Results tagged ‘ Marlins ’

Astros sign Cedeno, option out J.D. Martinez

The Astros made official what first reported Saturday by announcing the signing of veteran shortstop Ronny Cedeno, who will be in the lineup for Sunday’s game against the Marlins.

Cedeno, who was released by the Cardinals last week, and Marwin Gonzalez will split time at shortstop to begin the regular season after the club informed Tyler Greene on Saturday he wasn’t going to make the club. Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow pursued Cedeno in the offseason, but weren’t aggressive considering they had Jed Lowrie in the fold.

“When he became available, we went back to our original plan,” Luhnow said. “He sees an opportunity here to be, if not an every day, a guy that get a lot of playing time. Ronny has a lot of experience at the big league level. He’s only 30 years old, but he plays winter ball just about every year. I’ve been following his career since he was a prospect with the Cubs.

“He is defensively very, very good and with our young pitching staff, our ground ball staff, we felt we needed a reliable defensive player that could help the pitchers. The last thing we want to do is extend innings by not being able to make plays. Ronny is also a Major League hitter, and I think he’s going to give us an opportunity to produce some runs from that position as well.”

Greene is out of options and Luhnow said the team exploring options with other clubs regarding Greene, who struggled this spring.

“Tyler did a good job for us last year as part of this team,” Luhnow said. “He’s got value. He’s a Major League player and I think it’s more the emergence of Marwin, feeling that after Marwin spent all year with the club last year and the things he’s been able to show us this spring, being a switch-hitter, being very solid defensively, being able to play third base, second base, shortstop. I think all of that led us to feel Marwin beat out Tyler for a position on the team.”

Also, the team optioned outfielder J.D. Martinez, who started in left field last year for the Astros on Opening Day, to Triple-A Oklahoma City and also reassigned catcher Jason Jaramillo to Minor League camp

Cedeno, 30, played for the Mets last year and appeared in 78 games, hitting .259 with four homers and 22 RBIs in 186 plate appearances. He’s a career .247 hitter with 37 homers and 218 RBIs in an eight-year career with the Cubs, Pirates, Mariners and Mets.

“I’m very excited to be here,” Cedeno said. “I can be an everyday player and that’s very important. It’s kind of frustrating because I got released in St. Louis and they pushed me to get here and I have an opportunity, and now I’m going to enjoy it.”

The Astros traded shortstop Jed Lowrie in February and came to camp with Greene and Gonzalez vying to be his replacement. They’ve both had 42 at-bats in 18 games this spring, and Greene is hitting .167 with no RBIs and Gonzalez is hitting .238 with a homer and two RBIs.

Carlos Lee era is over in Houston

Only days after they were unable to complete a deal to send Carlos Lee to the Dodgers, the Astros on Wednesday pulled off a trade to send the 36-year-old veteran to the Marlins. The Astros will get Minor League third baseman Matt Dominguez and left-hander Rob Rasmussen in return.

Dominguez will report to the Astros on Thursday in Pittsburgh, while Rasmussen will report to Double-A Corpus Christi.

“Carlos has been an important part of our team and our community in Houston for almost six seasons and he will be missed,” Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said. “We made this move with an eye towards the future, and are very excited about adding Dominguez and Rasmussen to our talent base. Both players have a bright future.”

Lee was pulled from the Astros’ loss to the Pirates at PNC Park in the middle of the seventh inning Wednesday, and by the time reporters were allowed in the clubhouse following the game his locker had been cleaned out and he was gone.

The move paves the way for Brett Wallace to be called up from Triple-A Oklahoma City and finish the year at first base. Wallace has been putting up big numbers in the Minors and performed well in 11 games with the Astros earlier this month, hitting .333 with two homers and four RBIs.

The trade comes as no surprise for an Astros team that’s rebuilding and looking to add more young players. Lee was in the final year of a six-year, $100-million contract and represented one of the last holdovers from an era when the Astros were still competing for playoff spots on yearly basis.

Lee was having poorest offensive showing with the Astros, hitting .287 with only five home runs and 29 RBIs in 66 games. His power has dropped dramatically from the first four years of his contract when he averaged more than 30 homers and drove in more than 100 runs.

It’s not known if the Marlins are paying any of the roughly $9 million Lee is owed this year.

The Astros nearly sent Lee to the Dodgers last weekend and were awaiting his approval on the deal before the Dodgers backed out. Lee has a limited no-trade clause, which means there are 14 teams to which his contract can’t be assigned. The Marlins were not on his list, so he couldn’t block the trade.

Barely a year removed from reaching the World Series in 2005, the Astros signed Lee the day after Thanksgiving in 2006 with hopes he could get them over the hump. A veteran club that included Craig Biggio, Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman had a winning record only once – 86-75 in 2008 – after signing Lee and began to sudden show its age.

The Astros signaled they were rebuilding beginning in 2010 when they traded Oswalt and Berkman, two of the most accomplished players in franchise history, and last year moved up-and-coming outfielder Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn for more prospects.

Lee was moved from left field to first base after Berkman was traded.

Astros GM Jeff Luhnow took over last December and has said he wants to continue to infuse young talent into an increasingly improving Minor League system. Luhnow will probably also try to move veteran starter Wandy Rodriguez and veteran pitcher Brett Myers prior to the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Dominguez was the Marlins 12th overall pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft.

The third baseman out of Chatsworth High School near Los Angeles, Dominguez is regarded as a standout defensive player who has had his struggles at the plate. In 78 games with Triple-A New Orleans, the 23-year-old batted .234 with seven home runs and 46 RBIs in 78 games.

When the Marlins moved Hanley Ramirez to third base, it blocked Dominguez’s path to the big leagues.

Rasmussen, a 23-year-old lefty, was 4-7 with a 3.90 ERA in 16 starts at Class A Jupiter. He was recently promoted to Double-A. The Marlins selected Rasmussen in the second round out of UCLA in 2010.

Astros’ lineup Wednesday vs. Marlins

The Astros will send Lucas Harrell to the mound tonight at Minute Maid Park in an effort to finish what would be a very good homestand if they can beat the Marlins and Josh Johnson. The Astros are 6-2 with one game remaining at home before playing three games in Pittsburgh and two in Philadelphia.

Here is the lineup for the Astros:

CF Jordan Schafer

2B Jose Altuve

SS Jed Lowrie

1B Carlos Lee

LF Travis Buck

3B Chris Johnson

RF Brian Bogusevic

C Chris Snyder

RHP Lucas Harrell

Watch Mills react to 3-2 win over Marlins

The Astros finally broke though against a tough pitcher Tuesday, scoring a pair of unearned runs in the sixth inning against Miami’s Anibal Sanchez to tie the game before Brian Bogusevic’s pinch-hit, RBI double in the eighth sent them to a 3-2 win, snapping the Marlins’ seven-game winning streak.

Here’s the post-game video of manager Brad Mills:

Norris ties to stop the Astros’ 3-game skid

The Astros will try to snap a three-game losing streak in the middle game of a three-game against the Marlins at 6:10 p.m. CT Saturday at Marlins Ballpark. Bud Norris will start against the Astros’ former NL Central nemesis Carlos Zambrano, who is 16-8 with a 2.72 ERA in 34 games (32 starts) against the Astros.

While Norris and Zambrano have only faced each other once in their careers, 1B Carlos Lee has seen Zambrano 75 times in his career and is hitting .358 (24-for-67) against the right-hander with five home runs and a .427 on-base percentage.

Here are some other tidbits:

  • Astros starters have posted a 3.57 ERA in the first seven games this season, recording four quality starts. Their starters rank seventh in the NL in ERA, while the staff as a whole ranks sixth (3.38 ERA).
  • The Astros have outscored their opponents 32-30 this season. The team’s .258 batting average is third in the Majors, while their .328 on-base percentage ranks fourth.
  • J.D. Martinez (.385) is the only Astros player to hit safely in all seven games this season (tied for the longest streak in the Majors). Chris Johnson (.346) has hit safely in his last six games, and Jordan Schafer has reached base safely via hit or walk in all seven games this season (.406 OBP).

Lowrie makes season debut in new Marlins Park

Greetings from Marlins Park, where the Astros and Marlins will play the second regular season game in the new ballpark tonight at 6:10 CT. Astros right-hander Lucas Harrell will be on the mound for the first of a three-game series. Shortstop Jed Lowrie will make his debut for the Astros, batting second (lineup at bottom):

Here are some pre-series tidbits for Astros and Marlins:

  • The Astros have won just two of their last 11 games against the Marlins, and just two of the last 16 games in Miami. In that 16-game stretch, the Astros have averaged 3.6 runs per game and have posted a 6.67 ERA against the Marlins, who have averaged 6.8 runs per game and posted a 3.08 ERA. Also, the Astros have been out-homered 18-10 and given up 67 walks, compared to just 40 for the Marlins.
  • The Astros are 3-3 to begin the 2012 season, including a perfect 3-0 when committing fewer errors than their opponents. The Astros have come out ahead in eight of their last 12 games with fewer errors than their opponents.
  • Carlos Lee began to get his offense back on track in late August of last season, and has continued that success in the first six games of 2012. Since Aug. 20 of last year, he’s hitting .340 with a .425 on-base percentage and .571 slugging percentage and averaging a homer every 19.5 at-bat (42 games).
  • J.D. Martinez is the fourth-youngest No. 3-hole hitter in the Majors at 24 years, 236 days. The only older No. 3 hitters are the Cubs’ Starlin Castro (22-20), the Royals’ Eric Hosmer (22-172) and the D-backs’ Justin Upton (24-232).
  • Astros starting pitcher Lucas Harrell is 2-1 with a 1.65 ERA in night games in his career, which includes three starts in 13 games. In day games, he’s 0-1 with an 8.82 ERA in three starts in five games.
  • Marlins starter Ricky Nolasco is closing in on a few franchise records. He’s second in games started at 149, trailing only Dontrelle Willis (162), second in wins (Willis, 68), second in innings pitched at 930 1/3 (Willis, 1022 2/3) and is already first in strikeouts with 791.

Here is the Astros’ lineup:

CF Jordan Schafer

SS Jed Lowrie

LF J.D. Martinez

1B Carlos Lee

RF Brian Bogusevic

3B Chris Johnson

C Jason Castro

2B Jose Altuve

RHP Lucas Harrell

Lowrie sprains his right thumb

Astros shortstop Jed Lowrie suffered a sprained right thumb diving into second base in the third inning of Wednesday’s game against the Marlins at Osceola County Stadium. X-rays were negative.

Lowrie, who has been hampered by injury in his career, led off the third inning with a single and was picked off on a throw from the pitcher. Lowrie dived back into the bag, but jammed his hand into Marlins second baseman Omar Infante, who blocked the base as he reached for the throw.

“Hopefully it’s ice it a couple of days and I’m back out there,” he said. “I’m going to go with that until they tell me otherwise. It’s stupid with five days left in Spring Training. I don’t think there’s any reason to block a base at any time, particularly at this time. I don’t think he’s trying to hurt me, but he’s a middle infielder. Stupid injuries like this happen when you block bases. Hopefully it’s nothing.”

Infante said he wasn’t intentionally blocking the base.

“I could see the throw was away, but I don’t know what happened,” he said. “I feel bad. I couldn’t do anything [to avoid it].”

Said Lowrie:

“The throw kind of took him up the line a little bit and he just blocked the base and I slid right into him and jammed my thumb,” he said. “When you’re expecting the base to be three feet further away and there’s a body there instead, that’s how things get jammed.”

Astros-Marlins postgame notes from Saturday

The Astros blew another late lead Saturday, allowing the Marlins to roar back from three runs down in the seventh and win 7-5. The loss drops the Astros to 1-7, which is only one game better than they’re 0-8 start of a year ago.

The Astros led 4-1 through six innings Saturday and watched the Marlins get Bud Norris for three runs to tie the game, before Fernando Abad allowed a pair of runs in the seventh to give Florida a 6-4 lead. On Friday, Houston had a 1-0 lead through six and a 2-1 lead through seven and couldn’t hang on.

Alas, here are some postgame notes:

  • The Astros posted a season-high five runs on a season-high 11 hits Saturday night.
  • RHP Bud Norris got the first extra-base hit, run scored and RBI by an Astros pitcher this season, coming in the third inning
  • C J.R. Towles picked up another hit and has now hit safely in all four of his starts this season.
  • 2B Bill Hall went 1-for-4 and has now hit safely in four straight games since collecting a .286 average in that span. In his firstfour games of the season, Hall went 1-for-15.
  • By doubling in the eighth inning, LF Carlos Lee became the first Astros player to record a single, double, triple and home run this season.
  • Jason Bourgeois collected the Astros’ first pinch-hit this season with an infield single in the ninth. Prior to his at-bat, Astros pinch-hitters had combined to go 0-for-10.
  • 1B Brett Wallace has recorded RBIs in five consecutive games and in five of his last six games.
  • SS Angel Sanchez snapped a personal streak of 19 games and 69 at-bats between extra-base hits before doubling in the first inning. His previous extra-base hit came on Sept. 11, 2010 against the Dodgers.

No hard feelings over play at second

Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez said Saturday he doesn’t hold anything against Astros second baseman Bill Hall for his hard slide in Friday’s game, a slide that forced Ramirez to leave the game with a bruised shin. He wasn’t in the lineup Saturday, but is listed as day-to-day.

In case you missed it, Hall slid across second base and topped Ramirez while trying to break up a double play in the seventh inning Saturday. Hall was briefly shaken up, but Ramirez had to be helped off the field.

Ramirez hasn’t seen a replay of the seventh-inning play and doesn’t plan to.  The three-time All-Star believed it was a clean play and said he’s not upset with Hall and holds no ill will towards Hall.

“He got me pretty good, but he was just trying to do his job,” said Ramirez. “He was trying to break up a double play. You’re supposed to play the game hard and that’s the way he plays.”

Hall was glad Ramirez wasn’t seriously hurt.

“Obviously, you have to play this game hard,” Hall said. “I didn’t go in with ill intent. I’m an infielder myself, so I know what it feels like to be in those helpless positions. When you’re on the other side, you’ve still got to play the game hard. You’re risking injury yourself not playing the game hard.

“I’m going in hard, but his spin set left him out there. I’ve been in those positions myself and hopefully he’s not hurt too bad. Like I said, just got my ankle a little bit and I’ll be fine. It’s one of those things, you play the game hard and things like that happen.”

Hall said Ramirez started to scream as soon as the two collided.

“I knew it had a possibility of being bad,” he said. “I try to take guys out the right way – go shin on shin. I went shin on shin and unfortunately for him the throw was slow enough and with a guy on second I had a good enough lead that I could get in there fast. It was just one of those unfortunate plays. Hopefully he’s OK and get back in there tomorrow or the next day.”

Astros postgame tidbits from Friday

Here are some post-games notes from the Astros’ 4-3 loss to the Marlins on Friday:

  • With Friday’s loss, the Astros are now 23-27 in home openers in the history of the franchise.
  • Friday marked the Astros first multi-homer game of the season, getting one each from C J.R. Towles and 1B Brett Wallace. The last time the Astros hit two homers in a game was on Sept. 21, 2010 at Washington.
  • Wandy Rodriguez was handed a no-decision Friday after tossing seven innings, allowing one run on eight hits. Friday marked his second time to start an Astros home opener, also in 2008 vs St. Louis. In those two games, Rodriguez has pitched 14 1/3  innings allowing 1 earned run
  • Dating to last season, Rodriguez has posted 11 consecutive quality starts at Minute Maid Park. Since June 24, 2010, he is 5-1 with a 1.56 ERA at Minute Maid, and the Astros have gone 6-5 in those games.
  • Towles connected for his first homer of the season and has now hit safely in all three of his starts this season. This is the second time Towles has homered in an Astros home opener (2008).
  • Wallace hit his first home run of the season and tied his career high with three hits. His only other career three-hit game came on Aug. 30, 2010 vs. St. Louis.
  • With a crowd of 41,042 on Friday, the Astros have sold out 10 straight Home Openers dating back to 2002. In the history of MMP, the Astros have sold out 11 of their 12 home openers.