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Some random reactions to recent articles....

Reading the articles about Tuesday's loss, I have to wonder: Do we have more miscommunications between Roy and Cecil over a Roy Oswalt injury?

In the fifth inning, Oswalt took a line drive off his right hand.  When he pitched the 6th inning, Oswalt had a bout of wildness which led him to walk in a run, which tied the game, before getting the final out of the inning.

Somehow, I don't find this frustrated response by Cecil Cooper after the game encouraging:

Astros manager Cecil Cooper was adamant he had no clue what was wrong as his ace gave up a single, hit a batter and walked two others to enable the Reds to tie the score at 4.

“You have to ask Roy,” Cooper said. “I have no idea. Ask Roy.”

Cooper was at a loss to explain Oswalt’s uncharacteristic lack of command.

“You have to ask him,” he said. “I don’t know. You have to ask him. Maybe it was his hand from the inning before.”

Most fans who saw (or heard, if you listened to the radio) Oswalt shake his hand as he left the field in the 5th wondered whether that injury (turns out, it was a bruise) would affect his ability to continue pitching in the game.

Oswalt threw in the tunnel between innings, and concluded that he could make it through one more inning.  However, he lost feeling in his hand when he went to the mound and pitched the 6th inning. 

Oswalt said. “I went down in the tunnel and threw some. I got back out there and I couldn’t really squeeze the ball well. I felt like I could go back out there and get out of it....

“I lost feeling in my hand in the sixth inning. The first two guys swung at some balls (in the sixth). That’s the only reason I got them out.

If they had (taken the pitches) right there, I probably would have walked more that inning.”

Did Cooper inquire about Oswalt's hand bruise before sending him out there in the 6th?  After Oswalt first showed control difficulties, did he think about the possibility that the hand injury was bothering Roy?  As I recall, Byrdak didn't get up in the bullpen until just about the time that the bases were loaded.

Cooper said of Oswalt: “We just need him to step up to be who he’s supposed to be.” 

Well, what if he is injured?

Yahoo speculates on Valverde Trade

Yahoo's Gordon Edes suggests that the Astros are a logical trading partner for the Tampa Bay Rays.  The Rays lost closer Troy Percival, and he believes Jose Valverde would be an attractive pick up for the Tampa Bay team.  Edes thinks that the Astros would ask for 23 year old AAA pitching prospect Wade Davis, whose minor league stats are here.  Edes admits that Drayton McLane's aversion to being a "seller" is an obstacle.  I would also mention another obstacle: Valverde is still on the DL, and it may be awhile before he can pitch in a big league game.  Will Valverde have pitched enough following his injury to convince buyers that he is ready to be a lock down reliever immediately?


73 year old John Vendikos had been the Stadium Club bartender at Yankee stadium for 23 years, serving up drinks for legends like Joe DiMaggio.  The new stadium wasn't a good thing for him, as indicated by the New York Sun's article:

But in January, he was told he had to re-interview for his old job because the Yankees had created their own food-service company.

"I had to wait in line for three hours, and when I got in, the guy said to me, 'Why should I hire you? You're an old man,' " Vendikos told The Post.

Astros Odds and Ends

You wouldn't want Jason Smith to get away from the organization.  Smith accepted his assignment to Round Rock. [I just noticed that Dying Quail posted a link too.] You can read Backe's response to the grand jury's no -bill for his arrest during a police crack down on weddings.  McLane expresses his pleasure over the Galveston grand jury's decision.

Cooper held a closed door meeting with the players, and apparently later it continued as a player's only meeting.  And this tid bit from Jose Ortiz's notes is too good to pass up:

Multiple players also told the Houston Chronicle that a veteran player also used the meeting to implore teammates not to air their disdain for Cooper in the media.

Let the guessing games begin.

Von Ostrand and Locke watch

I keep checking the Hooks stats to see if the two so-called "non prospect" hitting machines in Corpus Christi have come down to earth yet, thereby demonstrating why they were available to teams in the Rule 5 drafts last year.

Both James Van Ostrand and Andrew Locke continue to show impressive stats in AA.  Locke and Van Ostrand are 1 and 2 in team HRs, with 9 and 8, respectively.  Locke already has 48 RBIs.  Van Ostrand is hitting .311 with a 1.0 OPS.  Locke is hitting .358 with a .993 OPS.  Van Ostrand's isolated power (ISO) is an impressive .293.  For sluggers, neither guy is showing extreme strike out tendencies.  At ages 24 (Von Ostrand) and 26 (Locke), both players are too old for AA, which is the knock against their stats. 

I think it would be interesting to see one or both of these guys promoted to AAA to see if they can show similar hitting at a higher level.  As I mentioned in commenting on a fanpost recently, sometimes "too old" minor league hitters still have time to have a good major league career, citing Ryan Ludwick and Art Howe as examples.