5-6-4

The infield.

One of the few competitions in Spring Training was for the fifth infielder position.  Manager Cecil Cooper decided that he wanted a backup shortstop who could play other positions, so that he could give Miguel Tejada more rest.

That decision – instead of getting a second baseman who could handle other positions, thereby allowing the Astros to plug someone in when Kazuo Matsui inevitably went down to injury – led to a severe mishandling of David Newhan.  Newhan, a second baseman by trade, was never really given a chance to fail, despite being better than most of the other candidates.

Jason Smith had a torrid Spring and earned the spot.  He is now 0-for-2009, and is exhibiting his massively-limited range at second base.  Why?  Because, surprise of surprises, Kazuo Matsui went down with a bad back.  Jeff Keppinger, who is slated to fill in all over the infield, is also out with back woes.

Though Drew Sutton might not have been ready to come up anyway, he is certainly not an option now that he has been named as the PTBN in the Keppinger deal.  There are no other legitimate second-base options in the system.

That leaves Smith, struggling.  Exactly as everyone predicted.

Oh, and Tejada?  No days off yet.

Gee, who would have predicted any of that?  Oh, right.  Everyone.  Well, everyone but Cecil Cooper.

And for all of this horrible mishandling of such a basic position battle, it was announced today that Cooper would be retained through the 2010 season.  Perfect.

What Happened Was…

Houston Astros (MLB) – We all know Wandy Rodriguez can pitch at Minute Maid Park.  He had his curveball working today, and allowed just two hits, striking out 10 (including five consecutive) in 7.0 innings and earning his first win of the season.  Carlos Lee was 3-for-3 with an RBI, 2 runs, and a walk.

Round Rock Express (AAA) – The Express tried their hardest to lose, giving up three runs in the bottom of the eighth, but luckily they’d just scored three in the top of the eighth, as well, and beat the Iowa Cubs (CHC) 7-5.  2 home runs from Reggie Abercrombie and another from Mark Saccomanno paced the offense.  Abercrombie went 2-for-3 with 4 RBI, and Saccomanno went 2-for-4 with 3 RBI.  Bud Norris made it 5.1 innings, giving up 2 runs on 3 hits and 4 walks to go with his 6 strikeouts.  Chad Paronto earned his second save, giving up just one hit and striking out two in as many innings.

Corpus Christi Hooks (AA) – The Hooks took a 5-3 lead into the ninth inning, and ended up losing to the Tulsa Drillers (COL) 6-5.  Douglas Arguello pitched well, going 5.2 innings with 7 strikeouts, allowing 3 runs on as many hits, along with 2 walks.  Paul Estrada made it just 0.2 innings before giving up 3 runs to lose the game.  SS Wladimir Sutil had a career night, going 2-for-2 with 2 walks, stole 3 bases, and scored 2 runs.

DisneyLand 044.jpgLancaster Jethawks (A+) – The Jethawks allowed 3 runs in the fifth inning, falling to the High Desert Mavericks (SEA), 4-2.  David “The Other David Duncan” Duncan continued to struggle on the mound, with 4.2 IP and 3 ER, raising his ERA on the season to 14.85.  Offseason acquisition Chia-Jen Lo threw 1.1 perfect innings in relief, striking out three.  The offense sputtered; Jason Castro went 1-for-4 and Koby Clemens went 0-for-1 off the bench.  Jack Shuck was the only Jethawk with multiple hits, going 2-for-4 and stealing a base.  Phillipe Aumont, who I got on Wednesday throwing a bullpen, threw a perfect 1.1 innings in relief.

Lexington Legends (A) – The Legends continued to own the West Virginia Power (PIT), 4-0.  Starter Robert Bono didn’t blow anyone away, but allowed just 5 hits and no walks through 6.0 innings to get the win.  He’s now thrown 11.0 shutout innings and stands at 2-0.  Jack Tilghman pitched the final three innings to earn the save, striking out 4 innings and allowing three hits and no walks.  1B Kody Hinze went 1-for-2 with a home run and a walk.  OF Jay Austin finally had a good night, as well, going 2-for-3 at the plate with a walk, a run, and an RBI.  He also stole his first base of the season, but also got caught on an attempt. 

2 Comments

Perhaps the Astros could pick up Joe Girardi – the way things are going I suspect he could be looking for a job soon.

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

I wish we would. I’d love to have Girardi aboard. But no. No, we’re stuck with Cecil Cooper at least through 2010 now.

http://houston.mlblogs.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: