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News » Houston Astros Roster Report 2009-04-18


Houston Astros Roster Report 2009-04-18


Houston Astros Roster Report 2009-04-18
As RHP Roy Oswalt goes, so go the Astros, and he struggled early in the season. The ace lost his first two starts and gave up nine runs over 13 innings, losing to the rival Cubs on opening day and then to the rival Cardinals. If the Astros are to have success, they need their ace to step up for an already very weak rotation.

PLAYER NEWS:

--IF Jason Smith started at second base Friday for his first start of the season, going 0-for-4 while also hitting into a game-ending double play to second with the potential tying run at second.

--OF Darin Erstad, who also serves as the backup first baseman, told Cecil Cooper he'd be willing to play the infield if needed. He has come in from the outfield to play the infield in desperate situations when managers have ordered five infielders.

"I wouldn't feel comfortable at any of them, but I'd do it," Erstad said when asked what infield position he'd feel comfortable playing other than first. "I've just played shortstop in five-man infields, but nothing crazy."

--2B Kaz Matsui took batting practice Friday for the first time since he was forced out of the lineup with a stiff back Tuesday.

"It went OK," Matsui said. "I want to run a little bit, but there was no discomfort."

Asked if he might be ready to return to the lineup Saturday, Matsui said, "Maybe, yeah."

--Considering Cecil Cooper said he didn't expect Kaz Matsui to be ready until Saturday at the earliest and that Cooper said Matsui was ahead of Jeff Keppinger, it seems as though Keppinger might not be ready before Sunday.

"I'd say Kaz is closer to playing," Cooper said.

--RHP Jose Valverde, who suffered the loss after Ramon Hernandez welcomed him back with a two-run home run in the ninth for the come-from-behind 2-1 victory over the Astros, admitted he still had discomfort in his mid-back strain.

"Yeah, I have to pitch," Valverde said. "It doesn't matter what because this is my team and this is my game. What happened today is over. I have to focus for tomorrow and do my job."

When pressed, he repeated what he had admitted earlier in the afternoon.

"I have the same problem with my back," Valverde said. "You know what I mean? Not too much, a little bit. It's not bothering me too much."

--RHP Roy Oswalt, who was taken out of the decision and thus unable to build on his 23-1 career record against Cincinnati, held the Reds to five hits and three walks while striking out four over six scoreless innings in his best start of the season.

"I thought they made me throw the ball over the plate," Oswalt said. "We had some quick innings. A lot of times it felt like I put my hat down and had to run back out. It's a battle, you know? I threw some quality pitches when I needed it."

MEDICAL WATCH:

INF Jeff Keppinger (sore back) left the April 16 game. He sat out on April 17.

2B Kaz Matsui (stiff back) did not play April 15-17.

RHP Jose Valverde (sore back) was unavailable April 16.

RHP Brian Moehler (strained right knee) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 14.

RHP Doug Brocail (strained right rotator cuff) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 11.

RHP Brandon Backe (strained left side muscle) went on the 15-day disabled list March 27. He threw off a mound April 8 and April 11.

INF Aaron Boone (open-heart surgery on March 26) went on the 15-day disabled list March 27, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on April 10. He was uncertain whether he'd resume his career.

ROTATION:

RHP Roy Oswalt

LHP Wandy Rodriguez

LHP Mike Hampton

RHP Russ Ortiz

BULLPEN:

RHP Jose Valverde (closer)

RHP LaTroy Hawkins

LHP Wesley Wright

RHP Geoff Geary

LHP Tim Byrdak

RHP Chris Sampson

RHP Jeff Fulchino

RHP Alberto Arias

CATCHERS:

Ivan Rodriguez

Humberto Quintero

INFIELDERS:

1B Lance Berkman

2B Kaz Matsui

SS Miguel Tejada

3B Geoff Blum

INF Jeff Keppinger

INF Jason Smith

OUTFIELDERS:

LF Carlos Lee

CF Michael Bourn

RF Hunter Pence

OF/1B Darin Erstad

OF Jason Michaels


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 18, 2009

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