Baby alert, broken noses and a visit from Booooone.

Interesting notes from Astros camp…

Chris Sampson’s wife, Heather, is thiiiiiis close to delivering the couple’s second son, but apparently, she’s even closer than originally thought. The Sampsons were anticipating a delivery sometime during the July 31-Aug. 2 range, while the team is in St. Louis, but it looks like the little guy doesn’t want to wait that long.

Sampson flew home to Houston today to be with Heather, who was experiencing early contractions yesterday and appears to be ready to deliver. We’ll keep you posted.

****Update: Sampson was placed on the 15-day DL with muscle spasms in his right shoulder. The transaction is retroactive to July 10, which means he’ll be eligible for activation on July 26. To replace Sampson on the roster, the Astros purchased the contract of right-hander Chad Paronto. He’ll be in uniform for Saturday’s game in Los Angeles. (No news on the baby). 


Speaking of babies, congratulations to the Booooooooones — Aaron, and his wife, Laura — who welcomed daughter Bella James on Wednesday. Aaron will join the Astros in Houston on Thursday to begin his comeback from his March 27 heart surgery. The last time we spoke with Boooooone — in mid-June, during the Astros trip to Arizona — he said he’d love to play again this year and mentioned a September return as a very real possibility.

That would require him to spend at least a month rehabbing in the Minor Leagues, and it appears that the timetable is working in his favor. I love the idea of Booooone playing with the Astros in September, especially if they’re in a playoff race. Rosters will expand to 40, so no one would have to be sent out in order to make room for Boone, and he would be a tremendous presence in the clubhouse during the stretch run.

He’s been through everything — division races, October baseball (who can forget his Game 7 homer that won the pennant for the Yankees in ’03?) — and there’s no doubt the Astros could only benefit from that kind of veteran presence during such an intense time.


Brandon Backe sought a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews after Astros team doctors diagnosed a tear in his rotator cuff, and Andrews recommended Backe rest for another few weeks before making any definitive decisions regarding surgery.

If Backe, who was released last month, does decide to eventually have the surgery, the Astros will still be on the hook to pay for it. As of Friday, however, he’s going to rest and rehab route.



Medical marvel Doug Brocail (left, with Jason Michaels) will begin a rehab assignment Monday in Round Rock and will make a second appearance with the Express Wednesday. He’ll then move on to Double-A Corpus Christi, where he will pitch on July 25, 26, 28 and 30.


Strange news from Round Rock…Triple-A catcher J.R. Towles broke his nose in a tractor mishap during the All-Star break, but he is still able to play.


News from…

Puma sits out with calf strain

Sampson DL story

And finally, for the ladies…


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I love the name Bella James! I can’t believe she was pregnant during his open heart surgery…I can’t even imagine the stress. Hope all is well with the Sampson’s, and thanks for the Ausmus picture I was going through withdrawals!

Seeing Ausmus in that bright blue instead of red is…strange. Wow.

It IS weird seeing Ausmus in blue, but he still looks pretty good to me. However, I wouldn’t have cheered for him in Sunday’s game if I’d realized that the Astros were going to LOSE! Why couldn’t he just hit into double plays – he’s had a lot of experience doing that!

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