Astros pregame notes: Harrell to the Astros, Myers to the ‘pen, baby on the way

We still don’t know all of the players who will be getting the call to the big leagues when rosters expand on Sept. 1, but we do know three for sure: J.B. Shuck, Jordan Lyles, and now, with Tuesday’s announcement that Brett Myers will leave the team to be with his wife and pending newborn baby, we’ve learned right-hander Lucas Harrell will soon be joining the club as well.

Harrell will pitch Friday in Myers’ place and will remain with the team throughout September. Myers’ wife, Kim, is expected to give birth to their fourth child either Thursday or Friday. Myers, in turn, was to be available for one inning out of the bullpen during Tuesday’s game with the Pirates. He will return to the rotation next Tuesday in Pittsburgh.

Harrell, whom the Astros selected off waivers from Chicago White Sox in July, was 5-2 with a 1.72 ERA over nine starts for Triple-A Oklahoma City. He yielded 10 earned runs over 52 1/3 innings pitches with 24 walks and 38 strikeouts. He was dominant in his final outing for OKC, allowing three hits and one unearned run over eight innings.

A fourth-round pick of the White Sox in 2004, the 26-year-old Harrell has limited time in the big leagues, appearing in eight games for the White Sox in 2010 and three earlier this season.


Catcher Jason Castro is with the club this week working out and will head back to Florida for a week of Instructional League when the Astros begin their road trip next Monday. Castro will likely then head to Arizona to participate in Fall League competition.

On Tuesday, Castro, who is rehabbing from knee surgery he underwent during Spring Training, was cleared by the athletic trainers to begin catching drills. He went into a full crouch behind the plate, caught a “pitch” from bullpen coach Jamie Quirk and threw full-force down to second base.

Castro will not play in a Major League game this year, but all indications are that he is on track and on schedule to be ready for Spring Training and Opening Day next year.


On the farm:

Triple-A OKC:
SS Anderson Hernandez extended his current PCL-best hitting streak to 27 games, setting a RedHawks record since their move back to the PCL in 1998.

Double-A Corpus Christi:
LHP Brett Oberholtzer fanned seven batters over six innings in a win on Monday. He’s now 2-2.
RF Adam Bailey went 2-for-5 with three RBIs and now ranks second among all Astros minor leaguers in RBIs (90) this season.

Class A Lancaster:
LHP Wes Musick allowed just one run in six innings on Monday, helping Lancaster to a 5-2 win against the Lake Elsinore Storm. Musick fanned five batters and issued two walks in the outing.

Class A Lexington:
2B Delino DeShields Jr., RF Domingo Santana and CF Emilio King each knocked home runs in the Legends’ 17-9 loss to West Virginia.


Images from the first two days of the Astros’ six-game homestand:


Craig Biggio catches up with Jason Castro, who took batting practice with the team.

Carlos Corporan hits, hitting coach Mike Barnett watches.

Humberto Quintero, Jose Altuve


Castro begins catching drills. First, the crouch...

...and then, the throw.

Brad Mills, Altuve have a chat.

Al Pedrique, Ed Wade and Carlos Lee have a laugh.

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