Results tagged ‘ Geoff Geary ’

Wright a starter? Team news and notes, and answers to your questions.

Wesley Wright was sent to Triple-A Round Rock a couple of weeks ago mainly because he wasn’t effective enough on the big league level. But his time spent down on the farm wasn’t designed only for him to “work on things” — he was also sent down to get stretched out to be more than a one-batter or one-inning pitcher.

No, the Astros aren’t converting him to a starter — yet. But don’t count it out as an option down the road.

Wright, who was recalled after Thursday’s game when Felipe Paulino went on the DL, appeared in four games for the Express, including one start. He threw 66 pitches in that outing, a remarkable number considering he had started a grand total of seven games during his Minor League career, five of which arrived in his first season in 2003, as a Class A Dodgers farmhand.

The Astros tabbed Wright as a reliever when they plucked him from the Dodgers organization during the Rule 5 draft in 2007, mainly because they had a need for a left-hander in the ‘pen. But there appears to be a need for starting pitching these days, and perhaps Wright might fit the bill, someday. He’s still in the ‘pen, but the fact that the Astros sent him to Round Rock to get stretched out, build up his innings and work on his pitches is intriguing. Stay tuned.

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Bud Norris is another interesting study. During Spring Training, several Astros evaluators said if Norris, the club’s top pitching prospect, can develop the changeup and effectively use it as a quality third pitch, his future is probably as a starter. If it turns out he is more of a two-pitch pitcher, he could be looked at as a future candidate for the back end of the bullpen, possibly as a closer. As of now, his changeup is coming along nicely, and the Astros are still hopeful he can eventually turn into a top-of-the-rotation starter in the big leagues.

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The Astros, much like Humpty Dumpty, are slowly putting themselves together again. Jose Valverde is back after a two-game rehab stint with Double-A Corpus Christi. He needed a grand total of six pitches — all strikes — to get through one inning of work Thursday night. He’ll be activated before Saturday’s game.

Kazuo Matsui started Thursday’s Corpus game at second base and was hitless in four at-bats but drove in one run. On Friday, he was 1-for-4 and played eight innings. He’ll play Saturday with the Hooks, will be off Sunday and is scheduled to rejoin the Astros for Tuesday’s game in Arlington.

Valverde has been out since April 27 with a strained right calf, while Matsui has been sidelined since May 26 with a strained left hamstring.

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Roy Oswalt says his wrist feels fine and he’s ready to face the Diamondbacks on Saturday. He was pushed back a day because of what he suspects was a touch of tendinitis.

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Geoff Geary accepted his Minor League assignment and will report to Round Rock Saturday. He had two choices: accept the assignment and continue to be paid, or reject it, become a free agent and not be paid the balance of his contract. He’d have to bank on another club willing to sign him and pay him the approximately $1.05 million he’s still owed by the Astros.

In other words, he’s reporting to Round Rock Saturday.

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Thanks for your emails and questions…just as a reminder, you can email your inquiries to askalyson@astros.com. I’ll try to either post answers here or answer you personally. You can also catch my updates on Twitter. My screen name is alysonfooter.

Question:

Recently Jason Castro was moved up to AA Corpus Christi, and rightfully so judging by the numbers he was putting up. How soon will the Astros be moving up some of their other top prospects? To name a few, Jonathan Gaston and J.B. Shuck have both been excellent at Class A Lancaster, and practically the entire starting rotation at Class A Lexington (Seaton, Lyles, Dydalewicz, Bono and Greenwalt) has been doing wonderfully. The Astros have to be happy about some of the things going on in their two A-ball clubs. What can we expect to see from these teams in the near future, and is Castro still on track to possibly get a
look in Spring Training for the 2010 starting job? — Brian S.

Shuck and Gaston are both off to really good starts, and both jumped over low A ball and went straight to High A Lancaster this year after starting their pro careers last year in Rookie Ball. Through Thursday, Shuck, an outfielder, was hitting .323 with 11 doubles, four triples and 17 RBIs over 56 games. Gaston, also an outfielder, has hit an eye-popping 15 home runs over 60 games. He has a .291 average, 16 doubles, eight triples and 42 RBIs.

If they continue at this pace, they’ll get serious consideration for Double-A. Whether comes in the near future or the latter part of season remains to be determined. But it appears the Astros front office is as impressed with these kids as you are.

The rotation at Lexington is getting quite a bit of attention inside baseball circles, but the Astros are not going to rush them through the system. Three of the starting five — Seaton, Lyles, Dydalewicz — were just drafted last year, and the other two — Bono and Greenwalt — are in their first year at Lexington. We’ve heard over and over that the true pitching talent is in the lower levels of the farm system and I think we’re seeing that first-hand now.

The likelihood is that all five stay in Lexington for the season, to build up innings. Promotions aren’t out of the question but there are no plans right now.

As for Castro, tabbing him as the starting catcher out of Spring Training next year might be a stretch. He’ll be given the chance to compete for the job but I’m inclined to believe they might be looking for another stop-gap — a la Pudge Rodriguez — to give Castro more time to develop. I would not be surprised if Castro was called up at some point during the season, and he’s moving up the ladder at a nice pace, but I suspect the Astros will want to give him something close to a full season at Triple-A before they’ll think about making him the front-line starting catcher.

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.

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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:

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Geary on the mend. Maysonet recalled.

Geoff Geary is throwing on flat ground every day, fully intending to be ready for activation from the disabled list when he’s eligible on May 29. Whether he’s actually ready remains to be seen, however.

Geary, sidelined with right biceps tendinitis, is working with the team’s athletic trainers to strengthen the muscles on his upper back — near the back of his neck — with hopes that it will improve Geary’s posture and relieve the pressure on the front of his shoulder.

“It’s a day to day process, and every day that I feel better, the more excited I become,” Geary said.

Pitching with pain is something Geary is accustomed to. He says he’s done so most of his career, not from anything out of the ordinary, but simply because pain is the natural byproduct of doing something so physically unnatural and violent as overhand pitching.

“There have been times I can’t sleep because I couldn’t get my arm in the right position,” Geary said. “That’s just something you have to deal with. Your pain tolerance increases.”

Geary pointed out that he pitched with tears in his groin and abdomen in 2008 and found a way to get through it. This time, however, he realized he couldn’t pitch through the pain and still produce acceptable results.

He realized this pretty quickly during the Rockies series last week. In what was headed for a blowout Astros win, Geary allowed five runs in the ninth inning. He went on the DL the next morning.
 
“I kept telling myself, ‘if Jamie Moyer can pitch at 86 [mph], so can Geoff Geary,'” he said, referring to the Phillies’ 46-year-old mainstay. “But I’m not doing anything but hurting myself. Jamie Moyer knows how to pitch at 86. I don’t.”

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Following Thursday’s game, the Astros designated infielder Jason Smith and recalled infielder Edwin Maysonet from Triple-A Round Rock. Maysonet will serve in the same role as Smith, as a second utility infielder. “He can play all over,” manager Cecil Cooper said.

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Two things that struck me funny from Wednesday’s lineup card mixup that resulted in Michael Bourn hitting second, despite leading off the game with a base hit:

* Before the game, Bourn was the featured presenter of the lineup during FS Houston’s pregame show. I believe his exact words were, “Hitting in the leadoff spot, me.”

* According to manager Cecil Cooper, just before the game began, he and a couple of his coaches were talking about Joe Maddon’s lineup gaffe from a few days earlier that resulted in the Rays having to bat their pitcher. Little did they know…

From batting practice:

Erstad, Blum and everyone’s favorite lefty, Jim Deshaies. 

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Dave Clark talks bunting with Michael Bourn.

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Carlos Lee.

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Carlos Lee and Puma have a laugh while Puma fields grounders.

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Jason Michaels and Jeff Keppinger talk hitting.
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This one hurt.

Hats off to Hunter Pence. It couldn’t have been easy to stand at his locker and explain in full detail his eighth-inning at-bat against Arthur Rhodes, but he did it. And he did it well. He addressed us immediately, got it over with, and I applaud him for how he handled the whole thing.

“I’m going to be a winner,” he said. “I’m going to find a way. In those times, I want to be up to bat. This time, I didn’t get them, but tomorrow’s a new day. This is where you find out what you’re made of, when times get rough.”

The Astros, collectively, are not good offensively right now. They’re either last or close to last in some pretty important categories — runs, average, hits, RBIs. This is a collective struggle. But Monday night, the focus was on Pence, who looked at a called third strike with the bases loaded, two outs, and the Astros down by a run.

Geoff Blum always provides great perspective, and he didn’t disappoint this time when talking about Pence.

“I’ve been hitting behind him for just a couple of games now,” he said. “And after watching last year and hitting behind him this year, even I get to be a part-time fan when I’m sitting on deck. I expect him to do something amazing, because I think he’s built for it. He’s worked hard to get to that point. But this game is harsh. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen that time, but there’s plenty more game left. I know Hunter’s going to relish every chance he has to be in that situation.”

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Cecil Cooper chose Geoff Geary after Mike Hampton yielded a base hit in the seventh inning for a couple of reasons. One was simple default — Jeff Fulchino was unavailable because he’s pitched a lot in the last couple of days, and Chris Sampson was also unavailable. Cooper didn’t expand on it when pressed on Sampson, so I’m guessing Sampson is still not recovered from that hip problem he encountered while executing an out at first base the other night. I’ll check on that tomorrow.

Anyway, back to Geary. Concerned?

“I don’t have any concern, he’s just not pitching the way he pitched a year ago,” Cooper said. “He’s struggling a little bit. All we can do is keep running him out there, and I don’t think there’s anything mechanically wrong.”

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Puma tied Craig Biggio for second on the club’s all-time home run list with 291. Next up, Jeff Bagwell’s 449. It’s going to be a while.

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