News and notes:
Cecil Cooper isn’t yet revealing who the fifth starter [even though we all know it’s Russ Ortiz], but he did confirm whoever it is will not make a start at Triple-A to begin the season. The Astros won’t need their fifth starter until April 15, so he’ll use that pitcher out of the ‘pen as a long reliever in the interim.
Pudge Rodriguez will make what Cooper called a “courtesy appearance” in Corpus tonight. He’ll play no more than three innings, which is understandable considering he’s played in almost every game since he signed with the Astros and could probably use a breather.
Seven weeks ago, the home clubhouse at Osceola County Stadium was jam packed with 57 well-rested players ready for another long spring season under the sun.
On Thursday, the scene couldn’t have been more different. The clubhouse was mostly empty, with only a few players, dressed in street clothes, waiting for the buses to leave for the airport.
Some players sat at their lockers doing crossword puzzles, other sat in groups shooting the breeze with small talk. Many hung out in the lunch room.
Me? I took more pictures. Anything to pass the time…
Carlos Lee, showing off his new hat.
Roy Oswalt, reading the paper and wishing I would go away.