Results tagged ‘ JR Towles ’

Meeting special people on a special day.

Meet Tyran.

This young man was one of many patients the Astros met during their visit to Scott and White Hospital during the final caravan day through Temple, Texas on Wednesday. He was timid at first, but thanks to a very congenial Michael Bourn, it took no time at all for Tyran to relax with our players and enjoy the company.

Tyran’s mother sat back and marveled at how happy Tyran was with the lavish attention everyone — Bourn, J.R. Towles, Brad Mills and bullpen assistant Javier Bracamonte — heaped upon this young man, and it was yet another reminder how little ballplayers have to do to make someone’s day and positively affect a young life.

The players carry autograph cards with them on these caravan trips and hand them out to anyone who wants one, and soon, Tyran had a stack of mementos. It was touching enough just watching the scene unfold, but it was Tyran’s mother’s words at the end of the visit that really moved me.

“I’m his foster parent, and we just got him,” she said. “I haven’t even been able to bring him home yet. I was wondering how I was going to decorate his room when it was time.”

Pointing to the stack of autograph cards, she said, “Now, I know exactly how to decorate his room.”

The compassion people carry with them — they’re truly angels on earth — never ceases to amaze me. Parents come in all forms, as do those who dedicate their lives to caring for people who are dealt a terrible hand in life. The hospital workers at Scott and White who escort us through the hospital every year had a gut-wrenching hour just before we arrived — they lost a young patient to whom they had grown incredibly attached. “We’ve had a terrible day,” one woman said tearfully. “Please bear with us.” Then she gathered herself, put on a smile, and walked us into every patient’s room with the same unbridled enthusiasm.

Yes, we look at baseball players as heroes, but let’s not forget the everyday folks who do absolutely extraordinary things. When you work in sports, you’re reminded of this practically every day. Wednesday was one of those days.


Tyran could not take his eyes off Bourn, and I think Mike became pretty attached as well.  


 The group with more patients at Scott and White.


A difficult day for those who work at Scott and White. Yet they still made the day special for dozens.


A few patients’ rooms were off limits because the kids were too sick, but others were inhabitable only if the guests wore masks and gowns. Here’s Bourn getting suited up. I posted another shot on Twitter.


After the hospital visit, we had a major change of pace…lunch at the Temple Lions Club. This is always a raucous hour attended by Drayton McLane and a few dozen locals. An auctioneer raffles off a handful of Astros goodies…signed bats, balls…and a Milo bobblehead!


Then it was off to Yoe High School, the alma mater of one Drayton McLane.

After the autograph session following the assembly…it was time to head back to Houston.


Astros are on Facebook

Follow Alyson Footer on Twitter  

Questions? Send to  

Baby alert, broken noses and a visit from Booooone.

Interesting notes from Astros camp…

Chris Sampson’s wife, Heather, is thiiiiiis close to delivering the couple’s second son, but apparently, she’s even closer than originally thought. The Sampsons were anticipating a delivery sometime during the July 31-Aug. 2 range, while the team is in St. Louis, but it looks like the little guy doesn’t want to wait that long.

Sampson flew home to Houston today to be with Heather, who was experiencing early contractions yesterday and appears to be ready to deliver. We’ll keep you posted.

****Update: Sampson was placed on the 15-day DL with muscle spasms in his right shoulder. The transaction is retroactive to July 10, which means he’ll be eligible for activation on July 26. To replace Sampson on the roster, the Astros purchased the contract of right-hander Chad Paronto. He’ll be in uniform for Saturday’s game in Los Angeles. (No news on the baby). 


Speaking of babies, congratulations to the Booooooooones — Aaron, and his wife, Laura — who welcomed daughter Bella James on Wednesday. Aaron will join the Astros in Houston on Thursday to begin his comeback from his March 27 heart surgery. The last time we spoke with Boooooone — in mid-June, during the Astros trip to Arizona — he said he’d love to play again this year and mentioned a September return as a very real possibility.

That would require him to spend at least a month rehabbing in the Minor Leagues, and it appears that the timetable is working in his favor. I love the idea of Booooone playing with the Astros in September, especially if they’re in a playoff race. Rosters will expand to 40, so no one would have to be sent out in order to make room for Boone, and he would be a tremendous presence in the clubhouse during the stretch run.

He’s been through everything — division races, October baseball (who can forget his Game 7 homer that won the pennant for the Yankees in ’03?) — and there’s no doubt the Astros could only benefit from that kind of veteran presence during such an intense time.


Brandon Backe sought a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews after Astros team doctors diagnosed a tear in his rotator cuff, and Andrews recommended Backe rest for another few weeks before making any definitive decisions regarding surgery.

If Backe, who was released last month, does decide to eventually have the surgery, the Astros will still be on the hook to pay for it. As of Friday, however, he’s going to rest and rehab route.



Medical marvel Doug Brocail (left, with Jason Michaels) will begin a rehab assignment Monday in Round Rock and will make a second appearance with the Express Wednesday. He’ll then move on to Double-A Corpus Christi, where he will pitch on July 25, 26, 28 and 30.


Strange news from Round Rock…Triple-A catcher J.R. Towles broke his nose in a tractor mishap during the All-Star break, but he is still able to play.


News from…

Puma sits out with calf strain

Sampson DL story

And finally, for the ladies…


Astros are on Facebook

Alyson Footer is on Twitter  

Questions? Send to  

Norris, Towles cut.

The Astros made two roster moves Friday morning, sending right-hander Bud Norris and catcher J.R. Towles to Minor League camp.

Norris will join the Round Rock rotation, but he will be the first pitcher considered if a need arises in either the rotation or the bullpen in Houston.

Towles was edged out when the club signed Pudge Rodriguez, which moved Humberto Quintero to a backup role.

More on this later.