Results tagged ‘ Yorman Bazardo ’

Day 35: Injuries mount in final week of camp

Remember how we all joked about Camp Quiet? That was in February, when one of the coldest winters in Florida history forced everyone to wear jackets for workouts. That was back when the Astros weren’t making any news, except for mild ankle sprains by Casey Daigle and Jeff Fulchino.

Things sure have changed.

Lance Berkman, Brett Myers, Roy Oswalt, Michael Bourn, Tommy Manzella, Jason Bourgeois, Alberto Arias and Yorman Bazardo have all gone down with injuries. Suddenly, Kaz Matsui is the healthiest guy on the team. Most of the injuries are strains and not serious, though Arias could be headed for the DL and Berkman had minor knee surgery.

Oswalt joined the M*A*S*H unit Friday when he left his start against the Pirates after four innings with a mild left hamstring strain. Oswalt isn’t concerned, but GM Ed Wade showed enough concern to send Oswalt to Houston to be examined.

The Astros did have some good news Friday, rallying for four runs in the eighth and two in the ninth to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-4. Chris Johnson’s two-out, two-run walk-off home run that struck the batters eye in center field a few feet from the top, won the game.

Here’s the breakdown:

The good: Before his hamstring started to bother him, Oswalt looked terrific. He retired 10 of the first 11 batters he faced, striking out six batters in that span. He threw 60 pitches (41 strikes) and gave up three hits and one run in four innings. Brandon Lyon threw one scoreless innings and appears to have put his shoulder troubles in the past.

How about Drew Locke and T.J. Steele? These two guys continue to impress with how they’re swinging the bat in Grapefruit League play when they’re pulled over from Minor League camp. Steele started in center field and went 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI, and Locke had a three-run triple in the eighth inning in his only at-bat.

Johnson and non-roster first baseman Chris Shelton are making things interesting. Johnson, who has been pretty much pegged for Triple-A Round Rock since the spring started, is hitting .326 and leads the team with five homers and is second with 14 RBIs.

“I’ve got to remember, though, it’s just spring,” he said. “These don’t count yet.”

When asked if he feels he has opened some eyes, he said: “We’ve got a new group of guys coming in and a whole new coaching staff, and that’s all I’m trying to do is show them what I can do if they’ve never seen me play before.”

Shelton, whose double in the ninth set up Johnson’s homer, is hitting .333 with two homers and 11 RBIs in 36 at-bats. He could be making a push to make the team, considering Berkman could begin the year on the DL and they could carry an extra infielder by going with a four-man rotation.

Competition at the end of camp is a good thing.

“That’s the way you want to do it,” Mills said. “You hope you have to make those types of decisions. You hope they come down to the end like this, and that’s exactly what’s happened.”

The not-so-good: The only regulars the Astros had in the starting lineup Friday were third baseman Pedro Feliz and left fielder Carlos Lee, so perhaps that helps explain why Pirates starter Zach Duke shut them out on two hits for 6 2/3 innings. When the benches emptied in the eighth, the bats came alive.

Bud Norris, who was originally scheduled to pitch in a Minor League game, followed Oswalt and Lyon and threw four innings, giving up four hits and three earned runs. Norris struggled in the ninth against some Pirates hitters that aren’t going to make the team, but Mills was glad he was able to get up and down four times after missing a start with the flu.

What did Norris take from the 58-pitch outing?

“It was a whirlwind because I thought I was on the Minor League side, but I’m glad [pitching coach Brad Arnsberg] moved it around so I could pitch out there,” he said. “I felt good, my body felt good and arm felt good, and I’m glad I pitched as long as I did. I had only had 7 1/3 innings coming in and that was the biggest part. I completely understood the reason for it and I’m glad they go me out there.”

What they said: “This late in camp, there’s always concern, no doubt about it. The one positive on that note is he wanted to go back out. He said he felt the strain in his left hamstring. He’s concerned about it, but he’s not so scared that he wasn’t willing to go out there and pitch.” – Mills on the health of Oswalt.

What’s next: Left-hander Wandy Rodriguez will make his penultimate start of the spring when he faces the Tampa Bay Rays at 12:05 p.m. CT on Saturday at Osceola County Stadium. Rodriguez, who threw 90 pitches in his previous start Monday, has gotten knocked around this spring. He’s given up 20 hits and 16 earned runs in 13 innings in his four starts. Matt Lindstrom, Jeff Fulchino, Tim Byrdak and Yorman Bazardo are also scheduled to pitch.

Astro-notes: Michael Bourn, who’s been out a week with a strained oblique, went 1-for-4 with a stolen base in a Minor League game Friday and said he’s ready to return to action. Mills said Bourn could be in the lineup Saturday against the Tampa Bay Rays. … The Astros trimmed their roster to 38 players on Friday, optioning left-handed pitcher Wesley Wright to Triple-A Round Rock and reassigning right-hander Shane Loux and infielder Oswaldo Navarro to Minor League camp.

Monday morning Astros update

Astros manager Brad Mills said Monday morning his group of injured players were improving: Lance Berkman (knee surgery), Michael Bourn (strained oblique), Jason Bourgeois (strained hamstring), Tommy Manzella (strained quadriceps) and Yorman Bazardo (shoulder strain). Right-hander Alberto Arias (shoulder strain) was scheduled to get an MRI on Monday morning.

“Lance came into the office and said he felt better today and that’s always good to hear from him,” Mills said. “We’re trying to keep his range of motion where it needs to be and keep the swelling down. Bourgeois felt better when he came in today, and Manzella is feeling and looking better. Those things are good. Arias is getting an MRI this morning and we’ll looking forward to hearing back from him. Bazardo is getting stronger every day and playing catch and doing all his things.”

Arias, Bazardo and Bourgeois are fighting for spots on the club, and Mills admitted their inability to get on the field isn’t helping their chances.

“We’re not looking at this as a detriment to them because we want them healthy, but at the same time if they can’t go out and perform they can’t show us,” he said. “Jason has been able to show us quite a bit. Bazardo hasn’t been able to show us very much and it’s more of a situation with him than Jason because of that.”

Bourgeois strained his left hamstring Sunday, a few weeks after he strained his right hamstring early in camp. Considering Bourgeois’ speed is his biggest asset, the injury is frustrating.

“That’s my game,” Bourgeois said. “It’s unfortunate but these things happen.”

Bourgeois was able to play catch and take batting practice, but he’s not going to do any quick movements. Manzella is still at least a week away from returning.


Because of rainouts, split-squad games and Monday’s off day, the starting rotation has been thrown a little off. Wandy Rodriguez will start Monday against the Cardinals, with Felipe Paulino to pitch Tuesday in Bradenton against the Pirates. Reliever Casey Daigle will make a spot start Wednesday at the New York Mets.

Oswalt, who threw one inning Sunday in Kissimmee before rain washed out the game against the Mets, will take his turn Friday. Bud Norris and Brian Moehler, both of whom pitched against Boston in Sunday’s split-squad game, will be worked in. Norris said he might pitch in a Minor League game.


With starting shortstop Tommy Manzella out for at least another week with a strained quadriceps, veteran Geoff Blum was scheduled to see his first action of the spring at shortstop on Monday. Blum plays primarily first base and third base at this point in his career, but he has played 190 games at shortstop in his career.

“We have to look at all of our options,” Mills said. “With Tommy being down for a few days we want to make sure we see [Edwin] Maysonet over there and [Jeff] Keppinger and Blummer. We’ll keep all options open. This is the first time we put him out there this year. I’ve got to see him play out there. I do know he’s got good hands, a good arm and his experience and being able to position himself where he needs to be should help his range.”

Sunday morning Astros update

I’m back from a respite in Houston and am in Kissimmee for the rest of the spring, so expect frequent updates. Anyway, I’ll have a story later today on the rash of injuries that’s taken over the club the last few days, but here’s a quick rundown:

  • 1B Lance Berkman had fluid drained from his knee Saturday, one week after undergoing arthroscopic surgery to clean out some loose cartilage. Berkman is walking with a limp and is still sore, but he’s not ruling out returning by Opening Day.
  • RHP Alberto Arias will undergo a precautionary MRI on Monday. Arias has been diagnosed with a shoulder strain and has lost some velocity on his fastball. The Astros want to get a better look at the shoulder to find out what’s going on.
  • SS Tommy Manzella, who was diagnosed with a strained quad, is out of baseball drills again today. Manzella said he’s going to take it slow and will be out a few days. General manager Ed Wade told him Sunday morning he didn’t want him to be “Braveheart.”
  • CF Michael Bourn was held out of Sunday’s game because of a strained oblique. Bourn said he was sore, and he did do some bunting in the batting cage. He’s listed as day-to-day, but Wade said he won’t play until he’s 100 percent.
  • RF Yorman Bazardo, who strained his shoulder a week ago, has been throwing on the side while the training staff works to improve his range of motion.


Astros sign Bazardo, Englebrook and Fulchino

The Astros on Wednesday announced they had agreed to terms with three right-handed pitchers on their 40-man roster on one-year contracts with the corresponding Major League values: Yorman Bazardo ($400,000) Evan Englebrook ($400,000) and Jeff Fulchino ($425,000). .

Bazardo, 25, went 1-3 with a 7.88 ERA in 10 games, including six starts, for Houston in 2009. He spent the majority of his season at Triple-A Round Rock, where he posted a 9-6 record and a 3.20 ERA in 23 games, including 20 starts. He was named a Pacific Coast League All-Star and finished third in the league in ERA. Bazardo has appeared in 25 Major League games with Florida (2005), Detroit (2007-08) and Houston (2009) and has a 3-4 career record with a 6.86 ERA.

Englebrook, 27, went 3-1 record with nine saves and a 4.25 ERA in 30 relief appearances between Double-A Corpus Christi and Round Rock last season. He spent the most of the year at Corpus Christi, posting a 2-0 record and a 3.16 ERA in 21 games. Englebrook was added to the Astros’ 40-man roster following the 2009 season.

Fulchino, 30, was named the Astros Rookie of the Year after posting a 6-4 record and a 3.40 ERA in 61 relief appearances for Houston in 2009. Last season, he led all Astros relievers in wins, innings pitched and strikeouts (71). Fulchino has appeared in 74 career Major League games with Florida (2006), Kansas City (2008) and Houston (2009) and has a 6-5 record and a 4.20 ERA (45ER/96.1IP).

Meanwhile, infielder Jose Vallejo underwent surgery today on the fourth and fifth fingers of his right hand at Texas Orthopedic Hospital in Houston. As part of the procedure, Dr. Thomas Melhoff reattached the flexor tendons in Vallejo’s injured fingers.

Vallejo, who injured his fingers while preparing a meal during the Christmas holidays, will be out of action for approximately six months.


Bazardo gives Chris Johnson rude welcome

Welcome to the big leagues, Chris Johnson. Don’t forget to duck.

Johnson, the third base prospect who joined the team Tuesday in anticipation of his Major League debut, was struck on the head by a pitch thrown by Yorman Bazardo during a simulated game Tuesday. Johnson was dazed, but otherwise fine and shook off the incident.

“That’s why we wear helmets,” he said.

Bazardo, who hasn’t pitched in a game since Aug. 15, threw two innings to keep sharp.

“He just needed to get some work,” manager Cecil Cooper said. “He hadn’t been in a game and he needed to face some hitters. He had been sitting out there for nine, 10 days without seeing a hitter.

“It’s one thing to throw a pen and another thing to face a hitter. He unfortunately hit one, but the ball came out of his hand real good and I saw some good movement. He threw some real good sliders. I just would like to see him command the zone a little bit better. I’ve talked to him about that.”


I finally cornered Roy Oswalt on Tuesday and asked him how he felt and he seemed shocked I was even asking. In other words, Oswalt will definitely make his next scheduled start Thursday against the Braves, the only National League he has never beaten.


Astros general manager Ed Wade had Astros director of research and analysis Charlie Norton crunch some numbers, and the results were interesting. From the beginning of the season through Sept. 3, baseball has paid approximately $383 million to players on the disabled list.

As of that date, the Astros had 21 DL stints, which ranked in the top five and they had paid out $8.8 million, which ranked probably in the bottom six or seven. The Mets were at $41 million dollars.


Versatile infielder Jeff Keppinger remains day-to-day with back tightness. Keppinger hasn’t played since leaving Friday’s game against the Phillies, and he looks doubtful to play in the three game series against the Braves.

But it’s not like the Astros are in a hurry to get him back. Aaron Boone, Geoff Blum, Miguel Tejada, Chris Johnson and Tommy Manzella give them plenty of depth on the left side of the infield.


Bazardo to the rescue

The Astros would have called up right-hander Yorman Bazardo to start Tuesday against the Giants instead of Felipe Paulino had Bazardo not been out of options. But Paulino got the start, got beat up and was sent back to Triple-A Round Rock after Friday’s 6-3 win over the Brewers.

Bazardo’s contract was purchased by the Astros, and he will be in uniform on Saturday. A Minor League free agent who was cut by Philadelphia in Spring Training, Bazardo is 9-6 with a 3.20 ERA in 23 games, including 20 starts. He’s thrown three complete games.

Astros manager Cecil Cooper said Bazardo will work in the bullpen.

Bazardo, who has appeared in 15 Major League games with Florida and Detroit, had most of his success in Round Rock in May, going 4-0 with a 1.49 ERA in six starts. He had a 5.40 ERA in April and pitched well in June and July. His lone August outing wasn’t good: five hits and five runs in five innings.

With Wandy Rodriguez returning to the rotation and Sunday and Roy Oswalt scheduled to rejoin the rotation Tuesday, Bazardo might not get much of a chance to start. That’s unless Mike Hampton falters.


Paulino will start Tuesday if Oswalt can't go

Astros general manager Ed Wade said Saturday right-hander Felipe Paulino would start Tuesday against the Giants if Roy Oswalt can’t pitch. Oswalt, who has been bothered with a lower left back strain, will likely be placed on the 15-day disabled list of he can’t start Tuesday.

Paulino was scheduled to start Saturday at Triple-A Round Rock, but he was scratched in anticipation of perhaps throwing Tuesday. Paulino, who is 2-5 with a 7.04 ERA for the Astros this year, is 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA in five starts at Round Rock.

“He’s going to do a bullpen up there and just be on hold,” Wade said. “If we get word back from Roy on Monday he’s not going to be able to make the start on Tuesday, that probably puts us in a position of having to put him on the disabled list.”

Oswalt would miss only two starts if he’s on the disabled list. He threw 50 pitches off flat ground Saturday in St. Louis and said he felt “20 to 30 percent” better than he did after throwing lightly Friday at 50 percent effort. He threw at 75 percent effort Saturday.
Oswalt said he will get a better idea if he’s going to make the start when he pitches off the mound either Sunday or Monday.

“Throwing off flat ground is great and all, but the biggest test will be when I get on the mound,” Oswalt said. “About the only time you’re 100 percent is in the off-season, so if I get back to 90 percent I’ll be in good shape. The biggest thing is trusting it when you get out there. You don’t want to get in a situation in a game where you’re not going all out and you lose a ballgame. If I think I can get out there and get outs, I can get out there.”

Yorman Bazardo (9-5, 2.98 ERA) has been Round Rock’s top starter this year, but he’s out of options. If the Astros brought him up to make a spot start, he would have to clear waivers to make it back to Round Rock.

“From a logistical standpoint, Paulino was the obvious choice at this stage,” Wade said. “Bazardo was a consideration, but from a roster standpoint he has no options remaining, and if we were to bring Yorman up at that point in time we’re pretty much locked into keeping him. That creates a domino effect when Oswalt comes off the DL and [LaTroy] Hawkins comes off the DL. So we had to sort of look at it in the short term and long term.

“Short term because we may need to cover two starts and long term if you cover with a guy like Bazardo it could impact the structure of the pitching staff and put him in position we have to put him on waivers to get him back down. Every little roster move has ramifications, and we need to try to think these things through.”

Astros face rotation questions

Unless Roy Oswalt makes a drastic improvement in his battle with a strained lower back, he’s likely headed to the disabled list Monday, leaving the Astros in need of a starting pitcher for Tuesday’s game against the Giants.

There really isn’t anyone in the bullpen who at this point would be capable of starting, so it’s likely the Astros would have to call upon a player from Triple-A Round Rock. The most likely candidate is Yorman Bazardo, who was 9-4 with a 2.76 ERA in 21 games (18 starts) entering Friday.

Because of Thursday’s off day, putting Oswalt on the DL would mean he would only miss two starts, so don’t reach for the panic button. He was originally started to pitch Sunday, but rookie Bud Norris will take his spot. Russ Ortiz was scheduled to go Tuesday before his release, and Oswalt will wait until Monday to see if he’s ready for that.

Now, on Friday I asked Roy about his back and I think he took a shot at me. He said his back was hurting, but he could do about 90 percent of the jobs in America, but pitching wasn’t one of them. I asked him if he could do my job, and he said his hands feel good.

Hey, pal, this job isn’t as easy as it looks from down there on the field.