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News » Houston Astros Inside Pitch 2009-04-24

Houston Astros Inside Pitch 2009-04-24

Houston Astros Inside Pitch 2009-04-24
Astros closer Jose Valverde, who strained his right calf and suffered a right ankle bruise Tuesday night, made drastic improvement Thursday.

"I feel better today," he said Thursday. "I think I can pitch today, but I don't know. I have to play catch first."

Valverde said "a lot" when asked how much better he felt.

"If he can throw by the weekend I'll be very happy," manager Cecil Cooper said.

Cooper didn't intend to use Valverde on Thursday, and that strategy was never tested, as the Astros never had the lead.

DODGERS 2, ASTROS 0: Unable to mount any offense against RHP Chad Billingsley, the Astros wasted a strong outing from LHP Wandy Rodriguez. This one was more a case of Billingsley dominating with 7 1/3 scoreless innings than the Astros struggling.

"I have close to probably 20 at-bats off of him, and I have an idea of what he's got," 3B Geoff Blum said of Billingsley. "Tonight it was electric. It was crazy. I had actually gotten some good hitting counts and he was still throwing 90 mph, what looked like a slider. ... His depth is pretty impressive. He had us off-balance. He made pitches, and he had it all working for him."

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 24, 2009

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