Backe active Friday, role undetermined.

Brandon Backe is officially an active player after being reinstated from the DL after Wednesday’s loss in Cincinnati. Backe, for now, will be available out of the bullpen. That’s not to say that he will spend the rest of the season as a reliever, but there appears to be no room for him in a weekend rotation that will consist of Brian Moehler [Friday], Wandy Rodriguez [Saturday] and Mike Hampton [Sunday].

As to whether Backe will be a middle reliever or long reliever, manager Cecil Cooper wouldn’t say.

“He’ll be activated on Friday,” Cooper said earlier Wednesday. “That’s all I can tell you.”

Backe was happy about that part, but he’s a bit perplexed as to why no one seems to know where he fits on this pitching staff. If he’s going to be a reliever, he can’t help but wonder why he spent the last month starting in the Minor Leagues.

“If that’s the case, in return, I’ve got to ask why I went off and made six starts,” he said. “I’m not here to question anybody’s authority. I’m here just to put a jersey on every day and give my best between the lines. Wherever it is, bullpen, starter, it doesn’t matter. My teammates know that more than anything.”

Backe vowed to concentrate on nothing but retiring hitters, in whatever role he’s assigned. If he does know what his job will be, he’s playing it close to the vest for now.

“I’m going to go out there regardless with the same mental focus on getting outs and helping our team win,” he said. “That’s the main objective of us as baseball players. It doesn’t matter where we are and when we get in. Roger Clemens proved it to us in the playoffs [in 2005] when he offered to come out of the bullpen and pitch three innings. He’s a savior. That turned
out pretty good for us.”

After confirming Backe’s pending activation, Cooper also made it clear Felipe Paulino’s outing against the Reds Wednesday was not an audition. Paulino will make at least one more start after this one.

“And I’m not saying he’s not going to get some after that,” Cooper said.

____________

Spent my time in the clubhouse before the game Wednesday afternoon trying to figure out exactly what the exchange was between Roy Oswalt and Cooper last night after the fifth inning. It appears the communication between Oswalt and the coaching staff went through pitching coach Dewey Robinson. Oswalt, hurting after fielding a Joey Votto ground ball with his pitching hand, threw a handful of pitching in the tunnel to make sure everything was OK.

Oswalt told Robinson he wanted to back out for the sixth, which he did. Obviously, it didn’t go well. Oswalt was numb in the bottom part of his index and middle fingers and could not get a feel for his pitches when he tried to get through his last inning.

Cooper said after the game that he did not know what was wrong with Oswalt. I do not believe that to be true. He knew, but for reasons not spoken publicly, he did not want to talk about it. And that’s where we are.

____________

Geoff Geary threw approximately 40 pitches off the mound Wednesday and felt no pain. “The ball’s coming out of my hand the way it should,” he said. It’s got life the way it’s supposed to have.”

Geary plans to throw to hitters, simulated-style, in Pittsburgh Friday, weather-permitting. He’d also like to make one rehab appearance after that.

“I’d like to throw against hitters in a game that doesn’t matter, just for mind over matter,” he said. “I could throw 90, 100 percent like I did today and then go into a game and all of a sudden have some weird feeling in my arm. I want to just clear everything up.” 

21 Comments

Personally I think Backe could do better in the rotation than Paulino, at least right now. Paulino would do good to get some more starting time in at AAA, judging by his most recent starts. Backe has good stuff, he just has to be taken out at the right time before he gives the game away. When he starts to lose it, it’s been seen in the past that he never gets it back. Kind of like Wandy, up until this year.

Right now, I think Brandon is a better option than anything we got out there. I think mainly because he is not under the direction of Robinson. As long as we have Robinson at the helm of the ship, we are in a sinking ship. I have not thought of him as a good pithing coach since his first day. But hey, what do I know?

As a “professional Rotations Guy” it’s fairly easy for me to see what Coop’s plan is. Backe comes in early Friday, as soon as Moehler starts getting lit up, then the homestand beginning on Monday goes….OZ/Paulino/Backe (followed of course by Hampy & Wandy).

Alyson……this mess of a team, has gotten worse and worse. This manager is beyond terrible. Tal Smith, and Drayton McLane are BOTH to blame for this bad manager.
Cooper DID know about Roy, and chose not to take him out.
NOW…….he calls out his ace to the media! LORD HELP US!!
Get rid of this manager ASAP! Time is at hand, and the team is spiralling out of control! DANG!!!!!

I am glad to see Brandon back.

WE need a shake up with the pitching. I have not been happy of late with Fulchino or even Hampton and more. Oswalt has been hurt think last couple outings. Houston has not been supporting Oswalt all year.

I hope his injury isn’t serious and that heard about.

I know too everyone wants to blame this coach, that coach and more. Like the not hitting on Shaun Berry, and now pitching on Dewey and everything on the Coach. I just hope Houston wakes up here soon. I have been very bored with these last 7 games we have not had hitting and more. Basically only seen Tejada hitting of anyone.

I think for the first time ever the Astros will be out of contention the All Star Break and trade away someone to a contender (Valverde).

Moehler is 1-4 , Paulino is 1 -4 , his only win was in relief and Backe has had six good start in rehap and Cooper doesn?t know where he fits in? Cooper leave the guy in the dark as where he?s going to fit in, add that to his not knowing about Oswalt? Is he lying to us? Is he trying to make us fans feel like we?re fools if he really knew what was going on with Oswalt then says he didn?t know? It?s time he and Robinson go and time to put Backe back in the rotation.

Moehler is 1-4 , Paulino is 1 -4 , his only win was in relief and Backe has had six good start in rehap and Cooper doesn?t know where he fits in? Cooper leave the guy in the dark as where he?s going to fit in, add that to his not knowing about Oswalt? Is he lying to us? Is he trying to make us fans feel like we?re fools if he really knew what was going on with Oswalt then says he didn?t know? It?s time he and Robinson go and time to put Backe back in the rotation.

Moehler is 1-4 , Paulino is 1 -4 , his only win was in relief and Backe has had six good start in rehap and Cooper doesn?t know where he fits in? Cooper leave the guy in the dark as where he?s going to fit in, add that to his not knowing about Oswalt? Is he lying to us? Is he trying to make us fans feel like we?re fools if he really knew what was going on with Oswalt then says he didn?t know? It?s time he and Robinson go and time to put Backe back in the rotation.

“I’d like to throw against hitters in a game that doesn’t matter, just for mind over matter,” he said. “I could throw 90, 100 percent like I did today and then go into a game and all of a sudden have some weird feeling in my arm. I want to just clear everything up.”

This comment caught me as funny. From now on none of our games will mean anything. So he will get plenty of chances.

This team is just going through the motions. Will it change? Who the heck knows, but I much rather watch some of the younger guys (do we have many in AAA?) lose than these guys.

I think if the Astros get swept by the Pirates and the losing streak goes to 10, Cooper will not be the manager of this team when the series with the Rockies starts at home on Monday. It’s not a matter of wins and losses as much as it is that he clearly has no control over this team and no trust and respect from the players. It’s been one mistake and miscommunication after another. He’s already lasted longer than many baseball writers predicted at the beginning of the season, but it’s time for him to go.

“”Cooper said after the game that he did not know what was wrong with Oswalt. I do not believe that to be true. He knew, but for reasons not spoken publicly, he did not want to talk about it. And that’s where we are.”””

Good grief. Coop has become the Cereal Manager, he’s a nut, a fruit and a flake.

Roy deserves so much better than he is getting. Is Coop trying to ruin Roy’s career? Seriously, you’ve got to wonder what Coop is thinking.

“”Cooper said after the game that he did not know what was wrong with Oswalt. I do not believe that to be true. He knew, but for reasons not spoken publicly, he did not want to talk about it. And that’s where we are.”””

Good grief. Coop has become the Cereal Manager, he’s a nut, a fruit and a flake.

Roy deserves so much better than he is getting. Is Coop trying to ruin Roy’s career? Seriously, you’ve got to wonder what Coop is thinking.

Almost exactly a year ago, give or take 10 days, Oswalt and Cooper had a similar miscommunication http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/sports/5788153.html

Oswalt said he was done, Cooper said go pitch another inning. Communicating is not the Astros’ managements’ strength.

The Astros should let Jose Cruz take over for the rest of the season and start next season with Brad Ausmus as manager.

Alyson……..a quote from Jose Ortiz. “A player even told me it’s Coop or me soon…just watch”. Oh Lord…….I’m getting sick just thinking of who THAT will be. This needs to end…and end NOW!!!!!!!!!

Hey – no wonder our pitching is poor and we’re short on infielders – the depth chart on the website lists Edwin Maysonet in the bullpen. Honest mistake, just don’t do it on the game roster. Having one of those wrong could be embarrassing!!

For all those who are hailing Brandon Backe as the savior of the Astros rotation, don’t get your hopes up. First of all, let’s not forget his 6.05 ERA last season. Secondly, I saw Backe’s last start at Round Rock last Sat. (May 23) in which he gave up 4 runs and 11 hits in 6 innings. The Houston Chronicle had a small blurb on that start in which Backe mentioned that it had been raining throughout the game and that he had been focused on just trying not to get injured because of the poor mound conditions. Backe and the Chronicle both failed to mention that Colorado Springs’ starting pitcher took a no-hitter into the 7th inning – from where I sat it looked like he was pitching from the same mound in the same conditions. Backe will fit right back in with the Astros in one respect and that’s in making up poor excuses to cover for poor play.

I’m resigned to a long season in which I hope to at least see the continued progress of Michael Bourn, Hunter Pence, and Wandy Rodriguez – if their seasons continue as they have started, at least there’ll be some glimmer of hope for future seasons.

Why should a team that includes Berkman, Tejada, Lee, IRodriguez, Erstad, Oswalt, Hamption, Sampson, Brocail and Valverde be losing because of a lack of leadership from the Manager?

“Cooper said after the game that he did not know what was wrong with Oswalt. I do not believe that to be true. He knew, but for reasons not spoken publicly, he did not want to talk about it. And that’s where we are.”
This is a problem… a HUGE problem. I still don’t think firing Cooper will fix this team, but this situation is unacceptable. Roy Oswalt deserves so much more respect than this.

To say Paulino’s 1-4 record is indicative that he doesn’t deserve a rotation spot is unfair. In his first five starts, our beloved offense didn’t score a single run while he was on the mound.

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