Results tagged ‘ Drayton McLane ’

Geary activated from DL. And outrighted to Round Rock.

Surprising news out of Astros camp today…the club activated right-hander Geoff Geary from the disabled list and outrighted him to Triple-A Round Rock. He cleared waivers. He could opt for free agency if he does not want the assignment.


And the Astros expect swift negotiations with their first four picks. Ed Wade and Bobby Heck keep owner Drayton McLane apprised of everything they’re doing, including giving McLane insight as to how long they think it’ll take them to sign their top picks. There appears to be heightened optimism that the picks will sign soon.

Here is a quick shot of Wade and McLane having a quick conversation before Day 2 of the Draft got underway, just after 11 a.m. CT:


Hey, look who I ran into.


You never know who you’re going to bump into when you stop by clubhouse manager Dennis Liborio’s office, the unofficial center of the Houston baseball universe. Not only do players go there for bats, balls, haircuts (yes, haircuts. Every couple of weeks, I believe on Sundays, a hairdresser comes in, sets up shop in the back room and trims a little off the sides for whoever needs it) and other equipment needs, it’s simply a place where people stop by to chat with Dennis, who has been with the Astros for about 30 years and pretty much knows everyone in baseball.

When the Phillies are in town, you’ll find Larry Andersen in Dennis’s office before batting practice. When it’s an ESPN game, Joe Morgan usually pops in. Both President Bushes have spent time in Dennis’s office, as have a slew of former Astros who have stayed in the biz, either as broadcasters, or coaches, or front office staffers — such as Charley Kerfeld of the reigning World Champ Phillies.

Most park it in the big blue comfy seat located in the center of the room, but on Wednesday, an old friend made a beeline for Dennis’s chair, as he did for the majority of his 20-year career. Craig Biggio isn’t a frequent guest in the Astros’ clubhouse these days, but when he does stop by — as he did this time, with his 16-year-old son, Conor — he knows how to make himself right at home.

Soon after Biggio arrived, Astros owner Drayton McLane strolled in and the two chatted for a while, talking mostly about the draft and the sky-high signing bonuses that are awarded to the top-shelf picks. Both men, as you can imagine, think that part of the game is getting a tad out of hand.

“What did you sign for?” McLane asked Biggio, the Astros first-rounder in 1987.


“One-hundred thousand,” Biggio said proudly.


“Too much!” McLane responded with a laugh.


In baseball circles these days, much of the conversation is focused on the upcoming draft, which begins next Tuesday [June 9] at 5 p.m. CT. Biggio will represent the Astros, who have the 21st pick overall. All 30 teams are sending a notable representative to make their first selections, which will be broadcast live from the MLB Network Studio in Secaucus, N.J.

The group includes several Hall of Famers, including Al Kaline (Detroit), Bill Mazeroski (Pittsburgh) and Billy Williams (Cubs). Many former superstars will be there as well, including Seattle’s Jay Buhner, Cleveland’s Ellis Burks, Cincinnati’s Eric Davis and the Yankees’ Tino Martinez.

“That’s a pretty impressive group,” Biggio said. “This is great for the game.”


The Astros, like all teams, are currently knee-deep in pre-draft meetings to prepare for the big day — or should I say, three days — next week. I’m going to sit in on some of these meetings to get a taste of everything that goes into getting ready for Draft day, and I’ll also be blogging and Twittering from inside the draft room next Tuesday and probably Wednesday. I’ve never been on the inside before and I’m looking forward to watching the process unfold. And, of
course, I’m looking forward to sharing that insider view with you.


If you didn’t get a chance to watch the video chat session Brian McTaggart and I conducted Wednesday afternoon, you can find it on the third panel on the Astros web site. It will also be posted in the video section of my “Footnotes” blog, which you can find here.

Right now, we’re running the Spring Training reports in that section but our goal is to replace
those with more current videos in the near future. First up will be today’s chat session.

McTaggart and I answered approximately 25 questions during the 45-minute chat. A wide variety of topics were addressed, including rumors surrounding a couple of the more popular players. The recent Roy-Oswalt-to-White-Sox speculation was front and center, and Brian and I did our best to address, and squelch, any notion that the two teams were in talks regarding the star right-hander.

General manager Ed Wade has a policy to never discuss trade rumors with media, either to conform or deny. It’s a sound practice, considering discussing players under contract with other teams is against Major League Baseball rules. But Wade, as well as White Sox GM Kenny Williams, set aside this policy because they felt this was a special case. Both sides confirmed there have been no talks at all, about any players, including Oswalt.

The reports began to surface after a high-level White Sox executive was spotted at several Astros games during Houston’s recent road swing through Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, and the assumption, seemingly unconfirmed, was that the executive was scouting Oswalt.

Perhaps the White Sox/Jake Peavy trade that was apparently completed and then called off fueled the rumors that they were now targeting another front-line starter. That part I don’t know. I do know that every team has advance scouts in every ballpark this time of year. It’s standard practice.

The story gained more steam when Oswalt was quoted as saying he would invoke his no-trade rights if the Astros and White Sox did complete a deal.

The Astros made it clear, in no uncertain terms, that they are not talking to the White Sox and they’re not shopping Oswalt. Confirmation from the White Sox side should be enough to put this one to bed.

I’m fairly certain Mark Teixeira’s Yankees aren’t going to be pursuing Lance Berkman anytime soon, either.


Trade rumors are part of baseball, and in general, they’re a part of why this game is fun for the fans. In today’s 24-7 news cycle fueled by the Internet, there is never a shortage of rumors, innuendos and speculation. Most of it is harmless. Every once in a while, however, it can be flat incorrect, and sometimes, cruel.

I read a recent report on that stated quite bluntly that the problem in Houston was not manager Cecil Cooper, but rather GM Ed Wade, who, according to the report, is meddling and negative and “puts everyone in a defensive mode,” including Cooper.

It goes on to say that Shawn Chacon’s actions last year involving “pushing Wade down last year” were “cheered” by other players. I read that and thought, if this is true, and I missed it, then I really had no business covering the Astros for as long as I did. So I made my way around the clubhouse to poll the players who were on the team last year. I told them about the report and the reaction was unanimously one of surprise.

“If anything, we understand (Wade is) somewhat hamstrung by the payroll,” one player said. “But we’ve always been impressed with the job he’s done, especially after he went out and got Randy Wolf last year when everyone else had counted us out of the race.”

And I can assure you, no one was cheering Chacon when he “pushed Wade down,” wh
ich is sort of like saying Yao Ming is “slightly” taller than Tiny Tim. The act was violent, it was beyond inappropriate, and not a single player was anything but disgusted that it happened.


From the homepage:

Miguel Tejada wants to remain an Astro

Jose Valverde continues to make progress

Surprising news out of Atlanta: Braves release Tom Glavine

And Wade says he’s not interested:

Alyson Footer is on Facebook and Twitter 

Break out the razor.

Doug Brocail likes that mountain-man goatee look, so I was surprised to see him shiny and clean-shaven when I walked into the clubhouse Friday afternoon. It’s funny — remove the facial hair and throw some glasses on him, and he goes from the intimidating somewhat crazy [but loveable] reliever you don’t want to mess with [I call him Chet, from Weird Science] to
something more along the lines of an accountant.

Turns out, shaving was borne from superstition.

“I had too many walks in [the goatee],” he said.

Felipe Paulino was sent to the ‘pen today, but he received high marks from just about everyone who he needed to impress during his brief time in the rotation. Cecil Cooper and pitching coach Dewey Robinson told him he belongs at this level. And Assistant GM Dave Gottfried noted a new maturity in Paulino that helped the right-hander get through some pretty dicey game situations.

Apparently, Paulino is learning how to pitch, which is a heck of a lot different from simply rearing back and throwing.

It should be noted they said the same thing about Jose Capellan during Spring Training, but he’s been completely and utterly ineffective since the Triple-A season started. Here’s hoping Paulino truly has figured it out. He has way more upside than Capellan, so I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Odds and ends, news and notes:
* Brandon Backe will make his second rehab start on Saturday in Frisco. Don’t expect him to return to the Astros’ rotation anytime soon, however — he’s in for at least four rehab outings total, if not five. Backe can stay on the rehab circuit for no more than 30 days, so he’s got some time. And seeing he missed pretty much all of Spring Training, it’s not unreasonable
to assume he’ll need the whole month to get ready for real game action.

* I tried to toss Brian Moehler a cookie when I asked him if the high winds in Midland contributed to his first two innings for Double-A Corpus the other day, when he yielded eight runs in the first two innings. He didn’t bite, however.

“Well, I didn’t give up any home runs,” he said with a laugh.

After he started mixing in his changeup with two outs in the second, things got better. He retired 11 in a row, and that’s enough to convince me he’s ready to return.

* Astros owner Drayton McLane will be honored on Saturday during a ceremony at Michigan State University, his grad school alma mater. The school will dedicate their ballpark McLane Baseball Stadium, after McLane donated $4 million to go toward the new facility.

McLane and his wife, Elizabeth, and his son, Drayton III and his wife, Amy, and their two children will attend the ceremony.

*To the fan I met at the airport yesterday: Matsui gets his sushi fix at Kubo’s on University Blvd. in West U.

Alyson Footer is on Facebook and Twitter