Results tagged ‘ Robbie Grossman ’

Astros call up Grossman, send down Hoes

Robbie Grossman, who began the year as the Astros’ starting left fielder before being sent to Triple-A Oklahoma City two weeks into the season, will rejoin the team Monday in Kansas City after he was recalled Sunday afternoon.

The Astros are bringing back Grossman to start in left field and are optioning struggling outfielder L.J. Hoes to Oklahoma City. Hoes is batting .209 with two homers and six RBIs in 28 games this year and had been starting in left field against left-handed pitchers.

“It gives L.J. an opportunity to get to Oklahoma City and play every day,” Astros manager Bo Porter said. “He’s been in a platoon pretty much the entire season here, and if you get to this stage and you talk about evaluating your players, if they’re not getting consistent at-bats you have to re-think the construction of the roster.

“Robbie went down to Triple-A and he’s hitting right at .300 and we feel like him being a switch-hitter and Opening Day starting left fielder, he’s got his confidence back and we’re going to give him an opportunity to help our ballclub.”

Grossman hit .125 off the bat for the Astros, but was batting .299 with three homers, 10 RBIs and a .373 on-base percentage in 34 games for the RedHawks. Last year, Grossman came up early in the season and struggled (.198 average) as well, before returning to hit .322 with a .816 OPS in the final three months.

“You’re eager to get off to a good start and things start to domino a little bit, and defensively there were a few plays that wore on him as far as plays he didn’t make he felt like he should have made,” Porter said. “When you’re confidence starts to go a little bit, we felt at the time it was the best thing to get him down to Oklahoma City and let him get his confidence back. We believe Robbie Grossman is an everyday outfielder. Getting him back is going to be a boost to our ballclub.”

Grossman to bat second for Astros

The one certainty manager Bo Porter had entering Spring Training has changed, thanks to Robbie Grossman.

Porter, who proclaimed in the winter Dexter Fowler would hit leadoff, Jose Altuve would bat second and Jason Castro would hit third, said Wednesday that Grossman has played his way into the No. 2 spot in the order behind Fowler. Altuve and Castro could switch, depending on the opposing pitcher.

“That combination will be our top four,” Porter said.

Grossman, a switch-hitter, has been a high-on base player throughout his career (.381 in Minor League career) and last year posted a .332 on-base percentage in his Major League debut, including .351 after he was called up for his second stint.

“That thinking has changed a little bit just looking at Fowler and Grossman as two guys that get on base at a high percentage and again just trying to get as many guys on base in front of arguably our best two hitters, Jason and Altuve,” Porter said. “It’s about lineup construction and putting yourself in the best position to score runs given the opponent and the pitcher we’re facing that night.”

 

Villar benched by Porter

Astros manager Bo Porter pulled starting shortstop Jonathan Villar in the third inning of Tuesday’s 9-6 loss to the Twins for what the skipper described as an ill-advised base running gaffe with his team trailing, 4-1.

Villar led off the third with a single to left field, but he was thrown out trying to stretch the hit to a double. Marwin Gonzalez played the rest of the game at shortstop while Villar watched the final nine innings from the bench.

“I learned this a long time ago from Sandy Alomar,” Porter said. “He told me the scoreboard is the most important object on the baseball field. I explained this to Jonathan after the game.”

What did Porter tell Villar exactly: “’I would never want to take your aggression away from you. It’s part of what makes you a special player, but at the same time you have to be aware of the situation that’s going on and what’s the score.’ We have a starting pitcher out there who has basically labored for three innings, we’re down, 4-1, and get the leadoff man on and that’s not a time to take that kind of a chance.”

Earlier this season, Porter benched outfielder J.D. Martinez for swinging at a pitch in a situation in which the hitters had been instructed not to swing. Porter said Tuesday pulling Villar was a “no-brainer.”

“As the umpire was calling him out at second base, I was telling Gonzo to get ready to go to shortstop,” Porter said. “I believe that Jonathan will receive the message properly because him and I talked about it. I think it will help him moving forward.

“He’s young, he’s aggressive and I told him, ‘Your aggression is what allows you to be an impact player. But at the same time, that scoreboard is the most important object on this field and you have to understand there are times when the scoreboard will dictate to you exactly how aggressive you should be.’”

Grossman suffers oblique injury

Astros left fielder Robbie Grossman had to be pulled from Tuesday’s game in the middle of his at-bat in the 12th inning after suffering a strained right oblique while swinging the bat. It’s unclear the extent of the injury.

“It just bit me on the swing,” said Grossman, who went 2-for-5 and is hitting .322 since he was called up for the second time July 28. “We’ll see how it feels [Wednesday] and go from there.”

Astros manager Bo Porter noticed Grossman grimace on the swing and sent assistant athletic trainer Rex Jones to the plate to check on the rookie. Matt Pagnozzi, acquired by the Astros in a trade late Monday, took Grossman’s place in the box and grounded out to end the game.

Grossman said he had a similar injury a few years ago.

“At this stage of the season, you just don’t want to end up having a guy miss a considerable amount of time,” Porter said. “It was best to get him out at that point and allow the trainers to do everything they can to get him healthy.”

Castro has cyst in knee drained

All-Star catcher Jason Castro has a cyst on his right knee drained on Tuesday and doesn’t expect be sidelined long-term.

Castro, who was taken from the game in the second inning Monday following his second hit, was examined by team doctors on Tuesday and diagnosed with a cyst on the medial side of his knee. After having it drained, Castro said he was already feeling better.

“It was kind of interfering with my hamstring tendon based on where it was located,” he said. “They drained it, and hopefully that should provide some relief. We’ll see. It’s just day-to-day, I guess.”

Castro, who missed the entire 2011 season following surgery to repair the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, said he fouled a ball off his knee in the first inning Monday, which aggravated the cyst.

“I think that kind of getting it taken care of and getting it drained out and tended to will solve the problem,” he said. “Like I said, it’s a day-to-day kind of thing. As of right now, it’s feeling OK and the more time we get away from it happening [Monday] the better it feels. As the day goes on, it feels better and better.”

Castro, an All-Star this season and two-time American League Player of the Week, is having a career season, hitting .282 with 18 homers and 56 RBIs. He’s the latest in a string of catching injuries for the Astros.

Carlos Corporan suffered a concussion Aug. 19 when he took a foul ball of his facemask, and his replacement, Max, Stassi, was hit in the head by a pitch two days later and hasn’t played since because of a concussion. Corporan could return to the Astros on Monday.

Peacock called back up from Triple-A

The Astros recalled right-handed pitcher Brad Peacock from Triple-A Oklahoma City prior to Tuesday’s game against the Rockies, taking the roster spot of outfielder Robbie Grossman, who was optioned to the Minor Leagues on Monday. He’ll be in uniform for the 1:10 p.m. CT.

Peacock began the season in the Astros starting rotation, but was sent down after going 1-3 with a 9.41 ERA in six games (five starts) with Houston. He went 1-2 with a 4.98 ERA in four starts for the RedHawks, allowing 18 hits and striking out 27 batters in 21 2/3 innings.

Grossman, who was called up April 24, went 0-for-5 with a walk and three strikeouts on Monday to drop his batting average to .198 and on-base percentage to .310. He started 26 of 28 games, mostly in the lead-off spot.

“Just part of the game, part of the business,” Grossman said as he left Minute Maid Park on Monday. “If I played better it wouldn’t matter, but it is what it is.”

Grossman was acquired by the Astros in last year’s trade that sent pitcher Wandy Rodriguez to the Pirates. A Houston-area native, he hit .324 with a .452 on-base percentage in 19 games for Oklahoma City before being called up.

“They said to go down there and keep playing hard,” Grossman said.

The move could open the door for Brandon Barnes, who won Monday’s game with a walk-off win in the 12th inning, to get more playing time. Center fielder Justin Maxwell, who fractured his hand last month, could return soon and will begin a rehab later this week.

Grossman: ‘If I played better, it wouldn’t matter.’

Two weeks after Astros manager Bo Porter said Robbie Grossman would get every chance to prove he was his starting center fielder, the team optioned the outfielder to Triple-A Oklahoma City following Monday’s 3-2 win over the Rockies.

Grossman, who was called up April 24, went 0-for-5 with a walk and three strikeouts on Monday to drop his batting average to .198 and on-base percentage to .310. He started 26 of 28 games, mostly in the lead-off spot.

“Just part of the game, part of the business,” Grossman said as he left Minute Maid Park. “If I played better it wouldn’t matter, but it is what it is.”

The team is planning to call up right-hander Brad Peacock, giving them an extra arm heading into Coors Field later this week.

Grossman was acquired by the Astros in last year’s trade that sent pitcher Wandy Rodriguez to the Pirates. A Houston-area native, he hit .324 with a .452 on-base percentage in 19 games for Oklahoma City before being called up.

“They said to go down there and keep playing hard,” Grossman said.

The move could open the door for Brandon Barnes, who won Monday’s game with a walk-off win in the 12th inning, to get more playing time. Center fielder Justin Maxwell, who fractured his hand last month, could return soon and will begin a rehab later this week. Trevor Crowe has also played well in his limited chances.

Maxwell to DL, Grossman joins club

The Astros have placed outfielder Justin Maxwell on the disabled list with a fractured left hand, suffered when he was hit by a pitch in Tuesday’s win over the Mariners. The team recalled outfielder Robbie Grossman from Triple-A Oklahoma City.

(click here for video of Maxwell injury)

Maxwell was removed from Tuesday’s game between the fourth and fifth innings after being hit in the left wrist by a pitch in the bottom of the third, driving in a run with the bases loaded.

Maxwell was hitting .234 with one homer and six RBIs in 77 at-bats as Houston’s starting center fielder. The move likely means Brandon Barnes will get most of the playing time in center field.

Grossman, a switch-hitter, was hitting .324 with 13 runs scored and a .452 on-base percentage in 19 games for Oklahoma City, going 9-for-22 in his past five games. Acquired from the Pirates in the Wandy Rodriguez trade at the Trade Deadline last year, he hit .267 with a .371 on-base percentage in 36 games at Double-A Corpus Christi.

This will be Grossman’s Major League debut.

Astros cut 10 players from Major League camp

The Astros trimmed their Spring Training roster by 10 players on Sunday morning, optioning outfielders Robbie Grossman, Jimmy Paredes, shortstop Jonathan Villar and pitchers Paul Clemens and Dallas Keuchel to Minor League camp and reassigning outfielder Che-Hsuan Lin, catcher Carlos Perez and pitchers C.J. Fick, Josh Zeid and Sergio Escalona to Minor League camp.

The moves leave the Astros with 39 players in camp two weeks shy of the March 31 season-opener against the Texas Rangers (that includes pitchers Jose Veras and Xavier Cedeno, who are competing in the World Baseball Classic).

“We open up two weeks from today, and even though it’s a long Spring Training, it feels as though it’s gone very quickly,” Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do here. We’ve got to get down to 25. Pitchers are going longer in games, we’ve got innings to dole out, we want to see our position players go a little deeper and have a few more at-bats as well.

“A lot of these guys we’re sending out today have a bright future in our organization, and they know they’ll be back. They need to go down and get regular work and go to their respective Minor League locations and show us what they can do. We know the 25 we start with are not the 25 we’re going to have all year.

“They’ve done, by in large, a good job and especially when you have a new staff at the big league level, it’s a clean slate for everybody. Everybody gets to know each other, and I think it’s been very good for a lot of these players to really take advantage of clean slate to go out and impress. When the time comes, our staff is not going to hesitate to want them back up here.”

Luhnow excited to add more talent to system

More has been written about the players the Astros have dealt in the past few weeks, proven veterans like Brett Myers, Carlos Lee and Wandy Rodriguez, than the bushel of players the Astros have gotten in return.

That’s natural when you consider the prospects the team has acquired are unknown commodities, but general manager Jeff Luhnow likes what the Astros were able to do in Tuesday’s trade of Wandy Rodriguez to the Pirates.

The Astros sent Rodriguez to the Pirates and acquired left-handed pitchers Rudy Owens and Colton Cain and outfielder Robbie Grossman. Owens is on the 40-man roster and headed to Triple-A Oklahoma City, Grossman is going to Double-A Corpus Christi and Cain is headed to Class A Lancaster.

In all, the Astros have acquired 11 Minor League players and two players to be named later in four July trades.

“We’ve accumulated quite a lot of talent in our system, and it’s everywhere – from rookie ball to Triple-A – and we feel good about that,” Luhnow said.

Owens, 24, has posted an 8-5 record and a 3.14 ERA in 19 starts for Triple-A Indianapolis this season. He has 85 strikeouts and has walked only 25 in his 117 1/3 innings pitched. Owens, who will join the club’s 40-man roster, was Pittsburgh’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2009 and 2010.

“To have a left-handed starting pitcher that’s that close to the big leagues is huge for us,” Luhnow said.

Grossman, 22, was hitting .262 with 20 doubles, seven home runs, 35 RBIs and a .374 on-base percentage in 94 games for Double-A Altoona this season. Primarily a center fielder, Grossman was named Pittsburgh’s Minor League Player of the Year last year after hitting .294 and leading the Florida State League with 124 runs scored and 104 walks in 134 games.  The switch-hitting Grossman is currently ranked by MLB.com as Pittsburgh’s No. 7 prospect. He was originally a sixth-round selection in the 2008 Draft out of Cy-Fair High School in Houston.

“Grossman has a unique ability to get on base, and it’s something we’ve always liked,” Luhnow said. “He did it in high school when he was here in Houston and he’s done it his entire career. He really profiles as a good, plus center fielder who can lead off and get on base at a high clip.

“Something we’ve stressed all year with this club is pitch selection and not chasing and getting on base and doing the things that set up for big innings. We’ve done better, but we haven’t executed that as well as I would like to see. We’re doing a lot of reenforcing of that playing style in the Minor Leagues, and so we get someone who excels in that. He’s the first Minor League player to have 100 walks and 100 runs since Nick Swisher, who’s well-known for that kind of stuff. He has tremendous offensive upside for us and can play defense.”

Cain, 21, is 3-5 this season with a 4.20 ERA in 16 starts for Class A Bradenton in the Florida State League. He has allowed just a .242 opponent’s batting average, including a .226 mark against right-handed hitters. A graduate of Waxahachie High School in Texas, Cain was considered one of the top high school players in the state before being selected by Pittsburgh in the eighth round of the 2009 Draft.

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