Saturday, March 26, 2011

Barmes down, now what?

Alyson Footer and Zach Levine are reporting that Manzella has been brought back to Major League camp for the rest of Spring Training, where he'll duke it out with Sanchez, Navarro, and Downs for SS1.

Barmes out 4-6 weeks

Yesterday, the Yankees - still smoldering with anger over Chien-Ming Wang's foot injury at Minute Maid Park - exacted revenge by hitting Clint Barmes in the hand yesterday. McTaggart is reporting that Barmes' hand is broken, and he'll be out 4-6 weeks.

Good thing the Astros have a literal ton of middle infielders. Maybe Sanchez gets plugged in here. Maybe they bring up Manzella, and Downs can play some SS, as well.

Interview with Ryan Aber

We take a break from our regularly scheduled freak-out over Drayton to talk to The Oklahoman's Ryan Aber on the local reaction to the Astros/Rangers Triple-A Switchem.

AC: Pretty much as soon as Nolan Ryan joined the Rangers, we Astros fans felt it was inevitable that Round Rock would become a part of the Rangers' system. What was the feeling in Oklahoma City this season regarding Ryan's ownership bid in Arlington?

RA: I think people here view Ryan's ownership as a double-edged sword. Rangers fans, and there are plenty here, knew that having Nolan Ryan involved in the ownership group would be a good thing for Texas. But it was also very apparent that with Ryan's ownership would come an end to the relationship between the Rangers and Oklahoma City.

AC: Mandalay Baseball owns a number of minor-league teams, including the Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees -and those Scranton people aren't so happy with Mandalay's running SWB, particularly with attendance. What kind of changes do you think Mandalay will bring to Oklahoma City, and is that even a concern for fans?

RA: It's definitely a concern. They've already made some big-splash changes. Nobody would say that their addition of a video board in left field is a bad thing. Also, the changes they've made in ticket packaging has been very positively received. They've also made the decision to tarp over the upper deck on the right-field line and changed the name of the ballpark when the corporate sponsor decided to go another direction. The upper-deck tarping won't be a big factor for most games. But for games like opening day, Fourth of July and others, those are valuable seats that aren't going to be filled. Through three corporate sponsor names (SBC, Southwestern Bell and AT&T), the base name for the ballpark has been Bricktown Ballpark. It was the perfect name for the park that was the cornerstone of the MAPS program that led to downtown Oklahoma City and the Bricktown rennaissance in the '90s. The stadium now, pending a corporate sponsor, is RedHawks Field. I think having non-local ownership certainly plays a part in not understanding the history of that name.

AC: Reading through some of the comments in the Oklahoman's articles about the Rangers and Astros basically swapping affiliates, it's pretty obvious that OKC baseball fans aren't so happy. What has been your experience in interacting with fans and management about the new partnership with the Astros?

RA: I think the fans here are cautious about the new affiliation. They see the success the Rangers had here over the last decade or so and the struggles the Astros have had lately and are concerned. Plus, the Rangers have a pretty healthy fanbase here since it's the closest MLB team and they're on TV almost every night. The Astros are on TV regularly here too but aren't the same draw as the Rangers. This is a market where winning is important. There will be people who come out just for the minor-league experience, like anywhere, but winning is a bigger factor here than in most places, I'd think. Win and the concerns about the Astros-RedHawks partnership goes away.

AC: The common perception about the Astros' farm system is that they basically field a team of invalids and Make-A-Wish Foundation recipients whose dream it is to play Triple-A baseball. But since we (and our readers -all six of them) are pretty hardcore followers of the minor leagues, we know that's not the case -not that there's anything wrong with that. What is the Fan on the Street's opinion of the Astros' farm team?

RA: I think people are starting to learn about Jordan Lyles and are excited to see him here, even if it might be brief. The Astros lack of draft success and big-time prospects has been noticed but I think people here understand that things are getting better in the Astros system. How quickly that shows up here, though, is an open question.

AC: What are some of the storylines you find intriguing as you now cover the New OKC RedHawks?

RA: A lot of the things I've already mentioned: Jordan Lyles' start here, the ownership change and just the unknown of the Astros-RedHawks partnership. The Rangers partnership with Oklahoma City was a productive one but having another team, especially one that has had the connection with the Astros/Colt .45s before, is exciting. I'm looking forward to getting to know all of the new players here and telling their stories, both on and off the field, this season.

AC: How is it even possible that people think this affiliation switch means that the Astros and Rangers completed a 50-man trade?

RA: People don't pay attention. Or don't think. Or both. But that's why we try to explain things.

Big thanks to Ryan for taking the time to answer these, and we'll check back in with him throughout the season.

The Astros still won't give Wesley Wright a role

Wesley Wright is off to OKC, reportedly to refine his new kinda-sorta sidearm delivery out of the bullpen. So that means he has a role now, right? Not so much.

I'm not going to close the door on him being a starter. But when you make a change like this, the guy's getting an opportunity to really be pretty effective with the movement you're getting on the ball and throw the breaking ball from that angle as well."

Mills further indicated that he would like him to be in the bullpen, but it's up to The Developers. Still more uncertainty for Wright heading into the season...

Barmes hit by pitch, jacks up hand

Clint Barmes will have an x-ray this morning, after getting plunked on the hand.

"It's sore, but very promising at this point. It's one of those things where I tried to get out of the way and backing off a little late, I didn't really have time to turn in on it, and that's what I'd normally do on a fastball in like that. Just by backing up, it got my hand."

It hit him in the exact same spot where he was hit in 2002.

Justice on Mr. New Owner

Justice posted an article discussing what a new owner can mean for the Astros, and what the Astros can mean to a new owner.

Baseball fans are relentlessly optimistic. Every season, no matter how hopeless, comes with at least a sprinkle of excitement. The Astros have lost that excitement these last few years as the organization has spiraled downward. It will return the first day the new guy takes over, and there's no reason it shouldn't stay."

Friday, March 25, 2011

Crane-buying-the-Astros starting to get more traction

KPRC has their own story on the potential bid by Jim Crane:

Another source who knows Crane on the private, business side and has knowledge of the situation also re-stated the interest Crane has in buying the Astros despite backing out of a deal in 2008.

"He would be the best for our city," according to the source. " We need a local ownership group to come in and think about it. Who would be better than Jim Crane at this point?"

According to the article, it would take $750m to get Drayton's attention.

Then this note, with Drayton providing the quote:
Told that reports indicated a deal was done according to baseball officials, McLane told KPRC, "They are ahead of themselves."

Drayton "close" to selling team

And now the Chronicle steps up with a shiny new article saying Drayton is "close" to selling the team to Jim Crane (according to a High Ranking Baseball Official).

Then this:
Another former major league official, who'd hoped to put together his own group, characterized the transaction another way.

“I'm hearing it's a done deal,“ he said.

One notable, uh, note said that the final amount "definitely would exceed" what the Rangers went for when they were on baseball's meat market.

UPDATE: The linked article has been updated with a quote from Drayton:
“There's not a deal. We're not farther along with Jim than with anyone else. Whoever the person ends up being has to be qualified by MLB. No price has been agreed on, and we've got to make sure they've got the money.

Good Lord, Jordan Comadena has a nasty blister

And you can see it!

As of now, the race to buy the Astros is a three horse race

Fox 26's Mark Berman has an update on the sale of the Astros, saying that Jim Crane wants it so bad he can taste it.

"It's no surprise that Jim Crane is trying to put together a deal to buy the Astros. He is one of three people who are trying real hard to buy the team and there are another four or five waiting in the wings."

"Realtor" Steve Greenberg:
"We view Jim Crane as a very creditable, potential buyer. He has all the credentials to be a terrific owner. He's local. He's been a successful businessman with deep roots in the community."

No word on the other buyers (which Berman lists as possibly numbering seven or eight)

Happ is equal parts intelligence, maturity, piss, vinegar

You could make your own Happtail! In an article on FSH, there's a lengthy profile of J.A. Happ. What's he made of, Arnsberg?

"He's a student of the game; very mature, but he has some piss and vinegar in him, too. And that's good. Great work habits, relentless in the weight room and strong as a bull. There's a real upside to him yet, and you usually don't say that about someone at that age because they're usually coming into their prime already. But he still has a ways to go before you'll see his peak."

Can Bud Norris put it together?

Zach Levine has a good post over at the Chronicle on whether or not Bud Norris can be the pitcher he is against the Cardinals against the other 14 teams in the NL.

How you feelin', Bud?
“Last year, I felt terrible at this time; unfortunately, the stomach flu really got me out of whack last year. I feel really good right now. My arm’s strong; all the pitches are there right now. I’m still working on some nice and easy things here, but I feel really strong.”

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Robert Bono released by Marlins

Robert Bono, whom the Astros sent to the Marlins in the Lindstrom trade, was released by Florida this week.

After a 2009 season where Bono went 10-8 with a 3.20 ERA/1.24 WHIP (66K:19BB) for Lexington, he struggled in 2010, going 5-13 in High-A (with one appearance in Double-A), posting a 5.66 ERA/1.66 WHIP.

Just when you thought this Spring couldn't get much more strange

The Astros go and re-sign Fernando Nieve, after being released by the Pirates.

He'll join on a minor-league deal.

So to recap: The Astros have signed a pitcher they put on waivers, was let go by the Mets, and Pirates, and re-signed to a minor-league deal. Emphasis: The Pirates thought, "Eh. No thanks."

Many plethoras of reactions to today's moves

First, about the Cancel re-assignment to Big Boy Camp, from Zach Levine:
Robinson Cancel was brought up to major league camp but will return to Class AAA after last exhibition game.

From McTaggart, on Bourgeois' and Shuck's continued presence:
The two have emerged as the only candidates to win the final outfield spot after Brian Bogusevic was optioned to Minor League camp on Thursday. Bourgeois has certainly had a strong camp, entering Thursday hitting .314 with four stolen bases. The fact Bogusevic swings the bat from the left side was a bonus for him, but Bourgeois' good spring couldn't be ignored.

On Manzella's departure:
His departure leaves four infielders -- Matt Downs, Anderson Hernandez, Angel Sanchez and Oswaldo Navarro -- battling for two spots. Downs might have the upper hand because he can play anywhere and has swung the bat well, but Hernandez can also be moved all over the diamond and is a switch-hitter. Sanchez is out of options and performed well last year with the Astros.

Levine astutely noted that those two spots are actually one spot, because once Keppinger returns, somebody is visiting Oklahoma City. Sanchez would have to clear waivers in order to even get to Oklahoma City (which may happen), but it's still a risk - even if the Astros do have a ton of middle infield possibilities. We still give the nod to Downs.

Who do you want as OF5?

It is the opinion of Astros County that it should be Bourgeois, and Shuck can continue to develop at Triple-A.

One more re-assignment

Robinson Cancel has also been reassigned to major-league camp (captip to Andrew for correctly interpreting what I assumed to be a typo).

Not a surprise, but it does mean that your three catchers currently in Big Boy Camp are Towles, Quintero, and Corporan. Towles will get the start today against the Rays.

More cuts

Tommy Manzella, Brian Bogusevic, Brian Esposito, and Wesley Wright have been optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Who is this bad for? Well, them. But who is it good for? Matt Downs, and J.B. Shuck. Shuck is that guy who won't go away (not that it's a bad thing). Also, Jason Bourgeois, the other lefty-off-the-bench candidate. More reaction a little later.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Astros still want a catcher, yet are tapped out

According to Jayson Stark, the Astros still want a catche, but simply don't haw re jack.

• Teams that have spoken with the Astros report they'd like to add a veteran catcher, but have just about zero money to spend. And an official of one club reports they have "nothing going" on that front.

Clemens has a bruised knee

Not sure how we missed this, but Koby Clemens had to be helped off the field a couple of days ago, and has a bruised knee after clanking a foul off of it.

In completely unsurprising news...

...we find that Quintero and Towles may share catching duties to open the season.

"Both of them have performed really well, and there's no reason to think they wouldn't be able to handle the situation moving forward on into the start of the season. Corporan has also done a good job back there and has opened some eyes as well, which has been nice."

So it's not 100% settled, but there is a reason to think they wouldn't be able to handle the situation moving forward on into the start of the season. In 2010, Towles hit .308/.372/.513 in 39 Spring Training ABs. And then moving forward on into the season hit .191/.235/.319. I can't seem to find Spring Training stats in previous years, but there are plenty of reasons to think that Towles will struggle. To be clear, I hope he doesn't. But still.

What does the Astros valuation mean for the impending sale?

Short answer: Not a whole lot.

Longer answer: It doesn't matter what Forbes says the Astros are worth. It doesn't matter what price tag the Financial Experts place on the Astros. What matters is what one person/faceless conglomeration wants to pay to get into baseball. So Ken Williams thinks it's asinine to pay Albert Pujols $30m/year. All Albert needs is for one GM to think it's the greatest idea since putting a flagpole in center field.

Back in November it was rumored that Drayton was asking around $800 million for the franchise. So when Forbes said earlier today that the Astros were valued at $474m (a 4.6% increase over 2010), it likely made a lot of potential investors laugh even more at Drayton's asking price.

The Texas Rangers, according to Forbes, are worth $561 million - but sold for $590 million.

So if the investment group for the Rangers is willing to overpay (though if you're spending $561 million, what's another $29m?), who's to say that the future owner(s) won't do the same? That said, I find it quite hard to believe that anyone would be willing to pay $326m OVER Forbes' valuation.

The Astros operating income is put at $14.4m, or 18th in MLB, and the Astros rank 21st in television rankings (not counting the new network to come). Is this a team worth $800 million?

This reminds me of a buddy who has an old Corvette in pretty good/not great shape. His wife wanted him to get rid of it, so he put it in the driveway with a For Sale sign. When people called to ask about it, he said he was selling it for $70,000. Of course, he still has his car, but he's going through the motions. Kind of like the Astros. But all it takes is one Tom Hicks...

Justice questions Drayton's heart

Justice's new post has some scathing remarks for Run-DMc:

The Astros once were viewed as a really smart baseball operation. Now they're not even clowns. The Mets are clowns. The Dodgers are clowns. The Astros are so irrelevant no one even jokes about them...

...The good news is that Drayton and Pam have done such a terrible job running the franchise, that as attendance continues to spiral downward, the lines at the concession stands will be almost nonexistent. So eat, drink and watch a little hardball. At least the team in the other dugout might be pretty sporty.

Update: Astros worth

The Astros are MLB's 14th most-valuable team at $474m, according to Forbes.

This is up $21m from 2010's $453m. More reaction later.

Eat it, Bobo Newsom!

There's an editorial on SC Now praising...who else? Jordan Lyles:

Will he be the next phenom, commanding the attention that Washington’s Stephen Strasburg drew last season? That remains to be seen. What we do know is that no matter what - strikeout or walk, shutout or blow out - Jordan Lyles will be our “Boy of Summer.”

Move over Bobo, company’s coming.

Astros rank #26

Baseball America released their Farm System rankings today, and we see the Astros come in at #26. More to come, hopefully.

Forbes team-by-team evaluations come out today

So Forbes will release its annual MLB team financial evaluations today. Meaning that today is the day that you could stick a piece of coal up Drayton's rear-end, and by 4pm, that thing will be a diamond.

Here's the value of the Astros since 2003 (h/t Biz of Baseball):

2002 Value: $337m (11th)
2003 Value: $327m (11th)
2004 Value: $320m (9th)
2005 Value: $357m (11th)
2006 Value: $416m (10th)
2007 Value: $442m (11th)
2008 Value: $463m (12th)
2009 Value: $445m (12th)
2010 Value: $453m (11th)

Sweet article on J.D. Martinez

Zach Levine brings the noise on J.D. Martinez and his growth into a serious contender for a Major-League spot in 2013.

Part of that reason is his Book:

“You might ask somebody, ‘Hey, what’s he throwing?’ and it might look very easy to (that person) and the opposite for me. Everyone’s different, so I keep a book on how I saw him last time and what a good game plan would be the next time I face him.”

And this nugget, where we learn that Ed Wade is either a jerk, or the Greatest Motivator of All Time:
“When Ed called me, he pretty much said I didn’t have much of a chance to make it. But as a player, you’re always trying to make a name for yourself and prove people wrong. “That’s all I’m trying to do —have good at-bats and open people’s eyes.”

Bogusevic and Manzella are the best of friends

Nice article in the Orlando Sentinel about Bogusevic and Manzella, and how the former Tulane teammates have teamed up to lower the average age of the team by 27 years.

"When we got more young, fresher faces in, it was a lot more enthusiastic and definitely more free-spirited. Guys were joking around and were having fun. It was fun to come to the park every day, and I think our results on the field definitely showed that.”

Foltynewicz "once-in-a-lifetime"

Mike Foltynewicz' high school coach had some nice things to say about Astros pitcher Mike Foltymewicz.

“As a coach, Mike is a once-in-a-lifetime player. I don’t think I’ll ever get to coach a 19th overall pick player. However, Josh Jimenez was 12-1 last year as a sophomore. He was unbelievable last season, and I expect big things out of him.”

Well hell. Let's draft that guy, too.

Henry Villar and Fernando Abad are taking opposite escalators

McTaggart has an article on how Henry Villar seems to be doing really well this Spring. Abad? Not so much...

Abad's issue is his fastball, saith Mills:
"They're going to go back to the drawing board and will work from there, and there's no reason to think he won't come around and be fine."

Meanwhile, add Brandon Lyon to the list of Astros scratched due to bubbleguts. Mills:
""When we left [for Viera, Fla., and the game against the Nationals on Tuesday], we knew he was sick and he was still going to throw if he could, and he just couldn't make it. It's really been something, that sickness."

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cesar Carrillo to explore Oklahoma City

Brian McTaggart says that pitcher Cesar Carrillo has cleared waivers, and was optioned to Oklahoma City.

In 4IP (four appearances) this Spring, Carrillo allowed 4H/5R (4ER), 2K:4BB.

The former 1st Round pick ('05, San Diego) pitched in San Diego's Triple-A team last season, going 5-14, with a 5.60 ERA/1.48 WHIP, with 95K:57BB.

A guy from the Toledo Blade had a pretty miserable experience in Kissimmee

Ben Konop had an overall miserable time as the guest of the Houston Astros at their Spring Training facility, in which he wonders if Osceola County Stadium is located in 1982.

25-man roster picture gets a little more numerically clear

Ours and the Crawfish Boxes prediction came true with the news that Mills will take five outfielders and six infielders on the OD11 roster. That means 12 pitchers and 13 position players. Now just who those 25 guys will be...

Answering some roster spot questions

Over on Twitter, Citizen 77340 (that's his Twitter handle, we don't number our Citizens like it's some damn totalitarian regime) asked a few questions about the 25-Man roster, of which we have neglected to make mention/prediction. Let's take these in order:

Is Towles a lock?

You can generally make an educated guess at which way an organization is leaning by looking at the Spring ABs. Towles has 32 of 'em - more than any other catcher still in the mix, and is hitting .344/.382/.594. Carlos Corporan is 8x20 in his ABs, but the fact that Towles has had the most opportunities, and is doing well, is a decent indication that he'll be splitting time with Quintero. I'd pick Corporan as C3 (in Oklahoma City) with Esposito splitting time with Corporan there.

Manzella or Downs as IF5?

That's a tough one. Downs has shown more pop, and is a little more versatile than Manzella (can play 1B, 2B, or SS - if necessary). So if you're looking for that guy off the bench who could come in and give Wallace or Hall a rest, Downs has the edge if I'm making the roster.

Bogusevic or new pickup as OF5?

I think we're past the idea of picking somebody up from outside of the organization, particularly if it's to fill the 5th OF spot. Bogusevic has the edge over anybody else, and I think Shuck goes back to Oklahoma City to wait it out. There was an interesting post from Chip Bailey about how the Astros are going to have to make a decision as to whether or not Pence is worth another two years of arbitration, or what is shaping up to be a fairly big-time longer-term contract. If the Astros decide to trade Pence (and don't get me wrong, I like Pence), Shuck could be a cheaper alternative. Note I didn't say a necessarily better alternative, but one that would cost a team trying to keep payroll down a lot less money.

What's Ryan Rowland-Smith's role (paraphrased)?

Rowland-Smith is basically SP6. He'll come in for long relief, but serve a similar role that Figueroa did last year. I don't think he gets sent down to Oklahoma City, but if Figueroa struggles, or someone else gets hurt, I think they go to The Hyphen as an emergency starter - at least until the projected cut-off for Super Two status passes, and they can call up Lyles.

What's the pitching staff look like (paraphrased)?

The Crawfish Boxes handled the Bullpen scenario well yesterday, but we might as well give it a shot.

Your rotation is done: Myers, Wandy, Happ, Norris, Figueroa. This leaves seven spots open, and you can write in Brandon Lyon, Wilton Lopez, and because of the previous explanation, The Hyphen. That's four spots still available. I think you go ahead and write in Enerio Del Rosario because he has been lights out this Spring (6H/0ER, 9K:1BB in 10.1IP). Three left. Based on the Spring, Henry Villar could get another spot as well as Fulchino or Abad. Picking one of those two leaves one spot open, and my guess is that Aneury Rodriguez gets it over Lance Pendleton. Stephen Goff will be DEVASTATED if his old Kingwood buddy doesn't get the roster spot, and heads back to New York, but Aneury has had more IPs and better success than Pendleton to this point in the Spring. Mark Melancon is the wild card here, too.

So let's break down our predictions.

Position Players:
C: Towles, Quintero
IF: Wallace, Hall, Johnson, Barmes, Downs, Manzella (because Angel Sanchez can't seem to stay healthy)
OF: Lee, Bourn, Pence, Michaels, Bogusevic

SP: Myers, Wandy, Happ, Norris, Figueroa
RP: Lyon, Lopez, Rowland-Smith, Del Rosario, Villar, Fulchino/Melancon, Rodriguez

Fire away.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sanchez expected back Wednesday

Angel Sanchez' back has been an issue all Spring, but he's expected to be in the lineup against the Pirates on Wednesday.

Also, in the Astros' search for their OF5, you may have noticed that J.B. Shuck is still in Major-League camp, joining Brian Bogusevic and Jason Bourgeois as candidates for that OF5 spot.

"Hopefully, they know what my style of game is, and I just wanted to come in here and give the manager and coaches up here a chance to see it so they can see that I'm a hard worker and I just do what I have to do to get it done. Hopefully, I've been able to show that."

Surprise of the Day: FanGraphs has Astros last in Organizational Rankings

FanGraphs is posting their Organizational Rankings for 2011, and just as we suspected, we wouldn't have to wait long to come across the Astros.

Dave Cameron:
Things aren’t going very well down in Houston. In addition to having both the worst rated major league roster and the bleakest future outlook in terms of talent, the Astros also scored the lowest grade of any baseball operations department, and were in the bottom tier of teams in terms of financial resources. There isn’t just one glaring problem here – it’s a collection of wide-ranging issues that harm the team’s chances of winning now or any time in the foreseeable future.

Be sure to read the comments at the bottom.

There are your usual complaints about the financial situation, Carlos Lee, the farm system, and how much Ed Wade sucks. Typical.

Figueroa has been to the manager's office before

But it didn't turn out as well as this one.

"It's the first time I think I've been called in the office for a good thing. It was nice to get that reassurance to be the fifth starter, and I'm looking forward to it. I was excited about the opportunity coming into camp, and I had a good camp.

Lyles, on hearing the news:
"I knew it was coming, sort of. I'll just go down there to camp for a little bit, get ready for the season, have a couple of good months and see what happens."

McTaggart had this from Lyles:
"I knew being younger and the money side of the game... But Figgy pitched well enough to earn a spot and you can't hold that against him. I think I opened some eyes this spring. I know they haven't seen me before, but now they have. Whenever they need a guy to go out there on the mound for them during the season, maybe I'm first in line."

I bet the SC State will have something to say about this.

We also learn from Mills that Pendleton and Rodriguez - the Rule 5 Picks - are still in the running for bullpen positions, and given their Springs, we're giving the edge to Aneury - if only for the fear his first name can strike in the hearts of competitors.

Yep, Figueroa is SP5

Levine and McTaggart are confirming that Figueroa has been told he's SP5, and will start against Cincinnati on April 6.

The Constable, on Lyles and Super Two status

So The Constable dropped his reasoning for Lyles' being sent down to minor-league camp over at The Chronicle this morning.

Lyles out, Figueroa likely in as SP5

Big news out of Kissimmee this morning, as the Astros have sent Jordan Lyles to minor-league camp, meaning that Nelson Figueroa is your de facto SP5 to open 2011.

Six other Astros were re-assigned to minor-league camp:

Patrick Urckfitz
Fernando Rodriguez
Casey Fien
Drew Locke
T.J. Steele

And Sergio Escalona was optioned to Oklahoma City (after coming to the Astros in the Albert Cartwright trade with Philadelphia), he can't just be sent down.

Some interesting things to see here: no catchers were moved today. Meaning that not only are Quintero and Towles still in major-league camp, but so are Carlos Corporan and Brian Esposito.

Also in camp are Rule 5 picks Lance Pendleton and Aneury Rodriguez, though the Astros are probably going to let it come down to the wire before making a decision to add them to the 25-Man roster or send them back to the Yankees/Rays, respectively.

While You Were Drinking: March 21

Here's a recap of what you may have missed over the weekend because you were puking in the kiddie pool:

-Good Lord, Reid Ryan is happy not to be with the Astros anymore. ("“Our fans are really going to see the difference on the field: the amount of hard-throwing pitchers we will have, we really haven’t had a guy that can hit the ball out of the ballpark the last couple of years. We’ll have that, and just speed and some younger players coming through,"

-Something that's not news, is now news, as the Astros won't be attending Doug Davis' workout.

-With a captip to SBN Houston, Ken Rosenthal reports that the Astros are apparently still in the market for a lefty off the bench, and another catcher. Click the TCB link for some good reaction.

-In a McTaggart notebook, Mark Melancon is working on a cutter and has a good shot at the OD11 roster.

-Everyone went guano crazy over the return of St. Louis Cardinal Lance Berkman over the weekend.

-J.A. Happ feels good.

-Brett Myers gets the Opening Day loss start against Roy Halladay on April 1.

-Angel Sanchez' back concerns Mills (and may earn him a trip to Oklahoma City).

-Ryan Rowland-Smith is out of the running for SP5. Nelson Figueroa is your likely SP5 candidate.

-In Former Astros news, Hector Gimenez just may make the Dodgers' OD11 roster.

-J.R. Towles is hoping this is his year.