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Thursday's Three Astros Things

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Talking about Humber to the bullpen, scouting Larry Dierker and Words on CSN...

Some things to talk about while we take note of this great takedown of an overused phrase...

1) Humber to the bullpen

This is not a curious move. Philip Humber pitched himself into the bullpen. I'm not sure how well he'll pitch when there, but he should be able to at least provide the kind of long relief Houston has gotten out of Paul Clemens or Jose Cisnero (low strikeout rates, eating innings).

However, I'm not sold on moving Erik Bedard back into the rotation. Bedard has been effective in his peripherals, but hasn't been able to get stretched out this season. He can't pitch deep into games, so are the Astros going to pair Humber with him in a Free Agent Tandem situation?

Humber, for his part, took the news in stride:

“It’s all about perspective. You can look at it like it’s a tough situation. At the same time, it’s an opportunity. That’s how I look at it,” said the 30-year-old Humber, who holds an 8.82 ERA. “I was not pitching well in the rotation and so hopefully this is an opportunity for me to get better and for our team.”

Meanwhile, Tim favorite Dallas Keuchel gets another shot at starting, over Twitter favorite Paul Clemens and Jose Cisnero. I'm intrigued by this, as Keuchel has proven to be fairly effective, but doesn't Houston basically have the same rotation it did at the end of 2012? Lyle, Norris, Harrell, Keuchel?

Even though I'm skeptical, at least this front office has shown it will blow up things on the fly if things aren't working. So, Bedard may not be in the rotation for long.

2) Larry Dierker's scouting report

One of the coolest things for anyone who can't get to Cooperstown for the Diamond Mines exhibit on scouting is this. That's an online database where you can search for players of the past and see how scouts of the day saw them. Out of all the players in there, I tracked down two. The first was Mark Prior, because I was going to try and compare him to Mark Appel...alas, my nefarious plan was foiled, since there are no Prior scouting reports in there.

Meanwhile, I had to settle for Larry Dierker. Here's a report on him from 1964 by one Joe Stephenson:

Has rising fast ball -- curve very good at times. Delivery free and easy. When he keeps ball up he can throw it by most High School hitters. Has good coordination and control isn't too bad at present. Intends to go on to College. Will follow.

That's from May 20, 1964. Houston signed Dierker in '64 and he pitched in nine games for the Cocoa Colts that season before debuting with the big league club on September 22. Looks like he didn't go to college.

If you find any good scouting reports from Astros history, let us know and we'll round them up in a post.

3) CSN Houston's Words on CSN

Kind of a cool contest here, as CSN Houston has got this Words on CSN going on. If you see the word of the day, you can enter it at and have a chance to win one of the following prizes:

Words on CSN prizes include;

---$1000 cash (three separate prizes)

---Astros and Dynamo game tickets

---Postgame meet-and-greet with a Dynamo player

---Watch Astros batting practice on the field

---Autographed Astros and Rockets memorabilia

---Taylor Swift and Fleetwood Mac concert tickets at Toyota Center

Alas, I do not get CSN Houston, so will be unable to win such nice prizes. For those of you watching on MLB TV, do you see these as part of the broadcasts? Could someone like Tim participate from South Carolina?

The bigger question is whether these kinds of promotions make you feel any more charitably to CSN Houston based on this? It's a step in the right direction, giving fans some sort of contest, which should make CSN Houston more sympathetic. However, if Fox Sports did something like this last season, we'd likely greet it with a yawn, right? Where should we fall here?