Results tagged ‘ LaTroy Hawkins ’

Young interested in playing for hometown Astros

All-Star outfielder Chris Young has certainly found a comfort level hitting at Minute Maid Park, but could it be his home ballpark next year?

Young, who is a free agent after hitting 12 homers and driving in 40 runs with the A’s in 107 games last season, said Thursday he would like to play in his hometown of Houston, but he said he didn’t know if his agent had been in contact with the Astros.

“Every team is an option,” said Young, who went to Houston baseball power Bellaire High School. “I love Houston. I’m from Houston and play well in Houston and always have. Something about being home that’s refreshing to me. I love everything about the city and the team. They’re growing, and I feel they’re going to make some moves here soon. They have a good future. I’m open to all the possibilities.”

Dinner 012

Chris Young with Astros manager Bo Porter

Young, 30, is a career .235 hitter with 144 homers and 448 RBIs in eight years, including seven with the D-backs, where he was coached by current Astros manager Bo Porter. In 52 games against the Astros, he’s a career .325 hitter with 12 homers and 47 RBIs, including .392 with eight homers and 30 RBIs in 23 games at Minute Maid Park.

“There’s quite a few teams I’m in conversations with right now,” Young said. “It’s an exciting time for me. It’s the first time I’ve been able to have more of an input on where I played and where I end up at, and now it’s prime time for me to be able to go somewhere I want to go and help the team win.”

Former Astros pitcher LaTroy Hawkins, who had a strong year with the Mets last year, says a return to Houston isn’t in the cards.

“I’ve got some teams that are showing a lot of interesting right now,” Hawkins, 41, said. “But it’s still early. Hopefully things will shake out towards the Winter Meetings next month.”

Have the Astros gotten better?

With most of their major offseason shopping done, the Astros will be limited to adding a few non-roster players between now and the start in Spring Training in two months. In a whirlwind few days at the Winter Meetings earlier this month, the Astros said goodbye to Jose Valverde, LaTroy Hawkins and Miguel Tejada and hello to Matt Lindstrom, Brandon Lyon and Pedro Feliz.

There’s no doubt the Astros got a little bit younger, but did they get better? Valverde and Hawkins at the back end of the bullpen are certainly a better option and more proven than Lindstrom and Lyon. Tejada, even though he’s declining in his mid-30s, would have been a better option at third base than Feliz.

When you consider the economics, the Astros had to move in another direction. Valverde, Hawkins and Tejada made a combined $26 million last season. Owner Drayton McLane wants to cut the payroll to about $95 million from last season’s $107 million, and getting rid of Tejada and Valverde pretty much accomplished that. They would have loved to have Hawkins back, but Milwaukee swooped in and signed him.

Lindstrom is still arbitration eligible and comes at a relative bargain considering his age and his stuff, but Lyon is getting paid $5 million per season. Many around baseball believe the Astros overpaid for Lyon, but it’s not like they gave Carlos Lee a six-year, $100 million deal. Spending a little extra money for a proven pitcher doesn’t make the Astros dumb.

Of course, no matter how good these new additions are, it’s all going to come down to starting pitching. And the Astros are going to need some of their young arms to step up next year — Bud Norris, Felipe Paulino, Wesley Wright or Wilton Lopez. If at least one of these guys doesn’t plug one of the gaps in the rotation, it won’t matter what Lindstrom and Lyon are able to provide.

Ed Wade gives late morning update

Astros general manager Ed Wade emerged from his suite Wednesday morning to do a radio interview, and I was able to grab him for a few minutes. Wade never discusses trades except in general terms, but the Astros have been rumored to a few different players, including Rafael Soriano of the Braves. Soriano accepted arbitration, and now the Braves need to move him.

Houston is still pursuing LaTroy Hawkins, who’s in Indianapolis. Hawkins met with the Brewers early Wednesday, but Wade was still hopeful he’d return to Houston.

Here’s what Wade had to say on a few topics.

Q: What is new on the trade front?

A: “We’ve got offers out on the table and a couple of other meetings scheduled for the next couple of hours but until somebody says yes, nothing is done. We’ve had one meeting with an agent and have had internal discussion on a trade possibility that we’re trying to do our homework to see if it’s something we want to pursue to see if it’s viable or not.”

Q: Do you have enough chips in the Minors to get a deal done?

A: “It’s in the eye of the beholder. Somebody’s got to evaluate our system and I think if there are pieces that make sense. We had in inquiry from one club where I do think we have the pieces to make it work, names that they came up that we responded, too. We have to be aggressive, but we also have to be somewhat protective of the depth if we can.”

Q: What is latest on LaTroy Hawkins situation?

A: “David [Gottfried] talked to Larry Reynolds [Hawkins' agent] last night and we don’t know where it’s headed. We’re hoping it heads in our direction.”

Q:  Are you hopeful a deal can be done soon?

A: “We have a couple of things out there. There are some bullpen solutions there, there are some offensive tweak solutions out there, whether any or all of them get to the finish line remains to be seen. I think we’ve been aggressive on the fronts we’re capable of being aggressive on. We’ve taken it to the point where our level of interest has clearly been stated and a lot of stuff one would think people would be compelled to get back in touch with us if they want to follow through on that.”

Hawkins to meet with Astros

Free-agent pitcher LaTroy Hawkins was scheduled to arrive in town Tuesday afternoon to meet with the Astros, and perhaps other teams, with hopes of getting a deal done as soon as today.

Houston is searching for relief pitching after closer Jose Valverde informed the team late Monday he was declining arbitration. Hawkins worked his way into the Astros’ setup role last year and even spent time as closer when Valverde was injured.

Hawkins went 1-4 with a 2.13 ERA with 11 saves last season with the Astros at a base salary of $3.5 million. He wound up making close to $4 million including incentives, and the Astros have had a contract offer on the table for several weeks.

Astros face arbitration decisions

If you were the general manager of the Astros, what would you do?

The Astros have until Tuesday night to offer salary arbitration to their own free agents – a list that includes shortstop Miguel Tejada, closer Jose Valverde, reliever LaTroy Hawkins, outfielder Jason Michaels and infielder/outfielder Darin Erstad.

Players offered arbitration have until next Monday to decline or accept the offer. If they accept, they are considered signed players and will have their salary determined through an arbitration hearing or negotiations. If they decline, they are still free to sign with the Astros or any other team.

The decision to offer arbitration has high stakes. Tejada, Valverde and Hawkins were classified as Type A free agents, which means the Astros would get draft picks if the players were offered arbitration and sign with another team. If they’re not offered arbitration and sign with another team, the Astros don’t get compensation.

If a Type A player signed with another team after being offered arbitration, the Astros would receive the signing club’s first-round draft pick in next year’s draft (assuming it’s not in the top 15 picks) and a sandwich pick between the first and second rounds. A Type B free agent, such as Doug Brocail, would bring only a sandwich pick.

Tejada made around $14 million last season and appears headed for a healthy pay cut on the free-agent market, which makes it seem unlikely the Astros would offer him arbitration. Valverde, who made $8 million last season, is likely headed for a raise after coming off a season in which he was 4-2 with a 2.33 ERA and converted 25 of 29 saves. He would be less likely to accept arbitration if he was offered by the Astros because he could command a higher salary in free agency.

The Astros have been in negotiations with Hawkins for weeks and are eager to re-sign him to be an option at closer if Valverde leaves. Hawkins had a base salary of $3.5 million last season and made nearly $4 million in incentives and was 1-4 with 11 saves and a 2.13 ERA.

Here’s what I would do:

Jose Valverde: Offer arbitration. He’ll have some strong interest and will likely get a multi-year deal from somebody, so I think it’s doubtful he would accept arbitration. If he does, you have an expensive, but capable closer.

Miguel Tejada: Don’t offer. He’ll get nowhere near the kind of money in the free-agent market than he would in arbitration, which he would accept in a heartbeat. If he wants to come back, it will have to be at a discount. The Astros can’t afford paying a third baseman $14 million next year.

LaTroy Hawkins: Offer arbitration. Sure, he’ll get a raise, but the Astros need the Hawk, especially if Valverde bolts. If he accepts and becomes the closer, he’ll still likely make less than Valverde did in closer’s role last season.

Jason Michaels: Don’t offer. I think the Astros should re-sign him, but I don’t expect there to be a big market for him and he’s not going to bring compensation anyway.

Darin Erstad: Don’t offer. Erstad is one of my favorite guys, but how much does he have left?

 

Free agency begins Friday. Who do you want?

Beginning Friday, the Astros and other teams can open their wallets and start signing free agents. Based on my recent conversations with owner Drayton McLane and general manager Ed Wade — particularly McLane — it doesn’t appear the Astros will be opening their wallets very far. That depends on how you look at it.

The Astros still figure to have a very competitive payroll, but they are in a tight spot. Carlos Lee, Lance Berkman, Roy Oswalt and Kaz Matsui will make a combined $54.5 million next year, and Hunter Pence, Michael Bourn and Wandy Rodriguez are going to get large raises in arbitration. The Astros say they can’t sustain the record $107 million payroll they had last season, but bringing back all the players already under contract could bring it already into the $80 million range.

Add LaTroy Hawkins (let’s say at $5 million) and you’re sitting at about $85 million. That leaves a little wiggle room. Add Jose Valverde ($12 million?) and you’re tapped out. Neither McLane nor Wade willl say exactly what the payroll will be, but if I was forced to guess I would say in the mid-$90 million range. As you can see, that doesn’t leave much room to take any additional contracts.

So, what are the Astros’ needs? A starting pitcher. A back-of-the-bullpen reliever? A right-handed hitting third baseman? Wade seems to think a reliever is the biggest concern. There’s no doubt they need a solid starting pitcher, but this takes us back to economics. A solid starting pitcher to plug into the No. 3 spot in the rotation probably isn’t affordable.

Wade said Wednesday he and his staff have made contact with dozens of available players. He said the Astros will be aggressive, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they will be dishing out a lot of offers.

Here’s a list of available free agents as compiled by mlbtraderumors.com (age is in parenthesis):

Catchers
Eliezer Alfonzo (31)
Brad Ausmus (41)
Paul Bako (38)
Rod Barajas (34) – Type B
Josh Bard (32)
Michael Barrett (33)
Henry Blanco (38)
Ramon Castro (34)
Chris Coste (37)
Sal Fasano (38)
Toby Hall (34)
Jason Kendall (36) – Type B
Jason LaRue (36)
Chad Moeller (35)
Bengie Molina (35) – Type A
Jose Molina (35)
Miguel Olivo (31) – Type B
Mike Redmond (39)
Ivan Rodriguez (38) – Type B
Brian Schneider (33)
Yorvit Torrealba (31) – Type B
Matt Treanor (34)
Javier Valentin (34)
Vance Wilson (37)
Gregg Zaun (39) – Type B

First basemen
Rich Aurilia (38)
Jeff Bailey (31)
Hank Blalock (29)
Russell Branyan (34)
Miguel Cairo (36)
Frank Catalanotto (36)
Tony Clark (38)
Carlos Delgado (38) – Type B
Nomar Garciaparra (36)
Ross Gload (34)
Eric Hinske (32)
Nick Johnson (31) – Type B
Adam LaRoche (30) – Type B
Doug Mientkiewicz (36)
Kevin Millar (38)
Fernando Tatis (35) – Type B
Chad Tracy (30)
Daryle Ward (35)
Dmitri Young (36)

Second basemen
Ronnie Belliard (35) – Type B
Jamey Carroll (36)
Alex Cora (34)
Craig Counsell (39)
Mark DeRosa (35) – Type B
Nick Green (31)
Jerry Hairston Jr. (34)
Orlando Hudson (32) – Type A
Adam Kennedy (34)
Felipe Lopez (30) – Type B
Mark Loretta (38)
Pablo Ozuna (35)
Placido Polanco (34) – Type A
Luis Rodriguez (30)
Juan Uribe (31)

Shortstops
Eric Bruntlett (32)
Orlando Cabrera (35) – Type A, can’t be offered arbitration
Juan Castro (38)
Alex Cora (34)
Craig Counsell (39)
Bobby Crosby (30)
Adam Everett (33)
Chris Gomez (39)
Alex Gonzalez (32)
Nick Green (31)
Khalil Greene (30)
Jerry Hairston Jr. (34)
John McDonald (35)
Luis Rodriguez (30)
Marco Scutaro (34) – Type A
Miguel Tejada (36) – Type A
Wilson Valdez (32)
Omar Vizquel (43)

Third basemen
Rich Aurilia (38)
Brian Barden (29)
Adrian Beltre (31) – Type B
Aaron Boone (37)
Craig Counsell (39)
Joe Crede (32)
Bobby Crosby (30)
Mark DeRosa (35) – Type B
Pedro Feliz (35)
Chone Figgins (32) – Type A
Nomar Garciaparra (36)
Troy Glaus (33) – Type B
Adam Kennedy (34)
Mike Lamb (34)
Mark Loretta (38)
Melvin Mora (38) – Type B
Pablo Ozuna (35)
Robb Quinlan (33)
Miguel Tejada (36) – Type A
Juan Uribe (31)

Left fielders
Garret Anderson (38) – Type B
Marlon Anderson (36)
Jason Bay (31) – Type A
Emil Brown (35)
Marlon Byrd (32) – Type B
Johnny Damon (36) – Type A
David Dellucci (36)
Cliff Floyd (37)
Joey Gathright (28)
Matt Holliday (30) – Type A
Reed Johnson (33)
Greg Norton (37)
Wily Mo Pena (28)
Dave Roberts (38)
Gary Sheffield (41)
Fernando Tatis (35) – Type B
Marcus Thames (33)
Randy Winn (36) – Type B

Center fielders
Rick Ankiel (30)
Rocco Baldelli (28)
Marlon Byrd (32) – Type B
Mike Cameron (37) – Type B
Endy Chavez (32)
Coco Crisp (30)
Darin Erstad (36)
Jeff Fiorentino (27)
Ryan Freel (34)
Joey Gathright (28)
Jerry Hairston Jr. (34)
Reed Johnson (33)
Andruw Jones (33)
Corey Patterson (30)
Scott Podsednik (34)
DeWayne Wise (32)

Right fielders
Jermaine Dye (36) – Type A
Brian Giles (39) – Type B
Vladimir Guerrero (35) – Type B
Joey Gathright (28)
Eric Hinske (32)
Geoff Jenkins (35)
Austin Kearns (30)
Jason Michaels (34)
Xavier Nady (31) – Type B
Randy Winn (36) – Type B

Starting pitchers
Brandon Backe (32)
Cha Seung Baek (30)
Miguel Batista (39)
Erik Bedard (31) – Type B
Kris Benson (34)
Paul Byrd (39)
Daniel Cabrera (29)
Chris Capuano (31)
Aroldis Chapman (22)
Bartolo Colon (37)
Jose Contreras (38)
Doug Davis (34) – Type B
Lenny DiNardo (30)
Justin Duchscherer (32) – Type B
Adam Eaton (32)
Shawn Estes (37)
Josh Fogg (33)
Jon Garland (30) – Type B
Tom Glavine (44)
Mike Hampton (37)
Rich Harden (28) – Type B
Mark Hendrickson (36)
Livan Hernandez (35)
Rich Hill (30)
Shawn Hill (29)
Jason Jennings (31)
Jason Johnson (36)
Randy Johnson (46) – Type B
John Lackey (31) – Type A
Braden Looper (35) – Type B
Rodrigo Lopez (34)
Noah Lowry (29)
Jason Marquis (31) – Type B
Pedro Martinez (38)
Eric Milton (34)
Brett Myers (29)
Vicente Padilla (32) – Type B
Carl Pavano (34) – Type B
Brad Penny (32)
Odalis Perez (33)
Andy Pettitte (38) – Type B
Joel Pineiro (31) – Type B
Sidney Ponson (33)
Mark Prior (28)
Horacio Ramirez (30)
Jason Schmidt (37)
Ben Sheets (31)
John Smoltz (43)
Brad Thompson (28)
Brett Tomko (37)
Jarrod Washburn (35)
Todd Wellemeyer (31)
Kip Wells (33)
Randy Wolf (33) – Type A

Closers
Mike Gonzalez (32) – Type A
Kevin Gregg (32) – Type A
Fernando Rodney (33) – Type B
Rafael Soriano (30) – Type A
Jose Valverde (32) – Type A
Billy Wagner (38) – Type A

Right-handed relievers
Luis Ayala (32)
Danys Baez (32)
Joaquin Benoit (32)
Rafael Betancourt (35) – Type A
Chad Bradford (35)
Doug Brocail (43) – Type B
Kiko Calero (35) – Type B
Buddy Carlyle (32)
Chad Cordero (28)
Elmer Dessens (38)
R.A. Dickey (35)
Brendan Donnelly (38)
Octavio Dotel (36) – Type A
Kelvim Escobar (33)
Eric Gagne (34)
Geoff Geary (33)
Dan Giese (33)
Edgar Gonzalez (27)
Tom Gordon (42)
Jason Grilli (33)
LaTroy Hawkins (37) – Type A
Matt Herges (40)
Bob Howry (36) – Type B
Jason Isringhausen (37)
Jorge Julio (31)
Masahide Kobayashi (36)
Shane Loux (30)
Brandon Lyon (30) – Type B
Gary Majewski (30)
Guillermo Mota (36) – Type B
Joe Nelson (35)
Chan Ho Park (37) – Type B
Tomo Ohka (34)
Tony Pena Jr. (29)
Joel Peralta (34)
Troy Percival (40)
J.J. Putz (33)
Juan Rincon (31)
Takashi Saito (40)
Duaner Sanchez (30)
Rudy Seanez (41)
Justin Speier (36)
Russ Springer (41) – Type B
Julian Tavarez (37)
Brad Thompson (28)
Luis Vizcaino (35)
Tyler Walker (34)
David Weathers (40) – Type B
Jeff Weaver (33)
Jamey Wright (35)
Yasuhiko Yabuta (37)
Tyler Yates (32)

Left-handed relievers
Joe Beimel (32) – Type B
Bruce Chen (33)
Alan Embree (40)
Scott Eyre (38) – Type B
Casey Fossum (32)
Mike Gosling (29)
John Grabow (31) – Type A
Eddie Guardado (39)
Mark Hendrickson (36)
Ron Mahay (39)
Will Ohman (31) – Type B
Darren Oliver (39) – Type A
Horacio Ramirez (30)
Glendon Rusch (35)
Scott Schoeneweis (36)
Brian Shouse (41) – Type B
Ken Takahashi (41)
Jack Taschner (32)
Ron Villone (40)
Jamie Walker (38)

 

 

Dissecting the Astros and arbitration/free agency

The free agent filing period began Thursday, with outfielder/infielder Darin Erstad, outfielder Jason Michaels and pitcher Mike Hampton filing for free agency. Shortstop Miguel Tejada, closer Jose Valverde and reliever LaTroy Hawkins are expected to file in the coming days.

The Astros have a 15-day exclusive negotiating window with their own free agents and are hoping to get something done soon with Hawkins. Tejada and Valverde will certainly test the free agency waters.

Tejada, Valverde and Hawkins have been classified by the Elias Sports Bureau as Type A free agents, which means simply they are among the best in baseball at their positions. It also means the Astros could receive an additional first-round draft pick next year if they offer them arbitration and they wind up signing with another team.

Of course, offering arbitration is tricky. Tejada made roughly $15 million last season, so if they offer him arbitration and he accepts, he could wind up making a ton of money after leading the team in hits and driving in 86 runs. But if they don’t offer Tejada arbitration and he signs elsewhere, they get nothing.

The same is true with Valverde, who made $8 million last year and is likely headed for a raise. If the Astros offered arbitration to both Valverde and Tejada and they both accept, they could make a combined $25 million next year. That would put a choke hold on the payroll. Houston already owes Lance Berkman, Roy Oswalt, Carlos Lee and Kaz Matsui a combined $54.5 million next year, and several players are due for large raises in arbitration.

“We have to keep our eye on both balls,” Astros general manager Ed Wade said. “We have to pay attention to the short term, and if there’s a free agent out there we feel we can’t walk past and is costs us a draft pick then we have to deal with that. At the same time, there’s nothing more valuable to the overall long-term picture than draft picks.

“Whether it’s sacrificing draft picks or picking up additional draft picks by offering salary arbitration and run the risk of having the player accept, we have to evaluate the different variables involved. When it comes down to it, if there’s a Major League free agent we think we can’t live without and we have a chance to sign them and them are faced with losing a second-round pick in the process.”

Elias ranks all Major League players numerically based on their stats from the last two years. The players are grouped by five positions by league – first base/outfield, catcher, second base-shortstop-third base, starting pitching and relief pitching. The top 20 percent at each position are considered Type A free agents, and the next 20 percent are Type B.

Teams that lose a Type A free agent receive the first-round draft pick from next year’s First-Year Player Draft from the signing team (provided it’s not in the Top 15) in addition to a supplemental pick between the first and second round. Teams losing a Type B free agent receive a supplemental pick, with the signing team keeping its draft choice.

The good news for the Astros is their pick in next June’s First-Player Draft is in the first half of first round (No. 8), so they will keep their first-round pick even if they sign a Type A free agent. They would give up their second-round pick instead of their first-round pick in that case.

Teams have until Dec. 1 to offer salary arbitration to their own free agents, and the players have until Dec. 7 to decide if they’re going to accept.

In case you’re wondering, Randy Wolf is a Type A free agent.

Players can file for free agency today

Beginning today, players eligible for free agency can start filing. For the Astros, that list includes Darin Erstad, LaTroy Hawkins, Jason Michaels, Miguel Tejada and Jose Valverde, who has already said he’s going to test the free-agent waters. Aaron Boone and Mike Hampton are also eligible, but Boone could retire and Hampton’s career appears to be done.

Those eligible for free agency have 15 days to file and their former team has exclusive negotiating rights for that period. Players are free to talk to other teams, but they can’t talk about contract offers in terms of dollars without risking tampering.

The Astros could sign either of their own free agents, just as they did last week with Geoff Blum. They’re in talks with Hawkins and hope to re-sign him. Michaels could also return, but the big names are Tejada and Valverde. I see Valverde’s price being too high for the Astros, and I don’t envision Tejada returning. It all depends on what kind of market there is for Tejada and whether he wants to take a large pay cut and play third base.

Those looking at possible free agents for the Astros down the road? The Dodgers have declined the option of Jon Garland, who went a combined 11-13 with a 4.01 ERA between Arizona and the L.A. Dodgers. The Astros made a run at him a couple of years ago and could do so again.

 

How about LaTroy Hawkins as closer in 2010?

I’m not a big fan of closers. I mean, it’s an important job and when you have dominant closer like the Phillies did last year with Brad Lidge, it can make a huge difference. But I’m also of the belief that most pitchers with good stuff could convert nine of 10 save chances.

Jose Valverde has been pretty good this season since coming back off the disabled list, which has only driven up his price up when he faces free agency this winter. He’s going to demand, I’m guessing, at least $10 million per year, which should be enough to make the Astros walk away from him. Nice guy, good pitcher, but they can’t afford that.

If I were the Astros, my Plan B would be LaTroy Hawkins. Nice guy, good pitcher and affordable. Hawkins is making $3.5 million this year and he would likely return at probably less than half at what Valverde is going to make. Hawkins has pitched well since the Astros plucked him off his couch last year, and he has experience closing games.

Hawkins saved 42 games for the Twins in 2000-01 and 25 for the Cubs in 2004. And he saved 11 this year while Valverde was on the disabled list. 

Jeff Fulchino has blossomed into a pitcher who could handle the set-up role. Let’s be honest, Doug Brocail isn’t coming back.

But to say a team is only as good as its closer isn’t entirely true. Look at the Phillies. They’ve blown at least 11 saves this year and have one of the best records in baseball. That being said, who would pick the Phillies to win the World Series at this point with their unstable closer situation? The point is the Phillies are a great team, even without a top-notch closer. The Astros aren’t in their league, so why retain a top-notch closer?

Astros are a loose bunch

When relief pitcher Wesley Wright was doing a television interview prior to Wednesday’s game, he got a shaving cream pie to the face, courtesy of – who else? – LaTroy Hawkins. The same LaTroy Hawkins who was the mastermind behind the rookies dressing up in tight workout outfits for the flight to Philadelphia for the final road trip of the season.

As the season draws to a close, the Astros are certainly a loose bunch. And that is just fine with interim manager Dave Clark.

“I like a loose atmosphere,” Clark said. “I think that’s how you’re able to go out and be yourself and play the game like it’s supposed to be played and have fun doing it. That’s exactly what it’s all about it, trying to have fun and win ballgames.”

Clark believes the manager and coaching staff have to create a positive atmosphere. He doesn’t want players getting too high when they’ve won a bunch of games in a row or too low when they’re struggling to put anything together.

“We want it on an even keel,” Clark said. “There are times you’re getting your butt kicked but you have to find a way to get it done, find a way to keep it at an even keel. A lot of that comes from the veterans as well. That’s the kind of atmosphere I definitely want, and that’s the kind of atmosphere I’ll definitely command.”

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Wandy Rodriguez is scheduled to start the first game of the final series of the season Friday in New York. He will be followed by Yorman Bazardo on Saturday and Wilton Lopez on Sunday, but interim manager Dave Clark said Lopez could be used in the bullpen prior to Sunday.

The Astros are shorthanded in the bullpen with Chad Paronto perhaps unavailable for the final four games of the season because of a strained left hamstring.

“The thought process behind that is maybe put Lopez back in the pen and see where we’re at at that particular time,” Clark said. “The last game of the season, if we have to run them all out there, we’ll do it.”

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Relief pitcher Chad Paronto, who had to be helped off the field in the seventh inning Tuesday after straining his left hamstring, said he was sore on Wednesday, though not as sore as he thought he’d be. Paronto said he’d like to pitch again in the final days of the season, but interim manager Dave Clark suggested the right-hander is done.

“It’s frustrating to finally get a chance to get out there and show people what I can do and get hurt,” Paronto said. “I’m not as effective when I pitch every five or six days. Being a sinker-baller, I do better when I pitch every one or two days.”
 

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