Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Astros made an interesting move yesterday, calling up catcher J.R. House yesterday and sending Eric Munson down. House has been tearing up minor-league pitching all year and was an excellent prospect for the Pirates a few years ago before injuries hit him hard. Munson doesn't have to accept the minor-league assignment, but it looks like he probably will:

Munson, who hit .204 (28-for-137) with five homers and 19 RBIs this season, expressed his interest in staying with the organization, too.

"[I'd like to stay with the Astros] unless something else comes up that seems like a better opportunity, but I can't imagine a better opportunity," Munson said. "They gave me a chance to catch again, which I love to do. I'm thankful that they did that. I like it here, so I really don't see any reason to go anywhere else."

Some more info on House:

The Astros' desperate need for offense prompted this roster move. House split the season between Double-A Corpus Christi and Triple-A Round Rock, and since his promotion to the Express at the end of the July, he's hit .438 (36-for-82) with three homers, 12 doubles and 26 RBIs over 22 games.

Garner intends to use House as a catcher and pinch-hitter.

"If I can find another way to get him in the lineup, let him swing the bat," Garner said. "We're looking for offense, and he's swinging the bat well."

I think Garner is exactly right about finding a way to get House into the lineup. But every time I agree with him, he says something like this:

"Even with Wandy's loss yesterday, he's still 9-7," Garner said. "He's won 19 games over two years."

He also has a 5.45 ERA, 1.52 WHIP, and an unimpressive 109 / 152 walk to strikeout ratio. But he's won 19 games, so he must be good, just like Jeriome Robertson, right?

I also saw this little tidbit:

Fernando Nieve, who is viewed as a potential future closer...

I'm kinda bummed about this, actually - all their struggles this year aside, Lidge, Wheeler, and Qualls are still decent relievers. I don't think we need another righty closer in Nieve. He's actually been excellent this year for a rookie, especially in the 2nd half (0.71 ERA in 12.2 IP). I'd like to see him be the 4th or 5th starter next year, not a "future closer".

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