Results tagged ‘ Matt Albers ’

Albers could be out three to four more weeks

Astros reliever Matt Albers said Wednesday he could be out of action for another three to four weeks while he recovers from tendinitis in his right shoulder. Albers had a cortisone injection in the shoulder Tuesday and will head to Kissimmee, Fla., at some point within the next week to continue to rehab.

Albers, on the disabled list since April 22, tried to throw a simulated game Friday in Baltimore but didn’t feel right warming up and shut it down. He’s since underwent an MRI that showed no structural damage to the shoulder.

“Throwing at 60, 70 percent was fine, and I really tried to ramp it up and the pain came back,” he said. “I took the next step and got an MRI and structurally everything looked good, which is a good sign. There’s just inflammation in there. That’s what’s causing the pain. They went ahead and gave me a couple of cortisone shots and I will take a couple of weeks off and see where I’m at. I’m not exactly sure, but I think it’s a good three to four weeks before I come back.”

Albers, signed to a contract this offseason, has pitched in eight games this season, allowing one earned run in 10 innings. He was on the disabled list from June 26-Oct. 21, 2008 with right shoulder inflammation.

“It’s definitely discouraging,” he said. “Obviously, you’d love to be out there helping the team. I pride myself in being pretty durable and I haven’t had any issues with being on the DL, except for 2008. It’s definitely unfortunate, but it just kind of happens that you have to deal with it. I tried to come back quickly and it wasn’t working, so I have to take time and make sure it’s right.”

Meanwhile, Astros reliever Anthony Bass felt some discomfort on the right side of his torso while playing catch Tuesday and has been diagnosed with a strained intercostal muscle. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday.

“It’s sore,” Bass said. “I’m going to give it time and ice. Everyone’s different. It all depends on how the body responds to the treatment and then I’ll be back.”

Bass, 26, is 1-0 with two saves and a 4.50 ERA in 15 games for the Astros this season. He leads the club with four holds and has allowed a .239 opponent’s batting average this year.

“It’s not disappointing because I was throwing the ball hard, it’s disappointing because I want to get out there and help the team win,” he said. “These things happen. It’s unfortunate. I’ll be back. Hopefully the treatment responds and I come back here soon, but we’ll see. There’s really no timetable.”

Ciserno to have Tommy John surgery; Albers out

The rash of injuries to pitchers that are requiring Tommy John surgery this season won’t be immune to the Astros, who announced Tuesday right-handed reliever Jose Cisnero will undergo the procedure next week.

Cisnero, who suffered a strained ulnar collateral ligament last week in Detroit, was examined Tuesday by team physical Dr. Thomas Mehlhoff, who recommended surgery. Mehlhoff will perform the surgery in Houston.

“You know it happens in the industry and you see it happen to other players, but you don’t expect it to happen to you,” general manager Jeff Luhnow said.

Cisnero was called up from Triple-A Oklahoma City on April 25 and appeared in five games with the Astros. He shares the same agent with former Astros pitcher Fernando Rodriguez, who underwent the surgery shortly after he was traded to the A’s last February.

“He’s been able to talk to him about the experience and he knows what to expect,” Luhnow said. “He’s young and he’s got a good arm and I’m sure he’ll come back.”

Meanwhile, Luhnow said veteran right-handed reliever Matt Albers received a cortisone shot Tuesday in his right shoulder and won’t throw a baseball for 10 days while he recovers from tendinitis. He’s been on the disabled list since April 22.

The good news for the Astros is an MRI showed some inflammation, but no structural damage to Albers’ shoulder.

“It’s going to be longer than we originally expected, but it’s not anything that will hinder him long term,” Luhnow said.

With Jesse Crain (biceps tendinitis surgery) having not pitched this year and Albers limited to eight games, two of the three veteran relievers the Astros acquired to improve their bullpen are now on the shelf.

“It’s a setback,” Luhnow said. “I talked to Crain and he’s feeling better every day. We’re still unclear as to his return. That’s why you try and build up as much depth as you can. Clearly, two-thirds of our master plan to fix the bullpen is not available, and that hurts. We’ll overcome it. Fortunately, both of them are expected to return and hopefully they’ll come back and contribute. In the meantime, the other guys will step up and it provides opportunity.”

 

Zeid on his way up to replace Albers

Astros relief pitcher Matt Albers will be placed on paternity leave Tuesday and will be replaced on the roster by right-hander Josh Zeid, who began the season at Triple-A Oklahoma City, a source told MLB.com. Zeid is expected to be in Toronto for Tuesday’s game against the Blue Jays.

Albers and his wife, Tara, are expecting their first child Tuesday in Houston.

Albers, signed to a one-year, $2.45-million contract in December to pitch for his hometown Astros, pitched in three games during the first week of the season, allowing four hits in 4 1/3 scoreless innings. Players are allowed to take up to three days of paternity leave for the birth of their child.

Zeid was optioned to Triple-A late in spring camp after posting a 4.15 ERA in seven games. He appeared in 25 games in relief for the Astros last year in his Major League debut and was 0-1 with a 3.90 ERA, stranding 15 of the 17 runners he inherited.

Albers, who attended Clements High School in the Houston suburb of Sugar Land, appeared in 56 games last season for Cleveland and was 3-1 with a 3.14 ERA. He’s pitched eight years in the Majors, including his first two with Houston (2006-07) and three with Baltimore (2008-10).

Finding a closer is top job for Astros

Astros manager Bo Porter said Monday morning the task of finding a pitcher or a combination of pitchers to successfully handle the role of closer will be job one this spring. That’s no shocker considering the Astros have blown 48 saves in 111 chances the last two years, which is a Major League-low 56.8 save percentage in that span.

“When you look at the woes in which we had in our bullpen last year, it’s something we set out as an organization to make sure we rectified,” Porter said. “We brought in some guys that have the ability to rectify that portion of our ballclub, and I’m anxious to see how it plays out.”

Porter said newcomers Jesse Crain, Chad Qualls and Matt Albers will all be considered for closer, along with Josh Fields, who handled the duties for part of last season as a rookie after Jose Veras was traded. Qualls spent parts of three seasons as a closer with the D-backs.

“We’ll figure out as the course of spring goes on and the season goes on who’s best suited for that role, but it will be collectively a group effort to get those late outs in the back end of the game,” Porter said. “I think it’s totally open because I think competition brings out the best in all of us. And it’s something that we’re going to let these guys compete and let the competition tell us who should actually have that role.”

Ideally, the Astros would like to have one identified closer, but Porter knows that might not be the case for the start of the season.

“When you have that guy, that’s the ninth-inning guy, you know when it’s a save situation he’s going to get the ball every time,” he said. “Unfortunately, we’re not at that point, as far as our team would go. I’m glad we have a multitude of guys capable of manning that role. Again, we’ll let that competition play itself out, and I believe one of these guys, if not two or three of these guys, are going to step up. It’s a good problem to have if you have everyone throw well and now you look and you feel like you have a closer in the seventh, eighth and ninth.”

In addition to experience, which could give Qualls a leg up, the ability to induce weak ground balls is what Porter is looking for in a closer.

“If they do get in trouble, they have something that can get them out of trouble,” he said. “They have to be able to get righties and lefties out because when you bring in a closer, you don’t want to feel like you need to match him up against the opposite hitter. I also think experience plays a huge role in doing that job. It’s a guy that’s been there and understands the moment. The moment is never going to get too big for him. That’s important for well.”

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Players gather for morning instruction

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Catching instructor Jeff Murphy and new first base coach Tarrick Brock talk

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Pitching coach Brent Strom

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Josh Fields talks to Dallas Keuchel

Veteran leadership key as workouts begin

Prior to Astros pitchers and catchers taking the field for the first time Sunday morning on the back fields at Osceola County Stadium, manager Bo Porter met with a group of veteran pitchers he identified as being the leaders of the staff.

Porter sat down with Lucas Harrell, Scott Feldman, Chad Qualls, Matt Albers, Jesse Crain, Jerome Williams and Peter Moylan and told them he wants them to set a good example for the youngsters. They’ll also be involved in some of the morning meetings.

“You look at that group, and it’s guys that had success at the Major League level, they’re veteran guys,” Porter said. “I explained to them, ‘We’re not looking for one leader. We’re looking for a group of leaders.’ This is an unusual situation. A lot of those guys have come here from other organizations. Chad and Albers are a little bit different because they were here at one time and came back. Lucas has been here.

“I wanted to stress to them that this organization and where we’re at right now, it’s not like we have the [Craig] Biggios, the [Jeff] Bagwells, the guys that have been here for many years and you can say, ‘Hey, follow these guys. They know the Astros way.’ We are in the process of creating the Astros way, and our younger guys, I want to make sure they’re following the right people.

“I stressed that to our veteran guys. When you are a young players – and we’ve all been there before – you look around the clubhouse and say, ‘Wow, this guy’s been here 10 years. I wonder how he’s been able to accomplish that?’ Because you’re young, you’re impressionable and you’re going to watch that guy and watch that every move. I told those guys, ‘You will do more by whatever it is you do than you do than by whatever it is that you say.’ So make sure that your actions match what it is you’re saying each and every day.”

While the pitchers did their morning stretch work, Porter emphasized how happy he was that camp was finally underway following an offseason full of roster moves.

“I probably looked at the roster 1,000 times,” he said. “That’s what you do each and every day. You go to the ballpark and sit up at night and you think about the players. It’s good to have the group of talented guys we have here, but more importantly it’s good to be out here and getting started with the 2014 season.”

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Clemens and Moylan emerge

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Harrell heads to field

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Wojciechowski walks to field

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Castro gets in gear

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Rhiner Cruz

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Qualls is back in Kissimmee

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Porter talks with Appel and Stassi

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Corporan mugs for the camera

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Pitchers do morning exercises

Albers excited to return to Houston

The Astros brought back another one of their own, agreeing Monday to a one-year deal with an option for veteran relief pitcher Matt Albers, who was drafted by the Astros and pitched the first two years of his career in Houston.

The club has not confirmed the deal.

Albers joins Chad Qualls, who signed a two-year deal with an option with the Astros on Dec. 7, as free agent signings made by general manager Jeff Luhnow to bolster the back end of the bullpen. Both pitchers were drafted by the Astros and pitched for several teams after being traded away.

Albers, who attended Clements High School in the Houston suburb of Sugar Land, appeared in 56 games last season for Cleveland and was 3-1 with a 3.14 ERA. He’s pitched eight years in the Majors, including his first two with Houston (2006-07) and three with Baltimore (2008-10).

“It’s really a good fit to be able to come in and try to do just what I’ve been doing the last few years, and hopefully help get this team back on track,” Albers told MLB.com. “As soon as I knew Houston was real involved, I knew this is where I wanted to be. I was real excited when they made me a good offer and I was ready to accept it.”

The addition of Qualls and Albers shores up an Astros bullpen that led the league in blown saves last season and went with a closing contingent of young arms. It’s still not clear if the Astros will still try to sign a veteran closer.

Since he was traded following the 2007 season, Albers spent three years in Baltimore, 1 ½ years in Boston, half a season in Arizona and spent last season with the Indians. He has a career 25-31 record with a 4.49 ERA in 356 career appearances.

“I’ve been around to a few teams, but being back here is nice,” Albers said. “Last year, I was kind of a middle reliever, and years before that more of a back-end guy. Hopefully, this year coming in I can compete for a back-end spot. That would be nice.”

Albers was sent to Baltimore along with Mike Costanzo, Troy Patton, Dennis Sarfate and Luke Scott in a blockbuster deal on Dec. 12, 2007 in exchange for Miguel Tejada. Qualls was traded away from Houston just two days later when he was sent to Arizona along with Chris Burke and Juan Gutierrez for closer Jose Valverde.

He says he’s matured since his first stint in Houston, when he was called up as a starter for a team that was coming off a World Series appearance. The Astros still believed they could contend, which is why they shipped Albers and other prospects to Baltimore to acquire Tejada.

“That was quite a while ago,” Albers said. “I’ve gotten older, matured and gotten married. I just really continued going forward. It might have been good for me to get traded to Baltimore and be able to go there and Boston and Arizona and Cleveland. Just to be able to come home is real exciting.”

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