Odds and ends, news and notes.
News and notes…
Hunter Pence is out for two to three games, including Wednesday’s loss to the Yankees, with a slight strain in his left calf, an injury he suffered while sliding home during the Astros’ game in Lakeland Tuesday.
Right-hander Alberto Arias, recovering from a bruised right hand, will throw a bullpen session on Thursday. Arias was hit by a line drive last Saturday while pitching against the Yankees in Tampa.
Jason Michaels, who is nursing a sore hamstring, has not played the field but has been pinch-hitting. He’s expected to miss one more game, defensively-speaking.
Manager Cecil Cooper was disappointed with the combined defensive efforts of his infielders — Jason Smith, Matt Kata and David Newhan — late in Wednesday’s game.
“These are the people fighting for utility roles,” Cooper said. “I keep calling them out and nobody seems to step up. That’s all I can tell you, we need somebody to step up and nobody’s stepping up. They’re not difficult plays, either. They’re routine playes that we’re not making and should be making.”
The Astros are now 1-15-3, but look at the bright side — in the last two games, two of their starting pitchers have thrown five scoreless innings; Brian Moehler on Tuesday, and Mike Hampton on Wednesday.
Ed Wade has already received one call from a team that has a third baseman available via trade. Wade also sounds confident there will be options at the end of Spring Training, when players on Minor League contracts with out clauses become free agents. I think they’ll take a long look at Chris Johnson but they’re also going to do their due diligence.