Posted on: June 28, 2010 11:41 am

Moehler wins spot in Astros rotation

By designating Josh Banks for assignment, the Astros have solidified their rotation… for the time being, writes the Houston Chronicle 's Bernardo Fallas .

Here's how the rotation stacks up while Felipe Paulino recovers from shoulder tendinitis: Bud Norris faces the Brewers today, followed by Brett Myers and Wandy Rodriguez. Brian Moehler will pitch Thursday in San Diego, followed by Roy Oswalt, who is still an Astro at this point, but that could change.

Moehler and Banks had a one-off for the No. 5 spot this weekend against the Astros. Moehler went five innings and allowed three runs (two earned) and picked up the win on Friday, while Banks lasted just four-plus innings and allowed six runs, all earned, in his outing.

Paulino cannot be activated until July 6 at the earliest.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: June 23, 2010 5:27 pm

Astros rookie SS to DL

Tommy Manzella Astros rookie shortstop Tommy Manzella will miss six weeks  with a fractured left finger, the Houston Chronicle 's Bernardo Fallas reports .

Manzella suffered the broken finger in the ninth inning of Tuesday night's loss to the Giants in an attempt to make a catch.

The Astros called up infielder Oswaldo Navarro from Triple-A and placed Mazella on the 15-day disabled list.

Geoff Blum is starting Wednesday night at shortstop. Second baseman Jeff Keppinger can also play shortstop.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: June 23, 2010 2:39 pm
Edited on: June 23, 2010 2:50 pm

Astros install Johnson as third baseman

Pedro Feliz When the Astros signed Pedro Feliz to a one-year deal in the offseason, they envisioned him gobbling up ground balls and having some pop at the plate.

Nine errors and a .220/.245/.295 line in 227 at-bats later, and Feliz is now hitting the pine. He does so in favor of 25-year-old Chris Johnson, son of Red Sox first-base coach Ron Johnson.

"He understood [the decision]," manager Brad Mills told the Houston Chronicle . "He was disappointed, as we knew he would be, but at the same time he understands the situation."

Johnson made the Opening Day roster but was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock after posting a .538 OPS in 26 at-bats. Down on the farm, he's having his best season at the Triple-A level. Over 149 at-bats, he has eight home runs and a .329 batting average. Johnson will clearly be an offensive upgrade over Feliz. On defense, Johnson is thought to be shaky, but it's hard to be worse than Feliz was.

"It's not over for me yet," Feliz said. "This is the first time I'm in this situation in my career, but I won't get tired of saying that it is not over."

Unfortunately for Feliz, his career does look like it's ending, while Johnson's is only beginning. Such is the cycle of baseball.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Posted on: June 22, 2010 12:16 am

What are the odds?

Any Baltimore fans harboring dreams of a miracle should give up now. Even if they had a million chances, the Orioles wouldn't make the playoffs this year.

That's the conclusion of a postseason odds report compiled by baseballprospectus.com, which ran a computer simulation of the remainder of the 2010 season a million times. The Orioles were the only team that came out with a zero percent occurrence of making the playoffs. The Royals, Indians, Mariners, Nationals, Astros, Pirates and Diamondbacks each were under 1 percent.

In the crowded American League East race, the Yankees won the division 49 percent of the time, the Red Sox 26 percent and the Rays 21 percent. The best bet to reach the postseason? The Rangers, who made it in 81 percent of the simulated seasons.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: June 20, 2010 7:11 pm
Edited on: June 20, 2010 8:01 pm

Astros shake up roster

Jason castro Not content to remain in free fall, the Astros made some changes after Sunday's loss, their eighth in 10 games.

Houston designated for assignment catcher Kevin Cash (.216 average), outfielder Cory Sullivan (.190) and reliever Casey Daigle (six major-league innings in four years). Called up were catcher Jason Castro, infielder Chris Johnson and outfielder Jason Bourgeois. Castro and Bourgeois were not on the 40-man roster.

Castro (pictured), the Astros' top draft pick in 2008, will be making his major league debut, and manager Brad Mills indicated to reporters after the game that he'll be the starting catcher. Humberto Quintero was hit in the head by a swung bat Sunday, causing a gash that needed seven stitches, and could miss time. Cash was the only other catcher on the active roster.

Castro, 23, was batting .265 with four homers and 26 RBIs for Triple-A Round Rock. He's a good contact hitter who has power potential.

Johnson's arrival could portend a seat on the bench for third baseman Pedro Feliz, batting a disappointing .220. Johnson hasn't done much in two brief prior major-league opportunities (including eight games this season), but he's been killing the ball at Triple-A (.329 average, .932 OPS) and the Astros are in dire need of offense.

Bourgeois, a Houston native, brings speed and will probably be a backup in the outfield, replacing Sullivan. He was batting .345 at Round Rock, fifth in the Pacific Coast League.

Houston is 26-44, 12 1/2 games out in the National League Central. The Astros have scored the second-fewest runs in the NL and have the lowest OPS in the majors at .619. They really have nothing to lose by looking to the future and giving some young guys a chance.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: June 20, 2010 4:07 pm
Edited on: June 20, 2010 4:52 pm

Astros catcher Quintero hit in head

The Houston Chronicle has a few details on a scary moment at Minute Maid Park, where Astros catcher Humberto Quintero left the game Sunday after a "severe blow" to the head. Quintero was struck on the follow-through of a swing by the Rangers' Andres Blanco in the fourth inning.

The bat hit Quintero on the helmet and caused a cut. He left under his own power.

Quintero is the Astros' starting catcher, and the only other catcher on the active roster is Kevin Cash. The Astros might need to make a 40-man roster move if Quintero is forced to miss time, because the third catcher on the 40-man is Opening Day catcher J.R. Towles. Towles was optioned to Double-A Corpus Christi after a bad start, and hasn't played since suffering a broken thumb on a headfirst slide May 13.

-- David Andriesen

UPDATE: The Associated Press reports that Quintero received seven stitches to close a gash on the right side of his head. He went for X-rays, but the team said he did not show signs of a concussion.

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Posted on: June 17, 2010 11:13 pm

Umpires correct a bad call in Kansas City

The umpiring crew in Kansas City on Thursday night made an odd ruling in the fifth inning of the Royals-Astros game.

Under Rule 9.01 (c), umpires can pretty much do what they think is right in reversing a call. That rule was invoked when second-base umpire Mike Everitt admitted he missed a call and tried to right the wrong.

With one out and Mike Aviles on second, Yuniesky Betancourt hit a liner to shortstop Geoff Blum. Everitt signaled an out and Blum stepped on second to double up Aviles, who had advanced to third, ending the inning.

Royals manager Ned Yost went out to argue the call. After the umpires conferred, crew chief Tim McClelland ruled the ball wasn't caught, but Betancourt would likely have been thrown out at first. MLB.com's Dick Kaegel wrote Royals vice president Mike Swanson consulted with McClelland who said "to correct the missed call at second base" it was assumed Blum would have gotten Betancourt at first.

Aviles was awarded third and play was resumed with two outs. Scott Podsednik then did line out to Blum to end the inning.

Rule 9.01 (c) states: "Each umpire has authority to rule on any point not specifically covered in these rules.Each umpire has authority to rule on any point not specifically covered in these rules."

That rule was invoked earlier this season in a Reds-Dodgers game when a ball hit by pitcher Aaron Harang with bases loaded was ruled a catch, but umpires conferred, reversed the call and gave him a hit and an RBI. McClelland, coincidentally, was the crew chief in that game as well. After that game, both Reds manager Dusty Baker and Dodgers manager Joe Torre said they'd never seen a call like that made.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: June 16, 2010 1:11 pm
Edited on: June 16, 2010 4:38 pm

No Disneyland plans for Berkman

It seems like a match made in heaven -- the Angels need a first baseman and Lance Berkman is in his option year. Berkman has a full no-trade clause, but hey, it's Anaheim. Isn't it one of the top five happiest places on Earth? Really, only Disney World in Orlando, Tokyo Disneyland, Hong Kong Disneyland and Disneyland Paris are on the same level -- or at least that's what our mouse overlords have led me to believe.

Berkman has four daughters under the age of 10, what father wouldn't want to live in the big, pretty castle or wherever Berkman would stay in Anaheim. Apparently, Berkman hates his children. Or at least that's what he implies to Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan .

"That wouldn’t be an automatic yes,” Berkman told Passan when presented with the option of Anaheim. “That would be a long, hard thought. Especially because I’d rather go east than west."

Berkman said he doesn't expect the Astros to pick up his $15 million option for 2012, but he also thinks his contract -- and production (.238/.340/.392 with six home runs and 28 RBIs this season) makes him less attractive for a trade.

“The baseball landscape has changed,” Berkman said. “Teams value their prospects more than they ever have. I’m 34. I’m not having a great year. Who knows how many more years I’ve got left or what my production’s going to be? As a slugger, you get into your mid-to-late 30s, start struggling, and then it’s like you might be done. I don’t blame somebody for thinking that.”

While Roy Oswalt has been connected with possible trades to the Yankees and Rangers, but nothing's happened yet, in part because of his remaining contract -- roughly $25 million for this year and next, plus a $2 million buyout for 2012 -- is too much for most teams not owned by George Steinbrenner, and his team isn't looking for starting pitching.

"I think it’s unlikely they’re going to work something out for Roy, and he’s a lot more attractive trade candidate for another team," Berkman told Passan. "It’s an even longer shot something’s going to happen with me."

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Category: MLB
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