Results tagged ‘ J.D. Martinez ’

It’s not always sunny in Philadelphia. Just check out Tuesday’s forecast.

Buddy, can you spare a roof?

A wise man once said, “I’m no weather man, but it’s not looking good out there.”

OK, so the wise man was MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart. And sure, a few of us might make a case that Tags may be more of a wise guy than a wise man. And he wasn’t prophetic as much as he was just efficient, following the moving radar on his iPhone. Oh, and when Tags said it, he was actually referring to one of the games the Astros played in Pittsburgh over the weekend.

Still, Tags’ words indeed hold true as we inch toward the end of this all-Pennsylvania roadie. The rain was steady on Monday but not heavy enough to delay the game, but Tuesday’s not, well, looking good out there. The rain is going to continue overnight and is expected to get worse. It also appears the showers will hover over Philly until at least 1 a.m. Tuesday night/Wednesday morning.

The Astros’ starting pitcher for Tuesday is still TBA, and the way it’s looking, the start time is also TBA, or perhaps NHE, as in, Not Happening, Ever.

For now, though, we’ll proceed as scheduled, with the game slated to begin at 1:05 p.m. ET.  But it could be a long day of sitting around and waiting for the rain to subside. That said, both teams have an offday on Aug. 27. The Astros will finish a weekend series with the Mets in New York on Aug. 26 and could theoretically swing back through Philly for one game the next day.

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When the Astros host the Reds on Saturday, June 2, we’ll be hosting our second Social Media Night in the Budweiser Patio. We’ll be joined by one of the Astros’ more regular tweeters, Chris Johnson (@cjastros23), who will be on hand to award prizes to the winners of our Twitter Trivia contest.

Tickets cost $45 and include a ticket on the Bud Patio, batting practice viewing, dinner, dessert, a t-shirt and an opportunity to win prizes during Twitter Trivia.

Prize winners will receive a signed baseball from Johnson and will also receive a copy, via email, of a photo with CJ.

Won’t you join us?

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J.D. Martinez was reinserted into the lineup for the finale in Pittsburgh on Sunday, but the return to the field doesn’t seem to be permanent. After giving the struggling Martinez three consecutive games off,  manager Brad Mills was hoping that by putting the left fielder back in the three-hole, where he spent most of April, he’d be more comfortable upon returning to the lineup.

It appears now, however, that Mills will be more selective about when he plays Martinez, who was 0-for-4 on Sunday and is hitless in his last 25 at-bats. Mills said he will “pick and choose” games to play Martinez with hopes of working him back slowly.

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Our intrepid general manager, Jeff Luhnow, will conduct an online chat session with fans during the Astros’ game with the Cubs on Tuesday, May 22. The chat will take place from 7:30 to 8 CT. We will tweet a link on @astros soon. All fans are invited to sign in and participate.

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The 1960s shooting star jerseys that made such a splash earlier this month are making a repeat appearance on Friday, as the Astros celebrate another Flashback Friday at Minute Maid Park. Nolan Ryan will be the fourth iconic alum to throw out the ceremonial first pitch, falling in line after Bob Aspromonte (April 10), Larry Dierker (April 20) and Rusty Staub (May 4).

Here’s the rest of the first pitch schedule:

June 1 vs. CIN    J.R. Richard
June 22 vs. CLE    Joe Morgan
July 6 vs. MIL    Jose Cruz
July 27 vs. PIT Mike Scott
Aug. 10 vs. MIL Jeff Bagwell
Aug. 17 vs. ARI  Brad Ausmus
Aug. 31 vs. CIN  Shane Reynolds
Sept. 14 vs. PHI Jeff Kent
Sept. 21 vs. PIT Craig Biggio

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Astros notes: early BP, Martinez, The Regulators and free Altuve autographs (coming soon).

Taking early batting practice is pretty standard when a team is on the road, but normally, only a handful of players are present for the drill. Early BP, during which a team reserves the field prior to the home team taking it over for their daily practice, is normally designed for bench players looking to get some extra swings in, or regular players trying to work through some soreness or a slump, or young players looking for some extra time in the cage.

According to manager Brad Mills, attendance was a lot higher for early BP on Friday in Pittsburgh, enough for three hitting groups. That can partly be attributed to the weather — it was one of those picture-perfect sunny days, around 70 degrees with no humidity. Pittsburgh isn’t exactly a destination spot for ballplayers (although I’ve always said it’s a very underrated city, and great for baseball), so most were probably ready to head to the ballpark early, anyway. Players also like to get some extra swings in after an offday, which could also explain the crowd this time.

One of the participants was J.D. Martinez, who you’ve probably noticed was dropped in the order a few days ago and then omitted from the lineup more recently. Martinez carried an 0-for-21 streak to Pittsburgh and wasn’t in the starting lineup for Friday’s opener.

Mills said reinserting Martinez into the lineup is “coming up pretty quick,” after he gives the outfielder a chance to clear his head.

“I think he’s getting to where he needs to be,” Mills said.

Meanwhile, Mills tried something new with the lineup, sliding Jose Altuve into the three-hole for the first time and moving Jed Lowrie back up to two.

Until Friday, there were four players who had batted third this season: Martinez (23 games), Lowrie (five games), Travis Buck (two games) and Brian Bogusevic (one game).

“There are a lot of things I like about it,” Mills said of the Lowrie-Altuve tandem. “I talked to Jed and Altuve about it and they were all in.”

Mills also hinted he may keep them there for the remainder of this series.

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Brett Myers refers to the bullpen corps as “The Regulators” and often heaps praise on his ‘pen mates after the Astros nail down close wins. How do I know this? Why, I follow Myers on Twitter, of course.

Myers, who goes by the Twitter handle @TheOutlaw39, is one of several players who signed up at some point this season. Another newcomer is reliever Wilton Lopez, who can be found in Twitterland at @lopezwilton59.

The full updated list of players and staff members on Twitter can be found here.

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Altuve will sign autographs (free of charge) at the Team Store at Minute Maid Park on Saturday, May 19 from 1 to 2 p.m. CT. Autographs are not guaranteed, so the Astros encourage you get there early. We will send out several reminders leading up to the event.

An Astros player will sign autographs at no charge on Saturday per month at the Team Store throughout the season.

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Finally, we went with a smile-and-be-happy theme to today’s photo album. Batting practice, at beautiful PNC Park:

Travis Buck, Chris Johnson

Jason Castro

Brian Bogusevic, Carlos Lee

Jose Altuve

Bogusevic

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Astros Opening Day celebrates the past and looks ahead to the future. The day in pictures.

Owner Jim Crane and general manager Jeff Luhnow

Opening Day is special, and you instantly can feel the vibe. It’s festive, it’s fun and everyone’s in a good mood. And, least importantly, it’s the one game of the year where people get all gussied up.

On Opening Day, just about everyone who covers baseball, or broadcasts baseball, or signs free agents, or helps design bobbleheads, or sits in a suite with other like-minded very important people, is dressed to the nines. The men look a little like secret service agents (without the ear buds and scowls worn by the real secret service agents who are there to protect Minute Maid Park regulars George and Barbara Bush).

Opening Day means something. The ballpark is the place to be. Even if it’s just one game of 162 played every year, what Opening Day symbolizes is recognized, and respected.

That doesn’t mean Opening Day is some stuffy cocktail party. No, quite the contrary. Opening Day is a big party, and that was never more apparent than in the nearly seven hours leading up to first pitch, when the streets surrounding Minute Maid Park were closed off and transformed into the annual rite of passage known as Street Fest.

The festival on the streets by the ballpark (hence the name Street Fest) included a little bit of everything — bands, food, beverages, fans and appearances by significant members of the team, both from the front office and the uniformed staff.

Street Fest started early and ended late and featured visits from some of the most recognizable members of the team. Two groups of Astros dropped by for two separate pep rallies.

Unsurprisingly, the second crowd, on hand for the appearance by Jose Altuve, J.D. Martinez and Bud Norris at 4:30-ish, was slightly more spirited and, shall we say, less inhibited than the fans who moseyed over to the stage for the 12:30 show with Jeff Luhnow, Brad Mills and Larry Dierker. Hey, certain libations just flow more freely in the late afternoon hours.

Pep rallies were just one element of the Opening Day celebration. Pregame ceremonies included trotting Budweiser Clydesdales, an anthem-singing country music star (Clay Walker), ceremonial first pitches by those who contributed to the Astros’ storied history (Jimmy Wynn, Dierker and Jose Cruz) and those who are ready to usher in a brand new era of Astros baseball, including owner Jim Crane and his many board members.

Crane’s afternoon began with a lengthy visit to batting practice and brief remarks to the team assembled in the locker room a couple of hours before first pitch.

We have lots of pictures and videos to share from the day. We’ll start with Crane’s remarks to the team:

Highlights:

“Congrats on making the team. I know for a lot of you guys it’s your first time making the team, your first Opening Day. Have some fun.

“There’s a lot of opportunity here. We’re going to try to do things right and try to make this a fun place to be. This should be a fun team to be on so anything we can help you with, you’re part of my family now.

“One thing you’ve got to remember — those people outside (in the stands) pay the bills. We put up the money to buy the team, and we need to engage the fans, stay close to the fans. We need to be nice to the fans. We’ve worked hard at that. I’m going to ask a lot of you throughout the season when you’ve got the time. We won’t take away from your work.”

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The dugout scene before the game always includes plenty of hugs and handshakes among teammates. This is the one game of the year where the sense of brotherhood is front and center. Although the camaraderie doesn’t dim through the season, you don’t see a lot of outward affection between teammates from day to day. That’s mainly saved for the opener.

Enjoy the photos from an eventful day at Minute Maid Park:

Pep rally: Dave Raymond, Bud Norris, Brett Dolan

Pep rally: broadcasters with J.D. Martinez

Batting practice: Brad Mills has his daily meeting with the media. Most days, the contingent is a little smaller.

BP: Strength and conditioning coach Gene Coleman with Jose Altuve.

BP: two great players from our history, Art Howe and Enos Cabell.

BP: the TV gang -- Steve Sparks, Kevin Eschenfelder, Jim Deshaies.

BP: Kyle Weiland.

BP: J.D. Martinez.

Pregame ceremony: Jeff Luhnow and the Clydesdales.

Pregame ceremony: Jimmy Wynn, Larry Dierker, Jose Cruz.

First pitch: Jim Crane and several board members.

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Astros notes: Bud, C.J., Astroline, College Classic and an appearance by the ’86 Astros.

We still have a month or so before Spring Training, but that doesn’t mean your Astros have gone into hibernation until it’s time to head to Florida. In fact, this week will feature two appearances by Astros players, one online and one in person.

Starting pitcher Bud Norris will participate in an online chat with fans on Wednesday, Jan. 11 beginning at 6 p.m. CT. The chat, which will last approximately 30 minutes, can be accessed here. You must be a registered member in order to ask a question.

On Thursday, third baseman Chris Johnson will be Milo Hamilton’s guest on Astroline, beginning at 7 p.m. The show airs live on 740 KTRH and Astros.com and will take place at Buffalo Wild Wings on Gray St. in Midtown. C.J. is planning to bring some autographed items to hand out as well to the folks in attendance at the venue.

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The Houston College Classic will take place at Minute Maid Park March 2-4. Details and ticket information will be released soon, but in the meantime, here is the schedule and participating colleges:

Friday, March 2, 2012
Noon           Texas Tech at Arkansas
3:30 p.m.  Tennessee at Houston
7:00 p.m.  Texas at Rice

Saturday, March 3, 2012
Noon            Arkansas at Houston
3:30 p.m.    Texas at Tennessee
7:00 p.m.    Texas Tech at Rice

Sunday, March 4, 2012
11:00 a.m.    Arkansas at Texas
2:30 p.m.      Houston at Texas Tech
6:00 p.m.      Rice at Tennessee

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Tickets are still available for the 2012 Houston Baseball Dinner Benefiting Grand Slam For Youth Baseball’s Scholarship Program, which will include a special celebration of the Astros’ 50th Anniversary.

2012 will mark the 27th season of the popular dinner, which will take place on Friday, February 10 at 7 p.m. at the Hilton Americas Hotel in downtown Houston.  The event is sponsored by the Astros In Action Foundation and Minute Maid, with proceeds benefiting the Grand Slam For Youth Baseball Scholarship Program.

In addition to honoring the top players from the 2011 ballclub, this year’s dinner will include a special 50th Anniversary tribute featuring Astros Hall of Fame broadcaster Milo Hamilton and a long list of former Astros team MVPs, including Bob Watson, J.R. Richard, Jimmy Wynn, Larry Dierker, Jose Cruz, Enos Cabell, Bob Aspromonte and more.  Phil Garner, manager of the 2005 NL Champion Astros, will also be in attendance. Members of the 2011 Astros scheduled to attend include J.D. Martinez (Rookie of the Year), Wandy Rodriguez (Pitcher of the Year) and Jason Bourgeois (Darryl Kile Award) and manager Brad Mills.  Former Astros Hunter Pence (2011 MVP) and Lance Berkman (Houston Area Player of the Year) will also be recognized at the event, but are unable to attend.

Additionally, longtime Astros television broadcaster Bill Brown will receive the Fred Hartman Award for Long and Meritorious Service to Baseball. 2011 marked Brown’s 25th season as the Astros play-by-play TV voice.

As part of the 50th Anniversary celebration, a special VIP reception will be held prior to the dinner, at 6 p.m., and will feature several of the former MVPs and current Astros players. A limited amount of MVP tables for 10 that will include tickets to the dinner and the VIP reception will be available for purchase for $2,500.

Dinner attendees will also have the opportunity to bid on several attractive items at a silent auction, with those proceeds also going to the GSFYB Scholarship Program.

 Tickets for the dinner are priced at $100 each or at $1,000 for a table of 10, and can be purchased online at www.astros.com/baseballdinner or by calling Jo Russell at 713-789-0626. General information on the dinner is available at www.gsfyb.org, via email at info@gsfyb.org or by calling 713-259-8686.

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Speaking of former Astros stars, a large number of members of the 1986 Astros will be appearing at Reliant Arena for the TRISTAR Houston Collector’s Show Jan. 20-22.

Among the familiar faces slated to appear: Nolan Ryan, Kevin Bass, Alan Ashby, Phil Garner, Jose Cruz, Danny Darwin, Hal Lanier, Mike Scott, Glenn Davis, Billy Hatcher, Bill Doran, Jim Deshaies, Dickie Thon, Terry Puhl and Bob Knepper.

TRISTAR also offers the opportunity to attend a VIP reception for the ’86 Astros reunion.

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