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News » Houston Astros Notes, Quotes 2009-05-09

Houston Astros Notes, Quotes 2009-05-09

Houston Astros Notes, Quotes 2009-05-09
--Managers usually inform star players the day before if they will have a day off or move from a spot in the lineup where they've been for a long time. But Cecil Cooper didn't have a chance to tell Lance Berkman, who ultimately was scratched, that he was penciled in to bat fifth for the first time this season.

"I have not spoken with anybody," Cooper said. "Normally that's what I do. I talk to guys before I change the lineup and move them around, but today I just decided not to do it. I'm just going to post it and play."

Cooper denied using the gesture to fire up the slumping Berkman.

"I don't think I'm trying to jolt anybody," Cooper said. "It wasn't my thinking, no. I just looked at it and said, 'well, who's probably my three guys that I can put at the top that are probably swinging it the best and I take into consideration who those guys are and who I can maybe move around a little bit. And it came down to that kind of scenario with the lineup that we have."

--Although Felipe Paulino was 0-2 with a 2.55 ERA over three starts this season and 1-0 in relief, there's no denying he has struggled out of the bullpen. Over his last two relief appearances he has given up six runs in one inning of work.

Conversely, he gave up only one earned run through 5 2/3 innings in his last start.

Cecil Cooper isn't ruling out a return to the rotation soon for Paulino.

"Could, could be," Cooper said.

--RHP Felipe Paulino and Russ Ortiz might pitch out of the bullpen this weekend.

"No decision has been made either way," Cecil Cooper said. "As it stands right now we have an off-day Monday. Maybe we'll use those guys in relief here in a couple days or something if things go haywire.

"So we're keeping all our options open. The only thing I will say is what I said last night; Paulino pitched good as a starter and he hasn't fared as well as a relief pitcher. That's the only thing I will say."

--To show solidarity with the Houston Rockets, Hunter Pence and Geoff Blum both had what Pence termed "Rally Hawks" similar to the Mohawk-style Fro-Hawk Ron Artest has on his head.

"Me and Blum are the leaders," Pence said. "Hopefully we can get some more people on the 'Stros to support the Rockets and more people in Houston to get us fired up and get us playing some better ball and have some fun while we're doing it.

--RHP Russ Ortiz, who suffered the loss after giving up three runs on six hits with three walks over 2 1/3 innings, was surprised when manager Cecil Cooper yanked him Thursday.

"I was thinking, 'Why are they coming to get me?'" Ortiz said.

Cooper insists his bullpen isn't worn out enough to just let a starter suffer through an outing.

"When do you just sacrifice the game and let them just go?" Cooper said. "I don't think you just leave a guy out there to die like that. That's not the way I do things. I thought we had a chance to hold the game there, and we actually did. We did a great job."

BY THE NUMBERS: 9 -- Assists for Astros outfielders, tops in the major leagues through May 3. Houston had four from LF Carlos Lee, three from RF Hunter Pence and two from Bourn.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "There's no formula and there's nothing you can do. All you can do is show up and work on the things that you feel like you're doing wrong and watch video, take extra batting practice. Then you show up and you just try to battle and do something positive every day to try to help the team win." -- 1B Lance Berkman, on his attempts to shake a slump.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: May 9, 2009

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