Results tagged ‘ Yankees ’

Astros deal Martinez for Minor League arm

Outfielder Fernando Martinez, who appeared in 52 games for the Astros over the past two seasons, was sent to the Yankees in a trade on Tuesday. The Astros acquired right-handed pitcher Charles Basford, who will report to Tri-City.

Martinez, who was at Triple-A Oklahoma City, hit .182 with one homer and three RBIs in 11 games with the Astros this year before being designated for assignment. He batted .237 with six homers and 14 RBIs last year for Houston, but had an inability to stay healthy.

Basford, a 37th-round pick by the Yankees last year, made his first appearance of the season Monday for Staten Island and allowed four hits, including a homer, in two innings. The 22-year-old right-hander was drafted out of Samford University.

A former top prospect of the Mets who was claimed off waivers prior to the 2012 season by Houston, Martinez battled for a spot in the Astros’ outfield to start the season, but wound up beginning the season on the disabled list.

Martinez in February was among five baseball players connected to a South Florida clinic that’s been linked to performance-enhancing drugs, according to an ESPN “Outside the Lines” report.

Game 14: Early trouble dooms Norris, Astros

The Astros lost their third consecutive Spring Training game, 6-3, to the Yankees on Sunday afternoon at sunny George M. Steinbrenner Field, dropping their Grapefruit League record to 7-7 near the midpoint of the spring season. You can find the boxscore by clicking here.

Here’s the breakdown:

What went right: How about the relief pitching of Brett Myers? Those who were worried about Myers’ struggles early in the spring needed to remember he’s a veteran who’s working on arm strength as he prepares himself to be the closer. He pitched two innings Saturday for the first time this spring, allowing one hit and no runs and touching 91-92 mph on the radar gun. Astros manager Brad Mills said he would like to get Myers in consecutive games later this spring.

Myers wasn’t the only reliever to pitch well. Left-hander Xavier Cedeno pitched a 1-2-3 fourth inning, striking out Brett Gardner and Robinson Cano, and Fernando Rodriguez struck out two of the three batters he faced in the eighth. Right now, it’s hard to envision a scenario in which Rodriguez isn’t on the club when it breaks camp.

The Astros outhit the Yankees (9-7), with left fielder J.D. Martinez going 2-for-4 with a double and third baseman Chris Johnson going 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles. Johnson has done a nice job at the plate as he battles to make the club, and has raised his spring average to .348 with a couple of good swings of the bat Saturday. Martinez has looked strong at the plate all spring.

Jason Bourgeois, J.B. Shuck, Joe Thurston, Marwin Gonzalez (double) and Angel Sanchez each had a hit. Shuck had an RBI triple, and Sanchez came off the bench as a pinch-runner late in the game and subsequently singled to center.

The Astros were errorless once again.

What went wrong: Bud Norris was the second consecutive starter to get roughed up, giving up five hits, five runs and four walks in three innings in only his second Grapefruit League appearance of the spring. Norris needed 31 pitches to get out of the first, an inning which included two hits and two walks., He retired the first two batters he saw in the second before walking Brett Gardner and Curtis Granderson and giving up a three-run homer to Robinson Cano on an 0-2 pitch. He threw a clean third inning, pitching around a pair of walks, to finish at 73 pitches.

Rhiner Cruz, a Rule 5 pick from the Mets, hasn’t done much to help his chances of sticking with the club all season, never mind making it through Spring Training. He allowed a home run to Bill Hall — yes, that Bill Hall — in his one inning of work, giving him five earned runs allowed in 1 1/3 innings of work this spring.

At the plate, Jack Cust started at designated hitter and went 0-for-3, dropping him to 0-for-20 this spring. Cust has been limited to a designated hitter role and could be losing his grip on one of the backup outfield spots, especially with the way Travis Buck and J.B. Shuck have swung the bat from the left side.

Brad Snyder, Landon Powell and Brett Wallace each went 0-for-2 at the plate.

What they said: “I thought the guys did a good job of battling back [had the tying run at the plate to end the game]. That’s the second day in a row we got down five runs real early in the game, and it’s tough to come back. You see C.J. with those two doubles and J.D. had a couple of nice at-bats and Shuck smoked that ball [for a triple]. There was a lot of good things, too. We wish Bud would have gotten that 0-2 slider down in the dirt [to Cano], but that three-run bomb, when you look at the score, wound up to be pretty important.” — Astros manager Brad Mills.

What’s next: Veteran catcher Humberto Quintero, who’s missed the first two weeks of spring action because of a bulging disk in his back, will make his first start of the Grapefruit League season when the Astros meet the Mets at 12:05 p.m. CT Sunday in Kissimmee. Quintero, last year’s starter on Opening Day, is battling to make the club is a backup role. Right-hander Livan Hernandez will start for the Astros.

Injury update: Catcher Humberto Quintero (back) is scheduled to make his first start Sunday. … Left-hander Sergio Escalona (elbow) threw live batting practice Friday to hitters.

In lieu of St. Patrick’s Day, there are no photos today. The photos will return Sunday.

Pendleton “super excited” to return to Astros

Lance Pendleton, who spent nearly the entire spring in Astros camp after he was taken in the Rule 5 Draft, was claimed on waivers Friday by his hometown club and will report to the Astros on Saturday – his 28th birthday – in time for the game against the Nationals in Washington.

“I’m super excited to get picked up and it makes it even better that it’s with the Astros,” Pendleton told

Pendleton, a right-hander, was in Houston on Friday when Astros general manager Ed Wade called and informed him he had been claimed. He gave him the option of flying to Washington to meet the team or just catching up the Astros when they return home Monday.

“Ed Wade called and said, ‘Hey, looks like we’re doing this all over again,’” Pendleton said. “I said, ‘Sounds good to me.’ He told me I could take my full three days and meet them on Monday or meet us there, and I said, ‘No, I’m ready to go.’”

Wade was pleased no one claimed Pendleton before the Astros.

“We liked him enough to take him in the Rule 5 Draft in December and we would have liked to have retained him in Spring Training,” he said. “We couldn’t get a deal workout with the Yankees to retain him. He’ll go into the mix and we’ll see where it goes from there.”

Pendleton was offered back to the Yankees at the end of the spring and appeared in 11 Major League games, posting a 3.21 ERA for the Bombers. He spent most of the season at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (3-4, 3.11 ERA in 18 games, including 10 starts) and was designed for assignment on Tuesday.

“I’ve been up and down four times now with the Yankees, and when I was up it was sporadic on the mound,” Pendleton said. “I threw well when I got out there and felt pretty good. Going a week and a half or so between innings, it’s hard to stay sharp. When I went back down in Scranton, I threw pretty well.

“I would say it’s been a successful season for me and how I’ve been feeling. There are still things to work on and continue to get used to the bullpen. With the Astros, I’ll probably be in the bullpen. I don’t know what their long-term plan for me is. They might only have a three-week timeframe, but whatever they’re willing to give, I’ll try to take advantage of it.”

Game 9: Teachable moments in loss to Yanks

On a day when the wind was blowing out at Osceola County Stadium, the Astros and Yankees combined for 18 runs and 38 hits. The Yankees did most of the damage, banging 21 hits – including home runs from Alex Rodriguez and Greg Golson – to beat the Astros and drop their Grapefruit League record to 2-7.

Befroe we get to the breakdown, click here for all the notes of the day, including some praise for Jordan Lyles, Michael Bourn talking about his spring base-stealing technique, an update on when some roster cuts might come, Brett Myers dissecting his outing and even a mention of a Hollywood actress who came to see the Astros on Sunday.

What went right: The Astros had 10 extra-base hits, including home runs by Jason Michaels and Carlos Lee, and had a spring-high 17 hits.

“The main thing is that I’m feeling pretty good at the plate, seeing the ball real good and taking good swings and good at-bats,” Lee said. “That’s a good start to be building on. We’ve got three more weeks to go. It felt pretty good to hit one out this early. That means you can only improve from that and expect to put last year away.”

Much of the damage was done by players who likely won’t make the Opening Day roster: Catcher Carlos Corporan and first baseman Brian Dopirak was 2-for-3 , and J.D. Martinez  and Anderson Hernandez were both 2-for-2. Matt Downs continued his good spring, going 2-for-4 with a triple and double.

Jason Bourgeois, playing center field, smoked the ball three times and had one hit to show for it.

“I took my last at-bat yesterday against the Cardinals sand I thought about it and felt good about it,” Bourgeois said. “I had a simple base hit back up the middle, but I really found my rhythm and timing, and it’s starting to come together.”

Brett Myers, mixing in the curveball for the first time this spring, allowed five hits and two runs in three innings and continues to proceed accordingly. Brandon Lyon, who had a rough outing last time out, pitched a scoreless inning, which was a rarity. The only other Astros pitcher to throw a scoreless inning was Fernando Rodriguez.

What went wrong: It was a bad day to be on the mound for the Astros, who gave up 21 hits. Not only was the wind blowing out and the infield was harder than normal because the tarp was on the field during morning rain, but the Yankees were aggressive and continually made solid contact.

Jeff Fulchino, who looked terrific in striking out Derek Jeter in the fifth, later gave up four hits in the inning, including a long home run to Alex Rodriguez. Fulchino, Fernando Abad and Gustavo Chacin each gave up four hits and two runs in one inning of work. Wesley Wright took the loss allowing three hits and two runs (one earned) in his one inning of work.

Jimmy Paredes, who entered the game as a defensive replacement to face his former organization, committed his third error of the year has looked very raw this spring. The Astros acquired him from the Yankees in the Lance Berkman trade.

What they said: “This was definitely a Spring Training game. Not only did you see balls bounce through with the rain and having the tarp on the field, but the grounds crew does the best it can with the rain but the wind dries it out. Balls were going through and it was quite a day to work on our cut-offs and relays and everything else. A lot of teaching things, a lot of learning experiences.” – manager Brad Mills said.

What’s next: Left-hander J.A. Happ makes his second Grapefruit League start for the Astros when the travel to Viera, Fla., to face the Washington Nationals at 12:05 p.m. CT on Monday. Bud Norris, a starter, will piggyback Happ and throw three innings. Patrick Urckfitz, Jorge De Leon and Jose Valdez are also scheduled to pitch.

Injury update: Not much new to report. Jason Michaels’ sore arm doesn’t seem to be bothering him at the plate and he could be in the outfield on Tuesday, and Wilton Lopez was sent home because he was sick.

Now to the pictures:


Spring 0306 001.jpg

Above: Astros players, coaches and staff pose for a picture Sunday morning. The man without a uniform in the middle is owner Drayton McLane, whose grandkids threw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the game against the Yankees.

Spring 0306 006.jpg

Above: Astros manager Brad Mills and owner Drayton McLane pose for a picture.

Spring 0306 007.jpg

Above: Some Astros pitchers and catchers stand on the mounds and talk strategy before throwing/catching their bullpens.

Spring 0306 010.jpg

Above: Third baseman Chris Johnson shows good form while trying to field a grounder.

Spring 0306 014.jpg

Above: Tony De Francesco, the new manager at Triple-A Oklahoma City, hits some ground balls during drills on Sunday morning.

So long, Puma

Lance Berkman was one of the most caring, honest and reliable guys you could ever want to meet, in addition to being a heck of a baseball player. Sure, it looks like his skills are declining at age 34, but he can still swing the bat, draws walks and, as we saw a few days ago, knows how to turn on a good fastball now and then.

Simply put, Berkman, traded to the Yankees on Saturday, is the most enjoyable players I’ve covered in my seven years on the Astros beat and he’ll be missed. It’s definitely going to be strange to see him wearing pinstripes.

So long, Puma.



Oswalt happy for Berkman

Roy Oswalt, who fell to 6-13 after losing his Phillies debut on Friday, was excited to hear long-time friend and Astros teammate Lance Berkman was being sent to the Yankees in a trade that is expected to be announced Saturday.

“I think it will be good for him,” he said. “Sometimes you get a change of scenery, it turns you all the way around. Sometimes you get in a rut of doing the same thing over and over. I think it will be great for him to get back in a pennant race and feel the excitement of it. In ’04 and ’05 when we made up all that ground and got to go to the World Series, that’s where the real baseball is.”

So what about the prospect of Oswalt’s Phillies and Berkman’s Yankees facing off in the playoffs?

“He was actually the first person I called when I got traded,” Oswalt said. “He was saying the worst part was going to be facing me. I’ve been watching him for 10 years, so I kind of know where to throw him.


Astros on verge of sending Berkman to Yanks

The Astros on the verge of sending five-time All-Star first baseman Lance Berkman to the New York Yankees, a source told on Friday. Berkman told reporters Friday he had been approached the club about waiving his no-trade clause, and he approved a list of four teams he would consider going to. The Yankees are on the list.

Astros vs. Yankees on Sunday, plus pictures of new Yankee Stadium

The Astros close out their series at Yankee Stadium this afternoon. I’ve posted the lineups, followed by a few pictures I took of the ballpark, which is very nice. Enjoy.

misc 013.jpgASTROS


CF Michael Bourn

2B Jeff Keppinger

RF Hunter Pence

DH Carlos Lee

LF Cory Sullivan

3B Pedro Feliz

1B Geoff Blum

SS Tommy Manzella

C Kevin Cash

RHP Brian Moehler (0-2, 6.12 ERA)


SS Derek Jeter

CF Curtis Granderson

1B Mark Teixeira

2B Robinson Cano

DH Nick Swisher

C Jorge Posada

LF Brett Gardner

RF Chad Huffman

3B Ramiro Peno

RHP Phil Hughes (8-1, 2.71 ERA)

misc 008.jpg

misc 009.jpg

misc 010.jpg

misc 011.jpg

misc 012.jpg

misc 014.jpg

misc 015.jpg

misc 016.jpg

Astros vs. Yankees on Friday

The Astros make their first trip to new Yankee Stadium on Friday, the day that marks the seven-year anniversary of the six-pitcher no-hitter thrown by the Astros at the old Yankee Stadium in 2003. Astros owner Drayton McLane, general manager Ed Wade and assistant general manager David Gottfried joined the club on the trip to New York.

Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who is nursing a groin injury, isn’t in the lineup for the Bronx Bombers. Here are the lineups (followed by injury updates):


CF Michael Bourn

2B Jeff Keppinger

1B Lance Berkman

 LF Carlos Lee

RF Hunter Pence

DH Jason Michaels

3B Pedro Feliz

SS Tommy Manzella

C Kevin Cash


RHP Brett Myers (4-3, 3.01 ERA)


SS Derek Jeter

CF Curtis Granderson

1B Mark Teixeira

2B Robinson Cano

RF Nick Swisher

DH Jorge Posada

C Francisco Cervelli

3B Ramiro Pena

LF Kevin Russo


LHP Andy Pettitte (7-1, 2.47 ERA)

Here are some injury updates

— RHP Chris Sampson, on the disabled list with right rotator cuff tendinitis, is scheduled to throw a 15-20 pitch simulated game Sunday at Double-A Corpus Christi. If all goes well, he’ll pitch 15-20 pitches in a game Tuesday for the Hooks.

— RHP Matt Lindstrom didn’t pitch Thursday because of back spasms.

— LHP Tim Byrdak rejoined the team Friday in New York after going to Houston to be examined by a doctor for the back/hamstring issue that put him in the disabled list in May. Manager Brad Mills said he would be available on Saturday.

— RHP Bud Norris is scheduled to pitch Saturday in a Minor League rehab outing for Triple-A Round Rock. He’s been on the DL since May 24 with bursitis and biceps tendinitis.

Astros face long road trip

The Astros finally got things rolling at home this week by going 5-2 on their home stand against the Nationals and Cubs, winning five of the final six games after getting pounded by Washington on Memorial Day. Now they have to try to get things ironed out on the road.

The Astros have lost nine of 11 road games since sweeping the Cardinals May 11-13 and will play 20 of their next 26 games away from home. That’s the price they paid for having so many home games early. Houston opens a 10-game trip to Colorado, the Yankees and Kansas City on Monday and returns home for six games before another 10-game trip. Ouch.

“It’s going to be interesting,” manager Brad Mills said. “That’s a lot of travel. We’re going to be playing a lot and then we have an off day [June 14], which is nice because it’s been a while. It’s going to be kind of a fun road trip with using a designated hitter in the American League ballparks and so forth.”

The Astros will use a DH in New York and Kansas City, and Mills said he’s not prepared to name a DH just yet. Carlos Lee is the most obvious choice, and Lee said after Sunday’s game he’d rather play in the field than be the DH. Still, he will likely end up as the DH in most games.

It all gets underway Monday when Houston sends Wandy Rodriguez (3-7, 5.07 ERA) to the mound against Jason Hammel (2-3, 6.09 ERA). Here are the rest of the pitching matchups for the Rockies series:

Tuesday: Brian Moehler (0-2, 6.49 ERA) vs. Jeff Francis (1-2, 3.70 ERA)

Wednesday: Felipe Paulino (1-7, 4.01 ERA) vs. Aaron Cook (2-3, 5.00 ERA)

Thursday: Roy Oswalt (3-8, 3.22 ERA) vs. Jhoulys Chacin (3-4, 3.77 ERA)