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News » Houston Astros Inside Pitch 2009-05-11

Houston Astros Inside Pitch 2009-05-11

Houston Astros Inside Pitch 2009-05-11
Slumping Lance Berkman, who admits he has lost confidence at the plate and is at a loss for answers, was scratched from the lineup with a sore left wrist Friday. He had initially been dropped from his regular third spot in the lineup to fifth for the start of a three-game series against the San Diego Padres, but the demotion in the lineup had nothing to do with the injury.

Berkman, who had been expected to bat fifth for the first time this season, had a sore left wrist when he awoke Friday. He missed the entire Padres series after injuring his wrist Thursday in the eighth inning when he checked his swing against the Cubs' Carlos Marmol during his fourth strikeout of the 0-for-5 night.

It's been a difficult year for Berkman mentally and, now, physically.

Berkman learned of Cecil Cooper's lineup change when he arrived at Minute Maid Park on Friday afternoon. Players of his stature are usually informed of such moves at least a night before, but Cooper says he didn't mean to light a fire under his slugger with the move or the lack of warning.

"I can't believe it took this long to be moved out of the three-hole," said Berkman, who was 0-for-5 with four strikeouts Thursday to drop his average to .184. "I've been awful. It's really the only logical thing. I'm sorry that I've forced Coop's hand to this point. Hopefully, this will work a little bit better for the team."

Hunter Pence was put in the three-hole, and Carlos Lee remained in the cleanup spot. Asked if he has lost some confidence, the five-time All-Star was candid.

"Absolutely," he said. "With hitting, a lot of it is confidence. When you're suffering through an inordinate amount of failure your confidence suffers and that's how it snowballs because then when you go out there and you swing through a pitch that you normally hit you're like, 'What in the world?' So it gives you not a very good feeling."

Berkman, 33, hopes this slump is like others he has overcome in the past, but he's not sure.

"I don't know, but I'd like to think that," he said. "But you know it's certainly a scary place to be when you don't have any answers and you don't see really any improvement in your performance. The only thing (is that) in 2007 it was similar because I felt pretty terrible all the way through May. That was the first.

"I'd have to go back and look, but I think I had 200 at-bats with one double and maybe like two or three homers, so I think I've been in some pretty dire straits from a baseball perspective before. But normally it doesn't last as long as this one has." ASTROS 12, PADRES 5: LF Carlos Lee and SS Miguel Tejada carried the Astros' offense, each driving in four runs and delivering one home run, to help RHP Roy Oswalt finally earn his first victory of the season.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: May 11, 2009

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