Support Houston Fire Department. Bid on game-worn caps.

The caps that the Astros wore on July 10 to honor the Houston Fire Department are now autographed and available to the highest bidder. The team is hosting both an on-line and in-stadium auction of the caps, with all proceeds going directly to the Firefighters’ Protection Fund.

The caps designated for the in-stadium auction were worn by the nine players who visited nine firehouses a couple of weeks ago. Starting Monday and running through the seventh inning on Wednesday, five of those caps are available for bidding at the Astros Authentics store located on the main concourse behind home plate: Pudge Rodriguez, Hunter Pence, Cecil Cooper, LaTroy Hawkins and Doug Brocail.

From Friday through the end of the seventh inning Sunday, four more caps will be available, in the same store: Chris Sampson, Russ Ortiz, Miguel Tejada and Geoff Blum.

The rest of the autographed caps are being auctioned off on Astros.com. From now until Sunday at 6 p.m. CT, you can bid on a slew of caps, including those worn by Roy Oswalt, Lance Berkman and Carlos Lee.

A sampling:

Pence:
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Puma:

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News and notes from a Monday at Minute Maid Park:

* Aaron Booooooone, who had what at the time looked to be season-ending heart surgery, is on the comeback trail. He’s been working out with the team for a couple of weeks, and next Monday, he’ll head out on a Minor League rehab assignment with his eye on a September return to the Astros. If the Astros were to activate Boone after rosters expand to 40 on the first of the month, they would not have to send anyone to the Minor Leagues to make room for him. He would not be eligible to be on a playoff roster, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves — just seeing him on the field in a live game would be huge, considering five months ago he was pretty sure his career was over.

* Berkman did some light jogging Monday and is hoping he’ll be ready to come off the DL when he’s eligible on Friday. “I felt OK,” he said. “It doesn’t  100 percent, but it might be good enough by then. We’ll see.”

(Wow, just glanced at the list of players who have been on the DL this season. It goes like this: Backe, Boone, Brocail, Moehler, Quintero, Valverde, Brocail, Geary, Matsui, Paulino, Blum, Hampton, Sampson, Erstad, Berkman, Hawkins.)

* Oswalt (lower back strain) had a setback while throwing off the mound Monday. He is hoping to start Saturday, but he’ll be re-examined by doctors before a determination is made. He’s already been deemed unavailable for Tuesday — Felipe Paulino gets that start.

Just my opinion, but why not DL Oswalt? I realize that makes him ineligible to start until the following week, but considering what Oswalt is dealing with, I can’t imagine he’s going to be in any condition to start Saturday. If they DL him tomorrow, he can be the roster spot that is cleared for Paulino. If not, the Astros have to send someone to Triple-A and quite frankly, they can’t afford to get rid of any relievers at this point.

(Update — after the game Monday, the Astros send Sammy Gervacio to Triple-A and called up Paulino. I still stand by my original opinion).

* Wandy Rodriguez (hamstring) played catch Monday and is still a little sore. The team really has no updates except to say he’s day-to-day. The offday Thursday will help the Astros shuffle some things around rotation-wise, which might buy Wandy some time.

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And finally, enjoy these pictures from today’s pregame ceremony, honoring Craig Biggio and his 3,000th hit as the top moment in Minute Maid Park history:

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Left to right: Drayton McLane, FS Houston Sr. VP and GM Steve Tello and 26-year Astros season ticket holder Jerry Zamzow.

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1 Comment

Good thing Burke’s home run didn’t win – that would’ve been an awkward celebration.

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