Results tagged ‘ Jed Lowrie ’

All-Star chatter includes Altuve, Lowrie; fans encouraged to Tweet the Vote.

Altuve-mania is sweeping the greater Houston area, and it’s becoming exceedingly clear that your second baseman is going to find himself in Kansas City in about a month.

No, no, no…the Astros didn’t make another trade with the Royals. Rather, Kansas City is the site of the 2012 All-Star Game, and Jose Altuve, who’s maintained an average well over .300 the entire season, arguably is the leading candidate to represent the Astros this year.

Don’t count out Jed Lowrie, either, who as of Sunday is leading all big league shortstops with 12 home runs and should be in any conversation at this point about the Astros and the All-Star Game. It would be nice to see both Lowrie and Altuve — with his .326 batting average, 17 doubles, three triples and 22 RBIs — head to Kansas City.

I have no idea how many Altuves it takes to get from Houston to Kansas City, but I’m pretty sure of one thing: every time someone mentions his height (or lack thereof) Altuve gets a hit.

Athletes from the other Houston sports teams are jumping on the Altuve bandwagon, too. On Sunday, Texans defensive end J.J. Watt tweeted: “Hey Houston, @JoseAltuve27 hit a HR & stole home today and is hitting .326 on the year. Get your votes in, make him an All-Star #TeamHouston”

I’m guessing Watt has already voted here…

…and you can also Tweet the Vote here, using a slew of hashtags that identifies the Astros and your favorite players.

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In addition to signing their first-round pick in less than 72 hours, the Astros have been busy working on signing as many of the remaining 40 players they selected during the Draft last week.

So far, they’ve inked 18, including their third-rounder (RHP Brady Rodgers) and their fifth-rounder (OF Andrew Aplin).

The full up-to-date list, as of Sunday night:

1 SS Carlos Correa
3 RHP Brady Rodgers
5 OF Andrew Aplin
9 RHP Daniel Minor
12 OF Terrell Joyce
13 LHP Brian Holmes
14 IF Joseph Sclafani
15 RHP Erick Gonzalez
16 OF Daniel Gulbransen
17 RHP Aaron West
18 C Richard Gingras
19 IF Austin Elkins
28 IF Angel Ibanez
29 RHP Christian Garcia
30 RHP John Neely
31 C M.P. Cokinos
34 RHP Jordan Jankowski
37 RHP Michael Dimock

(Update: the Astros signed three more: LHP Joseph Bircher (10th round), RHP Travis Ballew (23rd round), 1B Michael
Martinez (36th round).

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Speaking of the Draft, it wasn’t at all surprising when the announcement regarding the Player To Be Named in the trade with the Royals from a few months ago came down this weekend.

The Astros traded Jason Bourgeois and Humberto Quintero to Kansas City during Spring Training for left-hander Kevin Chapman and that always-mysterious Player to Be Named, who was to be named, well, later. Much, much later.

We now know that player is 20-year-old outfielder D’Andre Toney. He was drafted by the Royals in 2011, and because a player has to be in the system for a full year before the team who drafted him can trade him, the Toney transaction couldn’t happen until the 2012 Draft was complete.

Hence, the timing.

Jeff Luhnow hinted in March the PTBNL was the cornerstone of the trade, and if early returns are any indication, it appears the Astros acquired a speedy outfielder with offensive potential. Last year while in Rookie Ball, he hit .340 with 12 doubles, five triples, five home runs and 29 RBIs and a .432 on-base percentage.

In trading two bench players, the Astros acquired a young lefty pitching prospect and outfielder, moving the organization forward as it continues to build the farm system and plan for the future. Looks promising.

(Chapman, by the way, has a 3-2 record with a 2.30 ERA with 31 strikeouts in 27 1/3 innings in 24 appearances for Double-A Corpus Christi this season and was named the club’s Pitcher of the Month in April.)

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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 notes: Road tripping in Miami with a slightly altered roster.

The Astros hit the road this week for their first games away from Minute Maid Park with a slightly different look to their roster. As expected, Jed Lowrie, fresh off a successful rehab stint with Triple-A Oklahoma City, has rejoined the Astros and will be in the lineup Friday when the team begins a three-game weekend set with the Miami Marlins at their newly-minted ballpark near South Beach.

To make room for Lowrie on the 25-man roster, Brian Bixler was optioned to Oklahoma City.

You’ll hear a familiar voice on the radio if you listen to the Astros games while they’re in Miami.  Milo Hamilton, who normally announces only home games, is with the club for this leg of the trip. The Marlins ballpark will be No. 59 on his list of Major League stadiums he’s called games from.

Finally, please enjoy this writeup from guest blogger Dairanetta Spain, the Astros’ manager of community affairs. This week, she tackles the Astros Buddies Club, a time-honored tradition that has spanned generations and reached thousands of kids over the years.

Rainbows and Shooting Stars: Astros Buddies Kids Club Goes Retro

By Dairanetta Spain

It’s interesting how often fans mention that Astros alumni Jose “Cheo” Cruz, Jimmy “The Toy Cannon” Wynn, J.R. Richard and many more were their Astros Buddy or how often they share that they were a “Buddy.”

For years, the franchise’s kids club has connected youth to their hometown team since its inception, dating back to the Colt .45s era (then the Six Shooter Club).  Some members have remained close to the team and are current season ticket holders, avid fans and even current Astros employees.

The club has evolved through the years, but a kid’s connection to the club remains the heart and focus. Year after year, Astros Buddies receive their own personalized membership package enclosed with a membership card, their favorite player’s photo card and Astros trinkets, which have varied from season-to-season. Past and present Buddies events range from Photo Day at the Astrodome to the Members-Only autograph party and Buddies Behind-The-Scenes Day.

Among Astros “Flashback Fridays”, Walk of Fame inductions and 50th anniversary giveaways, the retro-themed 2012 Coca-Cola Astros Buddies Kids Club gives members their own piece of Astros history.

The 2012 Buddies club offers two memberships to choose from – the free Rookie membership and the loaded $20 MVP membership – there’s affordable fun for everyone!

In addition to members-only autograph sessions and a kids press conference with players, MVP members receive four free tickets to an Astros home game, a collector’s baseball cap, rainbow jersey drawstring bag, a wall banner, and other cool items, all celebrating the team’s 50th anniversary.

Kids 14 and under can be a part of the club’s 50th anniversary by joining at www.astros.com/buddies

Astros Authentics Manager and former Buddies member Mike Acosta (far left) with Joe Niekro at Photo Day on August 18, 1985.

The original kids club when the Colt .45s started up in 1962 was the Six Shooter Club. Here's the membership card.

Premium items for Buddies Club members.

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Lions and tigers and bears — oh my! An Astro honeymoons in Africa.

In the early stages of Spring Training every year, you’ll hear the same lines of conversation between players, staff and those who cover the team: how was your offseason? Where are you staying down here? Did you do anything fun over the winter?

Ask Jed Lowrie that last question, and you’re not going to get the typical, “Yea, hung out with the family, went to Cabo over Christmas” response. The new Astros shortstop got married last November and took a honeymoon that some of us could only dream of, and others of us wouldn’t touch with the proverbial 10-foot pole (and by “others,” I mean, me).

Lowrie and his wife, Milessa Muchmore-Lowrie, honeymooned in Tanzania, where they went on a two-week African safari. Lowrie, who took over 7,000 photos, called it the experience of a lifetime.

Brian McTaggart has the complete rundown in a fantastic write up on Astros.com, complete with a slate of breathtaking photos of wild animals living in their natural habitat. Speaking as a less adventurous person, if someone handed me an air horn and said, “Blow this if there’s a lion in your tent,” I’d be on the first flight back to whatever city prefers to keep its animals in zoos (preferably, Houston).

Lowrie is not your garden-variety ballplayer. He’s a graduate of Stanford University and an avid photographer, and his wife a foreign service officer for the U.S. State Department who will soon be relocated to Mexico.

When you have a spare moment, check out the story. The photos are amazing.
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For several years, we’ve been running Spring Training video reports on Astros.com, and we’ll continue to produce the same twice-a-week shows this spring. Our first one is posted now, and it features right-hander Jordan Lyles.

The plan is to run a player feature mid-week every week and one with general manager Jeff Luhnow every Monday.

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Today’s slate of photos captures players not only working out, but seemingly enjoying the process (remember, friends, this is baseball — it’s supposed to be fun). Also in the mix are a couple of photos that harken back to our past, 50th anniversary-style.

Enjoy.

Bud Norris watches with amusement as his pitching mates practice bunting.

Infielder Joe Thurston, a non-roster invitee, and outfielder Jason Bourgeois greet each other during BP.

Pitchers practicing comebackers is always an amusing drill to watch. The premise: Brad Mills hits balls back to the pitchers, at a high speed, one after another after another, with no break. Probably not the most pleasant experience when you're the pitcher fielding those comebackers, but it's fun to watch nonetheless, as you can see in this shot of two Rodriguezes -- Fernando and Aneury.

Chris Snyder watches pitchers throw bullpens and waits for his turn to crouch behind the painted plate.

Are there two more popular outfielders in Astros history than Jose Cruuuuuuz and Cesar Cedeno? Probably not. Here they are together, watching a round of BP on Field 4.

Cedeno watches from behind the cage with another former Astro, Enos Cabell.

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