After last night's game, the Astros made the last move necessary to set the 2006 Opening Day roster with the reassignment of Kevin Orie to the Astros minor league camp.
Orie, who hit .295 and slugged .568 during the spring, might be able to take a little bit of heart, though. At the end of spring training 2005, the Astros cut three to get to their 25-man roster for Opening Day, and all three ended up playing for Houston during the regular season. Two--Mike Gallo and Ezequiel Astacio--made comparatively large contributions, and even Humberto Quintero hit a homer. So hang in there, Kevin; you may just get the call.
Nothing here is a surprise from what we had figured since the club made the Chavez move, as we get the twelve pitchers, we get Nieve and Buchholz, and we get Munson.
Houston had of course gone with 11 pitchers last year.
Just to recap, here is the Houston Astros 2006 Opening Day roster:
Congratulations are in order not just for Buchholz and Nieve as rookies, and Munson as the truest of long shots, but also for Mike Gallo, who has pitched in 137 games over three seasons, but had never before made the Opening Day roster.
The same story goes on to note that Joe McEwing was picked up to play utility at Round Rock, and act as insurance for the big club. "He's certainly a Major League caliber guy," said Purpura of McEwing.
Not lately, Tim, not lately.
Cody Ransom is also expected to play at Round Rock, though he will be given the set position of shortstop, with the release of Tommy Whiteman.
Whiteman, a Native American of the Crow Nation, whose given name was Owner of Outstanding Horses, had once been ranked as high as number five in the organization by Baseball America, and was a Texas League All-Star as recently as 2004. But the organization sort of passed him by, to the point where he wasn't even given the Spring Training invite this year.