the knee of either shark cartilage or rooster comb to help subside the swelling. The Astros will be without Carlos Lee until Saturday. Lee is in Houston showing cattle at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

Day 12: Berkman returns, Koby mashes and pitchers struggle

Short of rain – or sleet – falling from the sky, the conditions couldn’t have been worse for Wednesday’s intrasquad game at Osceola County Stadium. The temperature was in the upper-40s, and the wind was gusting between 15 and 25 mph most of the game.

The Astros’ every-day players didn’t participate in the game, which was for pitchers to get some work in. Bud Norris started for one team, and Brian Moehler for the other. The team led by first-base coach Bobby Meacham – Meacham’s Mashers – beat the team led by third-base coach Dave Clark – Clark’s Crushers – by the score of 16-13.

Norris pitched a scoreless inning and Moehler gave up two runs in one inning, but Yorman Bazardo took some serious lumps on the mound, hitting a pair of batters. Koby Clemens went 3-for-4 with four RBIs, including a three-run homer, and Jason Bourgeois had a triple and a homer.

“It was good to see the pitchers throw the ball to live hitters,” Astros manager Brad Mills said. “The biggest thing was to get them out there in a game situation and run through some things. Successes and failures are absolutely nothing today, especially with the weather like it was. But it was nice to get them out there in game situations and throw the ball.

“I thought [Matt] Lindstrom threw the ball real well. He was letting it go there for a while. I know he gave up a couple of balls hit hard, but it was sure nice to see him throw the ball extremely well.”


The Astros will kick off their 2010 Grapefruit League schedule on Thursday against the Washington Nationals without Lance Berkman and Carlos Lee in the batting order.

Berkman, who is recovering from a knee bruise, will be held out by manager Brad Mills. Lee left Florida on Wednesday to fly to Houston to participate in some cattle-showing activities at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Lee will miss Thursday and Friday and be in the lineup Saturday.

An avid rancher in both Houston and Panama, Lee has 11 entries in the livestock show.

“He has my blessing,” Mills said.

So without Puma and El Caballo, here is Mills’ lineup for Thursday’s game:

Michael Bourn CF
Kaz Matsui 2B
Hunter Pence RF
Geoff Blum 1B
Pedro Feliz 3B
Jason Castro DH
Jason Michaels LF
J.R. Towles C
Tommy Manzella SS

Brett Myers will start on the mound with the goal of pitching two innings. Other pitchers available to throw are Alberto Arias, Chris Sampson, Sammy Gervacio, Roy Corcoran, Gary Majewski, Casey Daigle, Wesley Wright, Jose Valdez and Gustavo Chacin.


Left-hander Tim Byrdak was originally supposed to miss Wednesday’s workout after waking up with a sore neck. But Byrdak got treatment and convinced pitching coach Brad Arnsberg to let him throw one inning in the intra-squad game, which he did without incident. Byrdak said he wouldn’t have pitched had it been a regular Grapefruit League game.


Mills said the Astros will use one of their catchers to be the designated hitter more often than not this spring. J.R. Towles and Jason Castro are battling for the starting catching spot and both need at-bats. Humberto Quintero is entrenched as the back-up.

“There’s going to be some times we’re not going to, but for Friday’s game in Detroit we’re going to wait to see if Berkman needs to DH or play first base,” Mills said. “I’m waiting to see how he is [Thursday]. Most of the time, it’s going to be our catchers.”

Mills said Towles will DH on Friday against the Tigers in Lakeland if Berkman isn’t in that spot. Quintero will be the DH for the “B” game scheduled Friday in Lakeland.


Brandon Lyon, who threw gently off the mound Monday and Tuesday for the first time this spring, threw for eight minutes off flat ground Wednesday. Lyon is working his arm back into shape after having a cyst drained in his shoulder in January. Mills said Lyon will get back on the mound Thursday.


The official order of selection for the 2010 First-Year Player Draft in June was released today. The Astros have picks Nos. 8, 19, 33, 58, 90 and 123. For rounds 5-50, the club will pick eighth in each round.


Berkman feeling better, returns to workout

Lance Berkman said Wednesday morning his bruised left knee was feeling better. So much so that Berkman returned to morning workouts and was only prohibited from running, something he said he feels he can do with limited discomfort.

“It feels OK,” he said. “It’s still a little swollen and a little sore, but the good news from the MRI is I’m not going to be able to hurt it worse.”

Berkman underwent an MRI on Monday after experiencing pain and swelling the knee. He has been diagnosed with a contusion and is listed as day-to-day. Berkman said he was told he won’t play Thursday, though he told the staff he’d like to play.

Berkman to miss Tuesday workout with knee swelling

Astros first baseman Lance Berkman will miss Tuesday’s workout with swelling in his left knee. Berkman underwent at MRI on Monday in Kissimmee, Fla, and the Astros are sending the results to Houston so team medical director Dr. David Lintner can analyze them.

Berkman will get treatment on Tuesday and hopes to be ready for Thursday’s Grapefruit League opener. Berkman, who had surgery on his left knee in 1999, said the knee began swelling after he ran the bases during a drill on Sunday.

“Obviously, it’s concerning,” Berkman said. “Heck, the first day we run the bases in spikes and your knee swells up that’s never a good thing to have happen to you, but the doctors are hopeful it’s minor. Whatever it is, it’s minor. Even the worst-case scenario is minor so we’ll see how it goes.”

Berkman said he felt some discomfort in the knee, but it hadn’t swollen like it did in recent days.

“Anybody that’s ever played any length of time and gets over 30 you’re going to have some aches and pains, and every once in a while working out my knee doesn’t feel great but it never swelled,” Berkman said. “Everybody’s going to be like, ‘Why didn’t you get it taken care of in the offseason?’ But it was never a problem at all.

“It was never debilitating in any of the stuff I was doing this offseason. I felt a twinge once in  a while but my joints hurt from time to time all over the place. It’s something that’s not out of the ordinary but it was never swollen. This is the first time it has swollen up like that and that’s an indication it’s a little more than a standard ache or pain.”

Berkman doesn’t want to rush into action, but he’s eager to return to workouts.

“I want to get out there as quickly as I can,” he said. “I want to do everything I can possibly do. Everybody will say it’s a veteran move and I’ll miss a couple of days of Spring Trianing, but I don’t feel like that at all.

“I want to be out there and get ready to go. We need to get off to a good start this year and a big part of that is going to be me getting ready to go on Opening Day. I don’t want to miss any time, and I’m going to do whatever I can to get back out there.”