Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Wheel of Transactions

The Astros called up Fernando Nieve to pitch in the bullpen last night after Geoff Geary was placed on the 15-day DL. The hole on Round Rock's roster was filled when the Astros called up 24-year old Chance Douglass from Corpus Christi. Douglass was anything but impressive in May with a 7.28 ERA and a WHIP of 1.82.

Of course, this caused a hole in the Hooks' rotation, so in Monday night's game, Corpus threw four relievers for two innings apiece instead of having a starter. No signs yet that anyone is getting called up from Salem to fill the spot in Double-A, but it could be a sign that Tip Fairchild is ready to come off the disabled list. (In fact, the game story on cchooks.com last night actually had some helpful information. Fairchild is scheduled to make his season debut Tuesday night). Fairchild is a former 12th-round pick in the 2005 draft out of Southern Maine, that hotbed of baseball prospects. In 2006, Fairchild led all Astros farmhands in strikeouts with 142, but missed most of last season with an arm injury.

In other call-up news, David Qualben was sent down to Lexington from Salem after posting a 5.14 ERA in May. Qualben threw in Monday's game for the Legends, pitching 2 2/3 innings of hitless, scoreless ball while striking out one and walking one. Wladimir Sutil was called up a couple weeks ago from Salem to Corpus and has gone 13 of 29 with two doubles and six runs scored while not striking out at all. Sutil has gotten sporadic playing time in relief of Tommy Manzella at short, Drew Sutton at second base and all around the outfield.

I'm actually surprised that Ed Wade is pulling the trigger on so many aggressive minor league moves. Maybe I just got used to the pondorously slow pace of the Tim Purpura Regime, but it's refreshing to see the organization push players for better (Nick Moresi) or worse (Brian Bogusevic).

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