Bud’s shoulder, Social Media night details and yet another Princess Leia mention.

Bud Norris hasn’t officially been scratched from his final start of the season but look for that to happen in the very near future. Norris has pitched 186 innings this season, the most he’s thrown since he broke into the big leagues a couple of years ago, by a large margin. He’s had a fine season, with a 3.77 ERA that is much more indicative of the quality of his year than his 6-11 record.

Norris left his start against the Reds in the third inning on Tuesday because of shoulder soreness. Most likely, he’s simply fatigued. Time to shut it down and start thinking about next year. Especially when your team is not in contention, which the Astros obviously are not.
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That probably means Studly Budly will have plenty of time to hang with us in the Budweiser Patio Saturday Night during Social Media Night. A couple of reminders:

The tour starts at 3 p.m. from Union Station. You can pick your tickets up at Will Call (if you have not already received them in the mail). If you have already done the tour in the past and want to skip it, we’ll be taking the non-tour participants straight down to batting practice (to be viewed from the seats directly behind the Astros’ dugout).

The program with Norris and J.D. Martinez will begin sharply at 4:55 and will conclude at 5:10. You must be following me on Twitter to win prizes. We will be fully equipped with Wi-Fi if you do not have a hand-held device and instead want to bring your laptop.

Dinner will be the Fajita Nachos, which was decided on by the fan vote over Twitter. It narrowly edged out the Steak Dog. If you wish to have a vegetarian meal — which will likely be a veggie wrap — please tweet me or email me (afooter@astros.com) as soon as you can.
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It’s not often you can have two reasons to talk about Princess Leia in a single road trip, but that’s just another reason why the end of this 2011 season has been a special, special time for all of us.

First, we sent cat calls in the direction of Carlos Corporan, who was dressed as the saucy and sultry Princess during the Rookie Road Trip last weekend in Chicago. And now, we are proud to announce that Monday, Sept. 26 is going to be Star Wars Night at Minute Maid Park.

Star Wars costumed characters will be on hand for the night and one lucky fan will win a copy of Star Wars: The Complete Saga on Blu-ray.  Other prizes include Star Wars PEZ® candy dispensers and LEGOS® Star Wars® Character Encyclopedia from DK Publishing.

The night will celebrate the recent release of Star Wars: The Complete Saga on Blu-ray, a nine-disc collection in high definition with 6.1 DTS Surround Sound with more than 40 hours of special features and never-before-seen content.  The collection includes deleted, extended and alternate scenes, new documentaries, audio commentaries, behind-the-scenes moments, interviews, prop and costume turnarounds and more.

Tickets start at $10 and are available online at http://www.astros.com/starwars and groups of 20 or more can contact Joe Schiavi at 713-259-8314.  For each Star Wars ticket package sold, the Houston Astros will make a donation to Stand Up To Cancer, a movement created to raise funds to accelerate groundbreaking cancer research that will get new therapies to patients quickly and save lives.

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Congrats to our own Bill “Brownie” Brown, who was recently announced as the newest inductee to the Astros’ Wall of Honor, as voted on by his Houston media peers.

Brownie will be honored in a pregame ceremony on Monday (Sept. 26) on the field. An induction plaque will be presented to him, and another plaque will be installed at the Houston Baseball Media Wall of Honor display in the press box.

More importantly, Brownie also celebrated a birthday on Tuesday. I say “more importantly” not because birthdays mean more than Walls of Honor, but because Brownie’s birthday involved cake, and his Wall of Honor announcement did not.

So here’s a big staff-wide thank you to Brownie for having a birthday and giving us a reason to get all sugared up before a nearly four-hour game.

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We’ve been inundated with rain during this road trip, which has resulted in not only multiple rain delays, but also many cancelled batting practices. This makes for a very boring few hours leading up to game time. On Wednesday, I killed 10 minutes by checking out the brand new Johnny Bench statue located near the Reds Hall of Fame at Great American Ball Park. (I killed another 30 minutes at the Smokehouse in right field. Wowzers. Chicken wings to die for.)

This statue, like all at the Reds’ ballpark, was very well done. It looks very much like the real Johnny Bench, right down to his unusually large hands.

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