Results tagged ‘ Michael Bourn ’

Carlos Lee will make debut Tuesday

Astros slugger Carlos Lee is scheduled to be in the lineup for Tuesday’s game against the Mets in his first Spring Training game of the year. Lee sat out the first two games with a mild right hamstring strain, but he said Monday he feels great and can play. Lee said he ran the bases and 20 sprints on Sunday and had no issues.

Meanwhile, catcher Humberto Quintero (back/hip) is still a few days from getting in the lineup, manager Brad Mills said. Third baseman Jimmy Paredes (wrist) and infielder Angel Sanchez (back) continue to progress and will take batting practice Monday. Mills said they’re tentatively planned to take live batting practice on Tuesday.

Today’s game will be the first Astros center fielder Jordan Schafer against his former team. Michael Bourn, who was traded to the Braves in the Schafer deal last year, will start for Atlanta.

“It will be fun just to be able to go against some of my old guys,” Schafer said. “It’s just another Spring Training game and trying to get ready for the season, but it will be fun to go against my old teammates.”

Schafer worked out in the offseason with Martin Pardo and even a few times with Matt Diaz. He’s also kept in touch with Tim Hudson and Jair Jurrjens, who will start today for the Braves.

“When you’re on a team for a few years you build friendships, but at the same time I’m still getting ready to go for the season,” he said.

Here is the Astros lineup:

CF Jordan Schafer

2B Jose Altuve

RF Brian Bogusevic

LF J.D. Martinez

DH Jack Cust

SS Jed Lowrie

3B Matt Downs

1B Scott Moore

C Jason Castro

—-

RHP Jordan Lyles, followed by Zach Duke

Tumultuous weekend for Astros

What a weekend for the Astros.

When they get back together at Minute Maid Park on Monday afternoon, there should be some introductions in order. In the past 72 hours, the Astros traded away the best hitters in their lineup — outfielders Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn — and sent starting third baseman Chris Johnson and first baseman Brett Wallace to the Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Whew.

Instead of Bourn and Pence, fans will have to get to know players like Luis Durango and Jimmy Paredes. Who are they? They are the newest additions to the club and will join the team Monday. There’s a good chance when the Astros hit the field Monday against the Reds they’ll have three players in the lineup who spent most of the season at Double-A Corpus Christi. Houston Hooks, anyone?

With Johnson going to Oklahoma City, it looks as though Paredes will start at third base. He was iffy defensively during Spring Training when he was in the middle of the infield, and he strikes out three times more than he walks. But he’s as athletic as crazy and just 22 years, so I’m anxious to see what he’s got. Just like I’m anxious to see more of J.D. Martinez and Jose Altuve.

I’m guessing Carlos Lee plays first base until Wallace returns. Jason Bourgeois will play center field until Schafer is healthy, with J.D. Martinez in left and perhaps Brian Bogusevic in right. Jason Michaels and Durango will be in the mix, too. When Schafer returns in about 10 days, Bourgeois could play right field. This all has to be sorted out.

The times certainly have changed for the Astros, and it’s going to require a large amount of patience from the fans. For the second year in a row, the Astros traded two key players and stocked up on prospects. If they pan out the way the Astros hope, they will be well-positioned for the future. As for now, it’s time to enjoy the kids.

The following links are a recap of the day’s coverage on MLB.com:

Chris Johnson and Brett Wallace talked to me about getting sent to the Minor Leagues

The Astros trade Michael Bourn to the Braves for Jordan Schafer and three prospects

Here’s everything you need to know about the prospects the Astros got from the Braves

Astros CF Michael Bourn talked to MLB.com following the trade and gave his thoughts

Astros general manager Ed Wade tried to trade Wandy Rodriguez, but they will try to slip him through waivers and try to deal him in August

On a final note: I’m taking the next few days off, but will be back in the saddle later this week. Thanks for turning to MLB.com for the best coverage of the Astros at the Trade Deadline.

Bourn prefers Houston

For the second day in a row, the Astros clubhouse was filled with anxiety as everyone wondered if more players were on their way out the door. The Astros traded Hunter Pence to the Phillies on Friday, and were reportedly in talks with the Braves for a possible deal for Michael Bourn.

The Astros’ efforts to trade outfielder Bourn were picking up steam on Friday evening, according to multiple reports. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported Saturday it’s growing more likely Bourn will be dealt before Sunday’s 3 p.m. CT non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Bourn said Saturday he’d prefer to stay in Houston, his hometown.

“Yeah, of course,” he said. “I don’t control that. There’s nothing I can do about that. There’s nothing I can say because everybody knew [Hunter] wanted to stay here and he had no control. Sometimes the business side takes over the love side. You’ve got to understand that.”

Bourn was trying to stay focused as much as possible.

“I know it was a little tough for Hunter,” Bourn said. “It’s a tough thing to deal with all the time. If one of your big pieces leave, then they’re trying to start the whole thing over. That happens from time to time and you have to deal with that. Whatever they decide to do, I’ll have to be prepared every day.”

Bourn, 28, is having his best season, entering Saturday hitting .304 with a Major League-leading 39 stolen bases. Since June 1, he’s tied for first in the National League in hits and ranks fourth in batting average (.338).

Bourn tired of “Let’s go Red Sox!” chants

Astros center fielder Michael Bourn – and probably the rest of his teammates – doesn’t like seeing Minute Maid Park full of so many Red Sox fans. There was a large and vocal Red Sox contingent during this weekend’s series against Boston.

“Their fan base is huge,” Bourn said. “When we are playing the Red Sox, you hear ‘Let’s go Red Sox!’ loud. I’m like, ‘We’re in our home stands.’ I want to hear, ‘Let’s go Astros!’ I don’t want to hear a visiting team overtaking our team. We have to get our fans to come out and the only way we can do that is by winning.”

 

Who will be the Astros’ All-Star

Considering the Astros are 29-54 and have the worst record in the Major Leagues, it would be surprising if they had more than one representative for the All-Star Game, which will be July 12 in Phoenix. The teams will be announced at 11 a.m. CT on Sunday.

Right fielder Hunter Pence, who had three hits Saturday, appears to be the overwhelming choice to be the team’s lone representative. He leads the team in batting average (.323), home runs (10) and RBIs (57), where he ranks among the league’s leaders.

But don’t discount center fielder Michael Bourn, the Astros’ lone All-Star representative last year. Bourn went 4-for-5 on Saturday to increase his batting average to .297 and on-base percentage to .362. He also leads the Majors in stolen bases and appears on his way to winning a third consecutive Gold Glove.

Left-hander Wandy Rodriguez (6-4, 2.97 ERA) has had a nice first half, but I can’t imagine him making it at the expense of either Pence or Bourn, assuming the Astros only get one All-Star.

So who’s your Astros’ All-Star in 2011?

Astros have grand night at Minute Maid

Astros manager Brad Mills was forced to watch Tuesday’s 11-2 win over the Cubs from a suite at Minute Maid Park after being suspended earlier in the day, but the view had to be sweet no matter where he was sitting.

The Astros pounded out 16 hits for the second time in three games and reached double-digit hits for the fifth consecutive game – their longest such streak in nearly two years. Michael Bourn, Angel Sanchez and Hunter Pence went a combined 9-for-15 with seven runs scored and seven RBIs.

Bourn went 2-for-4 with a double, two stolen bases and a career-high four runs scored, Sanchez tied his career high with four hits and drove in a pair of runs and Pence went 3-for-5 with a double and four RBIs. The Astros were 9-for-20 with runners in scoring position.

Brett Myers, who had a rare chance to pitch with a big lead, went seven innings and allowed one run and eight hits to improve to 6-0 with a 1.74 ERA in his last seven starts against the Cubs. He’s also 10-1 with a 2.26 ERA in 20 games (18 starts) in his career at Minute Maid Park.

“That’s how you win ballgames,” Myers said. “You’ve got to have pitching and defense and you’ve got to score some runs. We played well at everything – defense, pitching was good and we swung the bats really well, too. Last night’s game had a lot to do with how well we played. We showed ourselves we could fight back with any team no matter who was in there. They came out from the get-go swinging tonight.”

Here are some postgame notes:

  • The Astros have recorded double-digit hits in each of their last five consecutive games and are hitting .339 in that span. The last time the club had a streak of five games with 10 or more hits was May 1-5, 2009.
  • The 11 runs scored by the Astros on Tuesday are the most since Aug. 3, 2010, at St. Louis, when the team scored 18 in an 18-4 win.
  • Astros starting pitchers have posted a 2-1 record and a 3.32 ERA since April 7. In the first five games of the season, Astros starters combined for an 0-4 record and a 9.62 ERA.
  • The Astros have five triples this season and entered Tuesday’s game tied for first in the Majors with Texas and Toronto with four.
  • Astros starting pitchers are hitting .381 (8-for-21) this season, including Brett Myers’ 1-for-3 performance on Tuesday. Myers is hitting .429 (3-for-7) in 2011.
  • Astros pitchers did not allow a run from the fifth inning Monday night until the seventh Tuesday, a span of 11 innings, marking the longest scoreless innings streak by the club this season.
  • RHP Brett Myers allowed one run in seven innings, lowering his season ERA to 1.77. Myers owns a 6-0 record with a 1.74 ERA in his last seven starts vs. the Cubs, and in his 14 career starts against the Cubs, he is 11-2 with a 2.16 ERA.
  • Myers is 10-1 with a 2.26 ERA in 20 games, 18 starts, in his career at Minute Maid Park.
  • SS Angel Sanchez tied his career high with four hits Tuesday for the second time (also Aug. 3, 2010 at St. Louis). Sanchez has five hits in his last seven at-bats with four RBIs in that span (.714). In his last last games, he is hitting .526 with five RBIs.
  • C Humberto Quintero tied his career high with three hits for the fifth time.
  • CF Michael Bourn scored a career-high four runs in the win. His previous high was three runs, accomplished four times. He also stole bases on consecutive pitches.
  • RF Hunter Pence’s four RBIs were his most since Aug. 17, 2010, vs. the Mets, when he also drove in four.
  • CF Michael Bourn and 2B Bill Hall each extended their hitting streaks to a team-leading seven games on Tuesday. During their streaks, both players are hitting .333: Bourn is 10-for-30 and Hall is 8-for-24.

Postgame notes from Monday’s loss to Cubs

The Astros teased their fans on Monday night and nearly pulled off what would have been a terrific comeback. The Astros were trailing 5-1 in the seventh when they rallied for three runs off Cubs starter Ryan Dempster, getting a pinch-hit solo home run from Hall and a two-run homer by Angel Sanchez – the first of his career – to cut the lead to 5-4.

Then the frustration kicked in. The Astros were 3-for-12 with runners in scoring position, including 2-for-7 in the final three innings, and stranded a total of 12 runners.

“It’s tough when you have the record we have to take away moral victories,” Hall said. “Moral victories won’t get you in the playoffs, but at the same time we’ve got to take this momentum we did gain tonight and take it into [Tuesday].”

Here are some postgame tidbits:

  • Houston has recorded double-digit hits in each of the last four games and is hitting .324 in that span.
  • Astros starting pitchers posted a 1-1 record and a 3.77 ERA through their second turn in the rotation. In the first turn, Astros starters combined for an 0-4 record and a 9.62 ERA.
  • Houston’s bullpen combined for five scoreless, hitless innings and has not allowed a run since Saturday, a span 6 2/3 innings.
  • SS Angel Sanchez hit his first career Major League home run in his 317th career at-bat in the seventh inning. The game marked Sanchez’s second multi-RBI game of 2011 (April 5 at Cincinnati).
  • Matt Downs, who recorded a RBI-pinch-hit single in the fifth, is 3-for-7 with three RBIs in his last three games.
  • Bill Hall hit his sixth career pinch-home run in the sixth inning with he clanked one of the right-field foul pole. It is his first pinch-hit homer since May 14, 2010 at Detroit, and the first by an Astros player since Jason Michaels on Aug. 1, 2010 against the Brewers.
  • Bill Hall has an extra-base hit in each of his last three games (double, triple and homer).
  • CF Michael Bourn and Bill Hall each extended their hitting streaks to a team-leading six  games. During their streak, Bourn is hitting .320 (8-for-25) and Hall is hitting .368 (7-for19).
  • RHP Mark Melancon tossed one scoreless inning and has not allowed a run in his six appearances this season, covering five innings.
  • Monday’s s attendance of 20,175 is the second-smallest crowd in Minute Maid Park history, trailing a crowd of 18,594 on April 8, 2003 against the Reds.
  • All fans with a valid ticket to tonight’s game will receive a free sandwich at Chick-fil-A on Tuesday courtesy of Bill Hall’s seventh-inning home run, which hit the right -field foul pole.

Taking a shot at the Astros 25-man roster

We are roughly halfway through Spring Training and the roster picture is pretty much as cloudy as it was when camp opened a month ago, and perhaps even more so with the injury to catcher Jason Castro. With so many bodies still in camp, it’s been difficult to determine which players might have the leg up, but that will not deter me.

Here’s my guess on what the Opening Day roster will look like:

CATCHERS (2)

Humberto Quintero

J.R. Towles

Comment: The Astros could still bring in another catcher in time for Opening Day, but for now I’m going to limit my prediction to the players that are still in camp.

INFIELDERS (6)

Brett Wallace (L)

Bill Hall

Clint Barmes

Chris Johnson

Matt Downs

Tommy Manzella

Comment: I still believe Wallace is going to win the first base job. Downs has looked good in camp and could bring some pop and versatility off the bench. Manzella has broadened his defensive scope and has looked good at the plate so far this spring. Angel Sanchez could still play his way into the mix, but his defense is an issue. Anderson Hernandez has played well, too.

OUTFIELDERS (5)

Carlos Lee

Michael Bourn (L)

Hunter Pence

Jason Michaels

Brian Bogusevic (L)

Comment: The only spot up for grabs is the fifth outfield spot. Bogusevic probably has a leg up on Jason Bourgeois because he hits left-handed. He runs pretty well too, but not as well as Bourgeois, who could also play second base.

STARTING PITCHERS (5)

Brett Myers

Wandy Rodriguez (L)

J.A. Happ (L)

Bud Norris

Ryan Rowland-Smith (L)

Comment: The fifth spot in the rotation remains completely up for grabs. Right now, I go with Rowland-Smith over Jordan Lyles, who has looked good but is still 20 years old and has barely had his feet wet at Triple-A. Nelson Figueroa makes the club as the long reliever.

RELIEF PITCHERS (7)

Brandon Lyon

Wilton Lopez

Fernando Abad (L)

Jeff Fulchino

Nelson Figueroa

Mark Melancon

Henry Villar

Comment: At this point, I see Lyon, Lopez, Abad and Figueroa as locks. Fulchino is healthy and pitching well, and Melancon appears to have a good chance. The last spot? Completely up for grabs. The injury to Alberto Arias may give some other guys a chance, and Villar as pitched well. Don’t count out Sergio Escalona or Enerio Del Rosario.

Let the games begin, Astros

The Astros will kick off their Grapefruit League campaign at 12 p.m. CT Monday with a game against the Atlanta Braves at Disney World. It’s the first of 37 games for Houston this spring – including six split-squad games – in preparation for the April 1 season opener at Philadelphia.

“You can go through as much drills as you want, but until you’re really putting another team across the field, you’re never really [sure what you're seeing],” Astros manager Brad Mills said. “We can go through these fundamentals, but they know where we’re going to hit the fungo or know what’s happening. Now the evaluating process ramps up a little bit.”

Here is the Astros’ starting lineup for the game:
CF Michael Bourn
1B Brett Wallace
RF Hunter Pence
LF Carlos Lee
DH Jason Michaels
3B Chris Johnson
C Jason Castro
2B Matt Downs
SS Tommy Manzella

————–
LHP Wandy Rodriguez will start on the mound. Also scheduled to pitch are Henry Villar, Enerio Del Rosario, Fernando Rodriguez, Lance Pendleton, Sergio Escalona and Wesley Wright.

On Sunday, the Astros played an intrasquad game with Koby Clemens going 3-for-3 with a homer and two RBIs to lead Dave Clark’s team to a 5-1 win over Bobby Meacham’s team. J.B. Shuck went 3-for-3 with a triple for Meacham’s squad.

Here are the stats from the game in which each pitcher threw an inning — Clarkie’s Crushers: RHP Jordan Lyles (K); RHP Jose Valdez (H, K); LHP Patrick Urckfitz (H,1R/0ER); RHP Nelson Figueroa (H); RHP Arcenio Leon (H, 2BB); RHP Ross Wolf; OF Brian Bogusevic (2×3, R); OF T.J. Steele (0×4, RBI); IF Anderson Hernandez (1×2); IF Tommy Manzella (1×3, R); C Carlos Corporan (2×3, RBI, R); OF J.D. Martinez (1×2, BB, R); IF Koby Clemens (3×3, HR, 2RBI, R); IF Jose Carlos Thompson (0×1, 2BB); IF Jay Austin (3×3); Meach’s Mashers: LHP Fernando Abad (2H, K); RHP Sergio De Leon (2H, 2R/2ER, BB); RHP David Carpenter (3H, 3R/3ER, BB, K); RHP Casey Fien (H); LHP Douglas Arguello (2H, K); RHP Cesar Carrillo (H, BB, K); C J.R. Towles (0×3); IF Brian Dopirak (0×3); IF Jimmy Paredes (0×2, BB); OF J.B. Shuck (3×3, 3B); OF Drew Locke (0×3, R); C Brian Esposito (0×2, RBI); IF Jiovanni Mier (0×1, BB); OF Jon Gaston (0×3); IF Oswaldo Navarro (0×2).

Defensively, Anderson Hernandez made a terrific diving stop behind third and was able to throw out catcher Brian Esposito, and Tommy Manzella had a nice game at third base. Also, shortstop Jiovanni Mier was able to complete a double play after second baseman Jimmy Paredes fumbled a ground ball. Carlos Corporan threw out a runner at second base trying to steal.

Here is the day in pictures:

Spring Training 12 001.jpg 

Above: Outfielder Brian Bogusevic warms up in the outfield.

Spring Training 12 006.jpg

Above: The Astros practiced relays and cut-offs on Sunday morning, using players from Minor League mini camp as base runners. Third baseman Chris Johnson is taking a throw as prospect Telvin Nash runs the bases.

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Above: Left-hander Gustavo Chacin gets his work done in the bullpen.

Spring Training 12 013.jpg

Above: Manager Brad Mills takes notes during Sunday’s intrasquad game.

Spring Training 12 018.jpg

Above: Jordan Lyles throws a pitch in the intrasquad game. He threw a scoreless inning.

Spring Training 12 020.jpg

Above: Outfielder J.D. Martinez stands in the batter’s box.

Spring Training 12 031.jpg

Above: Former first-round pick Jiovanni Mier swings at a pitch.

Spring Training 12 032.jpg

Above: J.B. Shuck gets ready to rip one of his three hits in Sunday’s intrasquad game.

Spring Training 12 033.jpg

Above: Cesar Carrillo, a former first-round pick of Padres, prepares to fire a pitch Sunday.

Lineup set for spring opener

Astros manager Brad Mills has set his lineup for the Grapefruit League opener Monday against the Braves in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. As is the case with most road games in Spring Training, several players will be staying behind to get their work in at camp.

Clint Barmes, Bill Hall, Humberto Quintero and Brian Bogusevic are among those not traveling with the team to Disney on Monday, but the Astros are at home Tuesday at Osceola County Stadium. That’s when we should get our first glimpse of the lineup with all the players available.

Here is the lineup for Monday’s exhibition opener against Atlanta:

CF Michael Bourn

1B Brett Wallace

RF Hunter Pence

LF Carlos Lee

DH Jason Michaels

3B Chris Johnson

C Jason Castro

2B Matt Downs

SS Tommy Manzella

Wandy Rodriguez will and pitch two scheduled innings.

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