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March 17, 2010
Optioned LHP Dustin Richardson to Pawtucket (Triple-A). [3/17]
Optioned RHPs Brett Sinkbeil and Jay Buente to New Orleans (Triple-A); optioned RHP Kris Harvey to Jacksonville (Double-A); released RHP Derrick Turnbow. [3/17]
This may be it for Turnbow, as he hurt his shoulder yesterday. He's already commented on waiting to see what the outcome is of his being evaluated by Dr. Andrews, but there's a good chance he won't pitch this year, and between the majors and the minors, he's thrown little more than 30 innings combined over the last two seasons. If, after rehab or surgery, he still has a fastball, I suppose he could stay on the Mike Hampton punctuated career path, but it just isn't looking all that likely. Whether or not he's another reliever burned out by Ned Yost's frenetic usage patterns is worth wondering about; Yost didn't do Eric Gagne any favors either, after all. On the other hand, in Yost's defense, guys like Brian Shouse and Luis Vizcaino held up pretty well, which goes towards reflecting the nature of the problem: not every pitcher can be or will be equally durable, and we don't have reliable data on who gets warmed up how often. To some extent, I'm reminded of something from Dan Okrent's classic, Nine Innings, when Rollie Fingers stressed that he knew his body well enough to expect that he'd only get warmed up when he was going to be used, that he'd always update his skipper on how his arm felt, and how he'd follow his warm-up routine—just six or seven hard pitches in the pen, then his eight warm-ups on the mound. Admittedly, those were simpler times, and Fingers was pitching multiple innings as a closer because that was the fashion, back before Dennis Eckersley's success with especially careful handling encouraged a new paradigm for relief ace usage patterns. As much as Fingers' situation may have been a product of Fingers' careful self-evaluation and a manager's trust, I wonder what might be avoided if that sort of communication was universal.
Outrighted 2B-S Jose Vallejo to Round Rock (Triple-A). [3/16]
Optioned RHPs Evan Englebrook and Jose Valdez, LHP Polin Trinidad, MI-R Wladimir Sutil, OF-R Yodany Ramirez, and OF-L Brian Bogusevich to Round Rock; optioned LHP Fernando Abad to Corpus Christi (Double-A); optioned RHPs Matt Nevarez and Henry Villar to Lancaster (High-A); released OF-L Alex Romero. [3/17]
No real surprises here, and with non-roster invites Jason Bourgeois and Cory Sullivan not making much noise in camp, it looks like Jason Michaels' bid to retain his role as the fourth outfielder is safe. In the meantime, I'm more curious to see if the injury to Lance Berkman creates a brief window of opportunity for the well-traveled Chris Shelton or not; I wouldn't be surprised at all if the Astros wind up snagging somebody from waivers in the weeks to come, since they're at 39 bodies on the 40-man, and those choices—Bourgeois, Sullivan, Shelton—are very obviously the sorts of talent you find on the wire in the first place, having all been there at one point or another.
Optioned RHP Travis Schlichting, LHP Brent Leach, and MI-R Ivan De Jesus Jr. to Albuquerque (Triple-A). [3/16]
There's no reason to be down on the De Jesus demotion. He's coming back from last season's almost entirely injury-erased year, so he needs the everyday play he's going to get with the Isotopes to reposition himself as a prospect in the club's near-term plans. Second, ith Blake DeWitt getting every opportunity to win the second-base job, the keystone's probably going to be manned by another prospect a rung ahead of him in terms of taking his turn. That's not good news for Ronnie Belliard, of course, especially since the club has Jamey Carroll locked in for one reserve role, and NRI Nick Green in camp bidding for another. Add in the likelihood that either Garret Anderson or Doug Mientkiewicz is going to be added to the 40-man by the end of camp, and the 40-man's full-up terms of a body count... well, something's going to have to give.