Notes: Business as usual for Astros
Players continue daily routine amidst trade talks
HOUSTON -- Inside the Astros' clubhouse, it's business as usual. Players go through their daily routines in the same manner they have day after day, month after month. That's how it is in baseball -- with so many games on the schedule, every day, it's pretty much the same.
But this team could look drastically different next Tuesday at 3 p.m. CT, once the non-waiver trade deadline has expired. The Astros have several players whom other teams are watching, and although the soon-to-be free agents won't command much in terms of value in return, one, or all, could be dealt.
Mike Lamb, Mark Loretta and Jason Jennings fall into that category. All three appear to be unfazed by trade speculation, emphasizing that it's pointless to worry about things that are out of their control.
"I'd like to stay, but there would be no hard feelings on my side if I did get traded," Lamb said. "I understand that I'm a free agent after the season and I could possibly go to another team.
"If I got traded, I wouldn't hold it against them and I'd be willing to come back. That would be the best of both worlds, assuming they want me and aren't disappointed with my play."
The Astros could be interested in re-signing any of the three as free agents this winter, but that won't prevent them from making a deal if it could fortify the farm system and possibly bring a player who can help on the Major League level next year.
Jennings, who was hurt for much of the season but still may command high dollars on the free agent market this winter, appears to be drawing interest from several contending teams who need a starter to slide into the middle of their rotations.
"If I'm going to be traded, I'm going to be traded," he said. "Right now, I'm an Astro at heart and I'm 100 percent committed to pitching well here. If I go somewhere else in the next week, that's the business."
Trade winds: Astros GM Tim Purpura does not discuss specifics regarding potential trades, but did confirm he had spoken with "probably eight or nine" GMs on Friday.
"There's still interest in a number of our guys," Purpura said. "And our goal still is, if we're going to deal a player we have under our control more than a year, we have to get players back who are under control for more than a year. And we're still pursuing some of those."
Purpura estimated the chances were "50-50" the Astros would make a deal before Tuesday's deadline.
"If we make a move we want it to help us this year, next year and future years, it's a delicate balance," Purpura said. "I don't think we're ever going to be real sellers. We're not going to strip the core of this club, we've got a good core. If we can augment it, great, if not, we'll keep working on it more this season and in the offseason."
Purpura won't trade players who will be free agents this winter, like Loretta or Lamb, unless it makes sense in both the short term and long term.
"The only obligation is to get something for us if it's something that can truly help us in the future," he said. "A couple of A ball prospects or Double-A guys that replicate what we've already got in our system, I don't feel any pressure or compulsion to do it. No matter how we come out of this, we stiil want to finish strong. I don't feel like I have to move anybody."
Berkman OK: Lance Berkman slightly tweaked his left hamstring chasing a bloop popup during Friday's game, but the first baseman isn't worried that it will have any lingering effects.
Berkman felt a pull as he sprinted toward the edge of the dirt in an attempt to catch a Kevin Kouzmanoff blooper.
"My legs have been feeling a little sore lately," Berkman said. "I had to turn it on there. Really, to be honest, I don't know what happened. It just tightened and felt real sore and then it kind of went away.
"It feels good right now, and I don't expect to have any lingering effects from it, which may or may not make the club happy."
Consistency is key: Jason Lane had not talked with manager Phil Garner about his playing schedule when he was recalled earlier this week, but the outfielder is thrilled that he's been in the lineup every day since he took the injured Hunter Pence's spot on the 25-man roster.
Lane played in his fourth consecutive game on Friday, and all of his starts have been in center field.
"It's nice to get some consecutive starts out there," he said. "I feel comfortable and I feel like I've had a couple testing plays already. I've gotten some good jumps on balls and that always helps your confidence."
Garner expects Lane to produce at the plate, but the skipper acknowledged Lane's above-average defensive skills have merited the consistent playing time.
"He needs to do something offensively, too," Garner said. "But his defense is one of the reasons he's playing. I've known he can play center field. I've always said he's one of our best overall defensive players."
Biggio schedule: Craig Biggio will play the afternoon game between the Astros and Padres on Saturday, but Garner plans to rest the second baseman during the homestand finale on Sunday.
Coupled with the scheduled off-day on Monday, that will give Biggio two full days to rest. He will likely play the first game of each upcoming road series in Atlanta and Florida.
Coming up: The Astros and Padres will meet for the third game of the four-game weekend set on Saturday at a special FOX time of 2:55 p.m. CT.
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. MLB.com reporter Jim Molony contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.