Roy marches on, Carlos heading to Fla. Fanfest, and frozen yogurt.
Random news, notes and thoughts:
One of the many traits I inherited from my dad is a penchant for yelling at the T.V. during tense sports moments. I can vividly remember him lying on the couch yelling at the television — and the Reds — during tough times in the 1970s and ’80s. Later, when I was in college, I found myself doing the same thing while watching my Cincinnati Bearcats play basketball.
And again last night, watching Team USA play Team Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic.
Watching Roy Oswalt’s pitch count rise as he labored through the fourth inning was kind of like watching John Franco try to nail down a save for the Reds in the second half of 1989. You want desperately to jump on the field and yell “stop the madness,” but you can’t, of course, because you’re at home, watching on T.V., and no one is interested in your opinion.
I had no problem with Roy hitting the 70-pitch limit if he was cruising. But by the time he hit his 65th pitch, he was clearly gassed, and in my estimation, Team USA manager Davey Johnson was a tad tardy on yanking him.
I talked to Oswalt about that today and he just laughed at me, which did ease my mind a little bit. He insisted he had a direct open line of communication with the coaching staff and that he had told Johnson and pitching coach Marcel Lachemann he wanted to get to at least 60 pitches in this outing, if not a little more.
The good thing is that Oswalt has six days off before his next appearance. He’ll throw two bullpens this week and will be back on the mound Saturday in Miami for round two of the Classic. He says his body was tired after the outing, but his arm is fine. Whew.
Carlos Lee contacted Cecil Cooper today and told him he was headed back to Spring Training camp and wanted to get into the game on Tuesday. Lee’s Team Panama was bounced from World Baseball Classic competition after just two games, and apparently, the burly left fielder is ready to return to his day job.
“He’ll be in the lineup tomorrow,” Cooper said after Monday’s game in Viera.
Cooper, on Jose Capallan, who pitched three scoreless innings: “He’s pitching himself right into the picture. He’s done exactly what we asked him to do: throw strikes, change speeds, pitch down in the zone. He’ll keep getting stretched out.”
On Felipe Paulino, who allowed six runs over two innings: “Not very good. He seems to have no feel for pitching. A couple of breaking balls were good, but it did’nt look like he had a good feel. His command was not very good.”
A reminder: Astros FanFest this year will be held in conjunction with the exhibition game played against the Indians at Minute Maid Park, following the Florida portion of Spring Training. The date is April 4. When I receive more details regarding activities and autograph schedules, I will be sure to pass that along. But you can count on pretty much the entire team — plus several alumni — participating.
I had mistakenly thought FanFest was a two-day event, but it’s only one…please make note in your calendars, and sorry about the confusion.
From the Inbox:
Why isn’t Lance Berkman getting more playing time? It’s obvious he needs to work on his swing, and two innings every few days just doesn’t seem to cut it. I can’t understand Cooper’s thinking. My prediction: they will finish in last place! —
Elizabeth W., Dallas
When Cooper mapped out the travel schedule for his veteran players for the spring, he had Berkman marked down for no more than three road games all month. That’s why you haven’t seen much of him. Berkman is working out daily at the home complex and is of course playing in most home games, but is it enough? I realize Cooper wants to go easy on his veterans, but at the same time, the hitters have work to do in terms of getting their timing down at the plate. The only way they can do this is to face live pitching regularly, and it bugs me that Berkman is missing all of these road games. And there really isn’t any excuse for him not going to the Braves complex for a game or two, considering it’s less than 30 minutes from the Astros’ complex.
I have to disagree with you that they’ll finish in last place. I don’t know how good they’ll be, but they won’t finish lower than the Pirates. That I can promise you.
Who wants low-fat frozen yogurt after the seventh inning stretch? I do…and I’d bet I’m not alone. Who can I contact to request/encourage this addition to the ballpark menu? — Tracy B., Houston
A cool refreshing snack without the high-calorie guilt? Count me in! I liked your idea so much I forwarded it to the Astros customer service. And let this serve as a reminder to everyone out there — you send your questions, concerns, compliments and complaints to email@example.com. I can assure you they read each and every one of them and respond to the best of their ability.