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Notes: Astros remember Caminiti
10/16/2004 12:37 AM ET
HOUSTON -- Several of Ken Caminiti's friends and former teammates attended a memorial service in Houston on Friday to honor the three-time All-Star, who passed away last Sunday at the age of 41.

Jeff Bagwell, Brad Ausmus, Craig Biggio and manager Phil Garner were among the throngs of mourners who attended a service at Second Baptist Church to pay their respects to Caminiti, who played for the Astros from 1987-94 and again in 1999 and 2000. Biggio, who came up to the big leagues one year after Caminiti in 1988, presented the eulogy.

"You never want to go to a service in memory of a friend who has passed away," Ausmus said. "Just like at any memorial service, you go back and forth between tears and laughter. But I think people felt like they honored a special person. He touched a lot of people. I'm certainly one of them."

The Astros were in Atlanta when they found out about Caminiti's death, and then they headed straight to St. Louis to begin the NLCS. The Caminiti family scheduled the memorial service for Friday so Astros personnel would be able to attend.


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Sadly, this is the second time in just over two years that a former Astro has passed away. In June of 2002, Darryl Kile died at the age of 33.

"It's a tough thing to go through," Bagwell said. "I'm tired of having to bury some of my friends at such an early age.

"I'm going to miss Cammy tremendously. He was a big part of my career here in Houston. He took me under his wing when I got here.

"I have great memories of Cammy. I would hope that anyone who listens to this would remember the good things about Cammy. Somebody made a good point today. If you say negative things about Cammy, you obviously don't know him at all."

Down, not out: The Astros worked out at Minute Maid Park on Friday afternoon with an optimistic attitude about what could happen in the next two days.

Although the Astros are down, 2-0, heading into Game 3 of the NLCS, they like their odds, knowing that aces Roger Clemens and Roy Oswalt are pitching against the Cardinals' No. 3 and 4 starters, Jeff Suppan and Jason Marquis.

"We've been in this situation before," Lance Berkman said. "It feels normal. We know we have to win the next game and we probably need to win both of them. They're two must-win games."

Ausmus indicated the team's spirits were up during the flight back from St. Louis late Thursday night, after the Astros' 6-4 loss in Game 2.

"I thought the mood on the plane last night was pretty good," Ausmus said. "I didn't see anyone too depressed. It wasn't ideal, we knew their bats were hot and they were going to score runs. We didn't have either of our two aces pitching in the first two games, and we were hoping we'd squeak by with a victory. We didn't. We move on. The series isn't over."

Bulletin board fodder: In terms of giving the opponent a little extra ammo, Cardinals setup man Julian Tavarez was alone in his assessment of the Astros prior to the beginning of the NLCS.

While the Cardinals are mostly comprised of veteran players who know what not to say when the cameras are rolling, Tavarez had a different agenda when asked by reporters what he thought of the Astros.

"They've got a great team, but we don't look at the Houston Astros like they've got a great team," he said before Game 1.

"They are good, but we are better than them. We've got a better team than a lot of teams in the Major Leagues. We are the best because we've got 108 wins [in the regular season and Division Series combined]. We've proved it. We are the best."

Rebuttal?

"He's entitled to his opinion," Berkman said. "He may be right. We'll see how the next two games go. If they win one of two and are up three games to one, he's probably right."

Clark hired: Former Houston outfielder Dave Clark will manage the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks in 2005, the Astros announced on Friday. Jackie Moore, who managed the Double-A club during its entire five-year run in Round Rock, will take over as manager for the Triple-A club, which takes up residence at the Dell Diamond beginning next season. Former Triple-A Zephyrs manager Chris Maloney was not asked to return to the club in 2005.

Clark, who played for the Astros in 1998, was the manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates' Class A Hickory Crawdads in 2004 and led the club to an 85-55 regular-season mark and the league championship. His managerial debut was in 2003 with Lynchburg of the Carolina League. In the two years prior, Clark was the Pirates' Major League hitting coach.

"We've kept in touch over the years and kept up with his career when he left here," assistant GM Tim Purpura said. "There are guys that you're really attracted to and players you think would make a good coach someday."

Odds and ends: Laura Pettitte, wife of Astros left-hander Andy Pettitte, will sing the national anthem and "God Bless America" on Saturday before Game 3. Former Olympian and Houston resident Mary Lou Retton is slated to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. ... Barring rain, the Minute Maid Park roof will be open for Games 3, 4 and 5. ... Cardinals left-handed reliever Steve Kline could miss the remainder of the NLCS with a tear in flexor tendon in left index finger that has been aggravated by gout. ... The Astros expect their fans to be as loud, if not louder, than those they encountered on the road. "Playing in front of our crowd, it's going to be loud," Carlos Beltran said. "Atlanta was great. St. Louis was great. But this will be better."

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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