Hampton day to day, what to do with Backe, and, most importantly, remembering Arnie.
Mike Hampton is tentatively scheduled to start on Sunday when the Astros wrap up their series with the Rangers, but as of Wednesday, the lefty’s status is day-to-day. Basically, this means that either the cut on his thumb will be healed by Sunday, in which case he’ll pitch, or it’ll still be an open wound, in which case he won’t.
“We think he’ll be fine,” manager Cecil Cooper said. “If not, we’ll have to figure out a way to give him a day or something, if he needs it. If there are issues, we might skip him. We’ll have to see.”
Hampton apparently cut his thumb on a soap dispenser while showering in the clubhouse at Wrigley Field on Sunday. I have to admit, it sounds a little strange to me. How does a soap dispenser have something that sharp enough on it that it would cut someone?
Brandon Backe will make his seventh and final rehab outing on Saturday in Round Rock, but he won’t be reinstated from the DL right away. He can’t make any more rehab starts beyond next Tuesday, per the 30-day rule for pitchers, but that does not mean the Astros have to make an immediate roster move.
Instead, Backe will throw his normal between-start bullpen session and, assuming the team intends to put him on their 25-man roster, a move would be made just prior to Backe’s joining the rotation.
There is no target date for when Backe may appear for the first time in a big league game this season.
“We’ve talked preliminaries, but we haven’t nailed it down,” general manager Ed Wade said. “We’ll have to see how he progresses, how other guys progress and try to figure it out when we have to.”
Presumably, Backe would bump Felipe Paulino from the rotation, considering Paulino is the only starter who has options remaining on his contract and can go back to Round Rock without penalty. Nothing has been decided, however.
“It’s a nice problem to have,” Wade said. “It’s always better to have more than not enough. We tend to be able to figure those kinds of things out and unfortunately, as if often the case, those things figure themselves out. All we want to do is hope Brandon gets through that start on Saturday in good shape and pitches the way he pitched in his previous rehab outings.”
Sad, sad news about a Minute Maid Park institution, Arnie Murphy, better known as “The Peanut Dude.” Arnie passed away after undergoing a stem cell procedure to aid his ailing heart.
Arnie was a member of the Astros and Aramark family for over 15 years and through the years, in addition to displaying some of the best peanut-tossing moves in the business, he had dedicated himself to bringing comfort to the many young children of the Sunshine Kids — a support group for kids with cancer and their families.
Every night, Arnie would pose with a Sunshine Kid in front of the press box, and the image would be shown on the giant JumboTron for the entire stadium’s viewing. It was a small gesture, but not to the featured youngster. Arnie always had a smile and a kind word, and the ballpark just won’t be the same without him.