Hampton’s OK, Lee’s on his way

It was good to see Mike Hampton walk into the clubhouse today, but it was somewhat chilling to hear how scared he was while going through the ordeal. Even though he knew he was probably going to be fine, he was pretty on edge until he, and his heart, got that clean bill of health. Hampton threw an abbreviated bullpen Wednesday and shouldn’t be held back from anything down the road, which is good.

It was nice to hear Ed Wade be so definitive about Pudge Rodriguez. He’s been up front with the club’s disinterest in the free agent catcher, but every time I heard another rumor about the Astros being one of the teams Pudge was considering, I had to wonder. The news of Toby Hall having an MRI on his shoulder prompted me to say to Wade, jokingly, “So maybe now you’re going to make that offer to Pudge?” To which Wade responded, “We are not signing Pudge. Let’s put that to rest right now.”

So, consider the topic officially resting. Until Pudge says he’ll play for the league minimum.

Leftover news and notes:
Every player on the 40-man roster submitted urine samples for scheduled drug testing. This is different from random testing, of course. But the rules are the same, and, might I add, somewhat unpleasant, considering players have to be watched when they submit their samples. I remember having a conversation with Lance Berkman last year about his support of blood testing, and I reminded him that his very own union argued that blood testing was an invasion of privacy. He said something along the lines of, “You want to talk invasion of privacy? Ever had any watch you [use the bathroom?”]

My answer, thankfully, was no.

Carlos Lee is due to arrive to camp Thursday morning. It’ll be interesting to hear how he explains not reporting on time. I want to believe that he truly just had the date wrong, but I’m struggling.

Chris Sampson, fully recovered from offseason elbow surgery, is still a few days behind his teammates activity-wise, but he’s expected the throw off the mound Monday or Tuesday of next week. Also, Jose Valverde is experiencing no ill effects from the skin irritation on his right arm.



hey alyson, next time Wade mentions that they won’t sign Pudge, can you do me a big favor and ask him a question for me…”Why???”

we all know that a team with a gaping hole, an obvious need, and hoping to contend, would never be unwilling to push their payroll from $107MM to $108MM to fill that need in spades.

so what’s the real reason?

is it because of the proven track record of rule 5 draftee catchers? does pudge have too high of a career batting average and too many gold gloves for drayton’s comfort? did drayton get too accustomed to ausmus’ offensive deficiencies and he wants to keep those memories alive with humberto? is towles 8 rbi’s as a september call-up in 2007 still fresh on their minds and does aaron miles have a starting pitching gig this season? or are they counting on ’09 being the year that Tobias Hall regains his high school magic?

also…your last little quip: “So, consider the topic officially resting. Until Pudge says he’ll play for the league minimum.”…were you being serious? if you were, and drayton isn’t willing to pay pudge $1MM but would sign him for a little less, i think everybody who has ever been criticized and bashed for calling Drayton a cheapskate is owed a definitive apology.


Regarding Berkman’s comment about being watched: Anyone who’s been in the military in the last 30 years knows all about that….it’s really not a big deal…one deals with it and goes on…if you have nothing to hide, you don’t have anything to worry about.

I, for one, hope the Astros don’t sign Pudge at any price. The last thing the team needs is another steroid abuser whose name will get dragged through the mud. It hasn’t been proven that Pudge took steroids, you say? Then why did he answer “Only God knows” when asked if his name would turn up on the list of 104 positive results from the 2003 tests? To me, that translates into, “I sure hope not, but it’s definitely possible.” If he had been clean, then he could have answered with an emphatic “No.” I like to see a winning team, but I don’t share the “win at all costs” attitude that is all too prevalent in our society today. I have a much easier time rooting for struggling players who are stand-up guys – such as the Morgan Ensbergs and Adam Everetts of seasons past – than for a bunch of juiced-up egotists. Players like Ensberg and Everett helped lead the Astros to their first World Series appearance, and players like them – not the cheaters of the game – can do it again; they may not have held up long-term, but those are just the breaks of the game.
I also don’t think the Astros need to break the bank by going after over-priced free agents to try to win. No team can win the World Series every year. Just ask the New York Yankees when the last time was that they won a World Series, in spite of the fact that they have baseball’s highest payroll year in and year out (the answer is 2000). For those who would argue that at least the Yankees have been competitive every year, I’d answer that – with the exceptions of 2000 and 2007 – so have the Astros since 1994. I’d rather see the Astros follow the example of the Tampa Bay Rays and redevelop their farm system, which is what they appear to be trying to do now. The Rays have such a great minor league system that even when some of their stars begin to depart via free agency, they’ll simply be able to plug in another budding star. The Astros had such a system not too terribly long ago; it can be had again. In the meantime, I hope that Drayton McLane sticks to his guns and avoids any future Miguel Tejada-type signings.

How is it Lee was *two* days late to camp? His cell phone must have rang late Monday night, no? “Yo, El Caballo! Full squad workout bright and early tomorrow morning! Where are you?” You’d think he’d have been racing to the airport the same time he issued his “I got the date wrong” statement.

on “Carlos being Manny”…
had the date wrong???
are you freaking kidding me???
that is an absolute slap in the face!!! to everyone in the organization and those of us in the stands!!!
maybe he actually left on time, and it just took him that long to get there?! kind of hard to get a realistic time line on some one who uses a calander, not a stopwatch to get from the batters box to first base!!! or to a ball in the left field corner!!! the best thing about having crawford box seats is not having to watch lee try to play baseball!!! You know why carlos reminds me of michael jackson??? THEY BOTH WEAR ONE GLOVE…FOR APPARENTLY NO REASON!!!

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