H-Town Sports

Houston Sports Blog - Real sports cities have TWO Conference USA teams

Monday, July 10, 2006

At Least the Future Looks Bright

It's not easy being an Astros' fan at the moment, but there is room for optimism. Look forward to 2009, when Jason Hirsh gets his first taste of the bigs with a September callup and 2013 when Hunter Pence replaces "professional hitter" Orlando Palmeiro as an option off the bench. At yesterday's Futures Game at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Jason Hirsh was the starting pitcher for the victorious U.S. team, and he pitched a scoreless first inning. Hunter Pence was the starting RF for the U.S. team, and he went 1-3 with an RBI single and scored a run. The Futures Games of the Future will be blessed with Hirsh and Pence for years and years to come, if Tim Purpura has his way.

AAA: Brandon Backe made his third rehab start Sunday afternoon and pitched into the sixth inning, allowing seven hits, three walks and two runs. His mound opponent was rehabbing Ben Sheets, who allowed three runs in three innings for the Sounds. While Backe's pitching is slowly coming along, his hitting appears to be major-league ready, as he had a perfect afternoon at the plate with a pair of doubles and two RBI. Backe told the Statesman that he was "pain free" after yesterday's start. Cody Ransom had a home run and walked three times for the Express.

AA: What the Astros have not, the Hooks have aplenty. Corpus Christi rallied for a tying run in the ninth inning and then won the game in the tenth on a Marc Saccomanno home run. Chance Douglass pitched seven solid innings, scattering seven hits, striking out seven and allowing only a single run. Jorge Cortes added three hits, including a homer, for the victorious Hooks. The Hooks are now 13-4 in the second half of the season, and as Greg Rajan reports, all three of the Hooks' wins over Frisco this weekend came in their final at-bat.

Also included in Rajan's notebook was the fact that RHP Chad Reineke has earned a well-deserved promotion from Salem to Corpus Christi and will start Tuesday night in Springfield. This completes the shuffling that also included the promotion of Tip Fairchild from Lexington to Salem, as mentioned last week.

High-A: Salem knocked off Potomac 7-5 Sunday, as Lou Santangelo and Frankie Caraballo continued to provide the offensive firepower. Ronnie Martinez pitched well over seven innings to rack up his third win of the season.

: Lexington blew an 8-0 first inning lead in a 12-9 loss to West Virginia. Josh Flores led the Legends' offensive attack with three hits and three runs scored, but the pitching failed to hold up its end of the bargain.

Short Season A: Tri-City cruised past Williamsport 6-1. David Qualben, the Astros' seventh round pick in 2006 out of Pace University, earned the win and now has a 0.50 ERA in four starts for the Valley Cats.

Rookie: Greeneville defeated Bluefield 9-4. Serge Severino earned his fifth win.


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