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News » Houston Astros Notes, Quotes 2008-05-29

Houston Astros Notes, Quotes 2008-05-29

Houston Astros Notes, Quotes 2008-05-29
--RHP Jorge Sosa, who was recently designated for assignment by the New York Mets, has signed a minor league contract with the Astros. He'll be at Class AAA Round Rock, where he'll work with highly respected pitching coach Burt Hooton, who helped Tim Byrdak ultimately become an important part of the major league club after a brief stay in Round Rock.

"In my opinion, we got a big-league pitching coach in Class AAA in Burt Hooton," general manager Ed Wade said. "I think Burt really helped Tim Byrdak... We just thought if we had a chance to get an experienced arm like Jorge's, we thought we'd do that. No strings attached. We'll see what kind of progress he makes."

Sosa, 31, was 4-1 with a 7.06 ERA for the Mets. He hasn't pitched since May 12, when he gave up four runs over one inning of relief against the Washington Nationals.

--GM Ed Wade has remained in Houston to help prepare for next week's draft. He and amateur scouting director Bobby Heck have assembled the amateur scouts at Union Station, and they focused on East Coast supervisor Clarence Johns' region Wednesday. They'll discuss the Midwest Region Thursday and the West on Friday.

On Sunday, the Astros will have an invitation-only workout for some of the top players on their board and available to attend.

"It's exciting to get to a point where names are going up on the board and we have a chance to discuss them and put them in some semblance of draft order," Wade said via phone. "Obviously, (Thursday) is going to be a big day for us to advance the cause for us."

Heck has been scouting throughout the country, practically visiting a different city each day since February. He has seen all of the players the Astros are considering for the 10th overall pick several times.

--RHP Roy Oswalt (4-4, 5.61 ERA) will start on two extra days of rest in hopes of regaining the form that made him one of the top pitchers in baseball since his debut in 2001.

"Seven innings of zeros, that's what I'd like to see (from Oswalt)," manager Cecil Cooper said. "Two-hit ball for seven innings or something like that. We have not really seen one of those kinds of games from Roy this year; where the hits are low and the pitch count is really good and those kinds of things. It would be great to see something like that.

"He said he felt fine. He felt like it was time to get on a roll. I'm looking for one of those eight, nine, 10-game streaks where he really pitches well and dominates like the Roy of old."

Asked who said it was time for Oswalt to dominate, Cooper smiled.

"Well, I kind of suggested it, and he said, 'Yeah, you're right,'" Cooper said. "It's that time of year for Roy. Roy's really kind of a second-half pitcher, and we're starting to get close to that time. I think he's got all his struggles in the first two months, so now he's ready to go. The main thing is his health if he's fine. His health is good, and that's the key thing there. He's fine and physically fine. Now he just needs to go out and put some big zeros up for a stretch."

--LHP Wandy Rodriguez, back on the mound for the Astros on Wednesday night, struggled with his pitches. He didn't have a curveball or changeup. In his first start since he injured his left groin on April 19, Rodriguez gave up six hits and six runs (three earned) with four walks and one strikeout over 4 2/3 innings.

"I feel bad with my curveball," Rodriguez said. "I threw a lot of them, but I couldn't throw it for strikes today. I think in that situation, 'Hey I need to throw them for strikes.' But I can't. I didn't know what happened with my curveball."

On the positive side for Rodriguez, his left groin muscle didn't give him any problems.

"Excellent. I feel excellent. No soreness, nothing in my leg," he said.

--2B Kaz Matsui's error led to three unearned runs in the first inning as the Cardinals scored three unearned runs in the first inning to take a 3-0 lead.

"When I caught (the) ball, it was kind of low," Matsui said. "If I throw low, it's going to go lower. So I tried to lift it up a little bit, then the ball kind of flew over."

--3B Ty Wigginton's second home run of the season, a shot to left field in the second inning, accounted for the Astros' lone run Wednesday night against Adam Wainwright.

"He left that one up in the zone," Wigginton said. "But he didn't leave too many pitches up in the zone to anybody all night, as you can tell."

BY THE NUMBERS: 17 -- Consecutive outings closer Jose Valverde went without scoring a run. The streak was snapped Friday against the Phillies when Valverde was hit in the cheek by a Pedro Feliz line drive and managed to stay in the game and get the save, but not without giving up two runs.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I flubbed up. I thought (Miguel) Tejada was saying 'Bring it to second,' and the next thing I know I was thinking, 'Please hit (Pedro Feliz) in the back of the helmet at least.' Honestly, I thought we were going to extra innings or I was going to get booed like a banshee." -- Astros pitcher Doug Brocail, on Saturday after throwing the ball into center field in the ninth inning when no teammate was covering second base.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: May 29, 2008

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