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News » Houston Astros Inside Pitch 2009-04-10


Houston Astros Inside Pitch 2009-04-10


Houston Astros Inside Pitch 2009-04-10
After a 19-game winless streak between their first and second Grapefruit League victories, the Astros improved dramatically and looked like a legit major league club by going on a seven-game winning streak. During their struggles, the Astros were hampered by a batting average that dipped to .207 and some sloppy defense, but they cleaned up their play in late March.

PLAYER NEWS:

--OF Hunter Pence, who was 2-for-4 with a home run Wednesday against the Cubs, has homered in his last two games. He has homered in consecutive games seven times in his career, the previous time being Aug. 7-8, 2008, at Cincinnati.

--3B Jeff Keppinger, who is 3-for-6 with a home run and two RBIs this season, collected hits in his first three at-bats as an Astro. His first was the walk-off, RBI single in the 10th inning Tuesday. He delivered his next two starting Wednesday's game.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Keppinger is the first Astro to debut with the club with hits in his first three at-bats since outfielder Chris James had four consecutive hits over three games from April 5-11, 1993.

--C Ivan Rodriguez has 2,608 career hits, tops all time among catchers.

Rodriguez was 2-for-4 Wednesday after being moved down to the No. 7 spot after having only one hit and five strikeouts in the No. 2 spot over the first two games.

--RHP Brandon Backe, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left intercostal muscle, hopes to throw a 50-pitch bullpen session in his second throwing session since getting injured in March.

But manager Cecil Cooper vows not to put a timetable on Backe.

"We're not even talking about when. ... We know Brandon. Brandon's pretty revved up sometimes," he said.

MEDICAL WATCH:

RHP Brandon Backe (strained left side muscle) went on the 15-day disabled list March 27. He threw off a mound April 8.

INF Aaron Boone (open-heart surgery on March 26) went on the 15-day disabled list March 27. He was uncertain whether he'd resume his career.

ROTATION:

1. RHP Roy Oswalt

2. LHP Wandy Rodriguez

3. RHP Brian Moehler

4. LHP Mike Hampton

5. RHP Russ Ortiz

BULLPEN:

RHP Jose Valverde (closer)

RHP LaTroy Hawkins

RHP Doug Brocail

LHP Wesley Wright

LHP Tim Byrdak

RHP Chris Sampson

RHP Geoff Geary

LINEUP:

1. 2B Kaz Matsui

2. CF Michael Bourn

3. 1B Lance Berkman

4. LF Carlos Lee

5. SS Miguel Tejada

6. RF Hunter Pence

7. C Ivan Rodriguez

8. 3B Geoff Blum

RESERVES:

C Humberto Quintero

INF Jeff Keppinger

INF Jason Smith

OF/1B Darin Erstad

OF Jason Michaels


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 10, 2009

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