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News » Houston Astros Roster Report 2009-03-28


Houston Astros Roster Report 2009-03-28


Houston Astros Roster Report 2009-03-28
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.

ROTATION:

1. RHP Roy Oswalt

2. LHP Wandy Rodriguez

3. LHP Mike Hampton

4. RHP Brian Moehler

5. RHP Russ Ortiz

ROTATION ANALYSIS: The Astros have a rotation with a legitimate ace and four No. 4 starters. They're hoping Hampton and Ortiz can stay healthy. The rotation could be good if it avoids injuries or bad if it loses starters because there isn't any depth in the minors.

Manager Cecil Cooper has said he'll be happy if he can get at least six innings from Hampton. Moehler isn't brilliant, but he is a serviceable pro who gives the Astros quality starts. Rodriguez appears close to stardom. He has the tools, but he must prove he can make the transition.

BULLPEN:

RHP Jose Valverde (closer)

RHP LaTroy Hawkins

RHP Doug Brocail

LHP Wesley Wright

LHP Tim Byrdak

RHP Chris Sampson

RHP Geoff Geary

BULLPEN ANALYSIS: Valverde has shown that he is one of the best closers in all of baseball. If the Astros have a lead in the ninth, they're extremely confident about winning. Hawkins revitalized his career last year when he was traded to the Astros after being designated for assignment by the Yankees.

Because the rotation doesn't have many guys who can last seven innings, the Astros will depend on their relievers more than most teams, which is why they'll carry seven. Sampson has really bounced back well from right elbow surgery.

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

LINEUP ANALYSIS: Manager Cecil Cooper has indicated that he likes to see Rodriguez's professional at-bats in the second spot, but he maintains that he wants Bourn there. If Bourn falters, expect Rodriguez to move to the second spot while Bourn moves down to eighth.

With Berkman and Lee, the Astros have two of the best run-producers in baseball. If Matsui and Bourn can get on base, Lee and Berkman will be able to drive them in.

RESERVES:

C Humberto Quintero

INF Jason Smith or INF Edwin Maysonet

INF Chris Johnson

OF/1B Darin Erstad

OF Jason Michaels

RESERVES ANALYSIS: Erstad and Michaels give the Astros two solid veterans who know their roles. Johnson is the Astros' top position player in the system, and he'll win the backup third base job by default unless the club acquires someone in the days before the season opener.

Quintero had hoped to be the starter this season, but now he must sit and learn, as he did last year.

ROOKIE WATCH: RHP Bud Norris was the last true prospect the Astros sent down when he was reassigned to Class AAA Round Rock on March 26. Expect him to be in the bullpen soon.

OF Brian Bogusevic was still trying to climb up through the system as a left-handed pitcher last year, but the Astros' first-round pick in 2005 has blossomed since he was moved back to the outfield, where he played at Tulane, too. If Michael Bourn falters, Bogusevic might be ready to step right in.

MEDICAL WATCH:

RHP Brandon Backe (strained left side muscle) was hurt March 8, and he will open the season on the disabled list.

RHP Chad Paronto (sore right shoulder) was day-to-day in late March.

INF Aaron Boone (open-heart surgery on March 26) was uncertain whether he'll resume his career.


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: March 28, 2009

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