Notes: Cooper to meet Wade
Interim manager set to see new GM on team's off-day Monday
ST. LOUIS -- Manager Cecil Cooper spoke with new general manager Ed Wade for about 10 minutes on the phone on Friday, and the two will meet formally for the first time as coworkers on Sunday when Wade and club president of baseball operations Tal Smith fly to St. Louis to join the Astros traveling party.
"We were just talking in general -- all the pleasantries, and hellos, and how are you, I'm excited to be working with you and that kind of stuff," Cooper said. "We didn't hash out anything. We didn't go over anything baseball-wise."
Cooper, Wade, Smith and the coaching staff are planning to gather for dinner on the off-day on Monday in Cincinnati, and it's likely Cooper and Wade will meet prior to that as well.
"He's just in time to pick up the check," Cooper joked.
Cooper was glad to hear that the Astros have not begun a formal managerial search, but although everyone in the industry is predicting that the Astros will give Cooper the permanent post, he's trying not to get his hopes up until he finds out the final verdict from club owner Drayton McLane.
It's likely an announcement could be made before the end of the season.
"There's no pressure, it's fun," Cooper said. "Am I worried about it? Just a little. But we have to go on. We have a job to do and we have to do it. That's what we're going to do. If he told me tomorrow, 'Well, we're going in a different direction,' then well, I appreciate the opportunity and I'll keep working, because I know down the road sometime it'll happen.
"I'll be a happy camper. I'll be upset, but I'll be a happy camper."
Biggio behind the plate? When Craig Biggio announced his retirement in July, he mentioned that he'd like to crouch behind the plate one last time and catch for an inning or two, toward the end of the season.
Biggio's desire is to catch Roy Oswalt, and because Oswalt is scheduled to start next Friday's game against the Braves, it's likely that if Biggio does catch, it'll be that game.
The plans are not yet finalized, but ideally, Biggio would like to catch an inning or two at the beginning of the game, with Brad Ausmus playing second. That way, the two could just switch positions in the third frame or so without having to use anyone off the bench.
"We haven't really talked about it much," Biggio said. "But it looks like that may be the way to do it."
Biggio began his career as a catcher and played that position for four years, from 1988-91. He moved to second base in 1992 and played there until 2003, when he moved to center field. He started the '04 season in center as well, and moved to left after the Astros traded for Carlos Beltran. Biggio moved back to second base in 2005 after Jeff Kent departed for the Dodgers.
Everett returns: Adam Everett had targeted the upcoming Cincinnati series as a return date, but he was pleasantly surprised when Cooper called on him to play shortstop late in the game on Thursday, when the Astros were up by 10 runs.
Cooper inserted Everett in the three-hole, hoping he'd be able to play two innings without having to bat. But Everett wound up receiving two at-bats, logging a hit in his first plate appearance and contributing to the Astros' six-run eighth.
"It was good," Everett said. "I felt like my rookie year again. Going out there for the first time, my heart was pounding big time. It was fun. Hopefully I can get out there again in a few days and do it all over again."
Everett, who was sidelined for most of the season with a broken bone in his right leg, said he felt sore on Friday. That was to be expected, considering he had not played in more than three months.
"You can't simulate baseball movements," he said. "Working out in the offseason and going into Spring Training, those first few days you say, 'Well, I did all my running, I did all my throwing, why am I sore?' Well it's just not the same. That's the only reason why [I'm sore]. Everything held up fine."
Everett will fly to Houston on Sunday to be with his wife, Jennifer, who is expecting to deliver the couple's second child that day. If all goes well, Everett will rejoin the Astros in Cincinnati on Wednesday.
Back in the lineup: Hunter Pence returned to the lineup on Friday, one day after he was scratched for precautionary reasons.
Pence was experiencing minor upper back discomfort after running into the right-field wall while chasing Rickie Weeks' home run ball during Wednesday's finale at Minute Maid Park. Cooper originally penciled in Pence's name for Thursday's opener in St. Louis, but he changed his mind at the last minute, deciding it would be better to err on the side of caution.
Pence tried to convince his skipper to let him play, but to no avail.
"I think he may have been able to play, but that was a heck of a collision," Cooper said. "If we were fighting for a pennant, he could have played. He put up a fight, but I was better."
Pence said he felt much better on Friday but admitted he was still sore around his shoulders.
"It's like whiplash after a car wreck," he said. "The muscles are a little strained there. The only thing that bothers it is throwing. The swing's fine."
Coming up: The Astros and Cardinals will meet again at Busch Stadium for the third game of the extended four-game set on Saturday, beginning at 6:15 p.m. CT. Right-hander Matt Albers (4-9, 6.05 ERA) will start for the Astros. Brad Thompson (6-6, 5.14) will start for the Cardinals.
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.