PITTSBURGH -- Astros shortstop Clint Barmes is facing free agency this offseason for the first time in his career. While he's open to exploring his options, he's had a good experience in Houston and would like to return to the Astros.
"I'd love to come back here, but I haven't put a whole lot of thought into that yet," Barmes said. "Coming up to the offseason, I haven't talked to my agent much about that at all to even know what other options there even are. There's going to be a lot of changes [with the Astros] and a lot of things going on, which is another reason nobody knows what direction it's going to head."
Barmes, traded to the Astros from the Rockies last year, has been a valuable commodity on and off the field. A broken hand suffered in Spring Training led to a slow start at the plate, but he's one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball. He's hitting .243 with nine homers and 29 RBIs in 104 games.
Astros general manager Ed Wade thinks so highly of Barmes that he wasn't made available at the Trade Deadline. Wade told Barmes, who is making $3.925 million this year, that he wanted to keep him around to lead the Astros' young infield.
"That's stuff he didn't have to say," Barmes said. "He didn't have to tell me that. I think that definitely means a lot to me. It shows definitely how much he thinks of me being a part of all this. It meant a lot coming from him, and I definitely would like to be a part of what they have going on. It's going to be an interesting offseason, and I'm excited about that."
Myers looking to get back on winning track
PITTSBURGH -- It's been nearly three months since Brett Myers last won a game, but the veteran right-hander hopes to end that streak on Tuesday against the Pirates.
Myers (3-13), who missed his most recent start due to the birth of his fourth child, will be making his first start since holding the Giants to one run on two hits over seven innings on Aug. 27 in San Francisco. His seven-game losing streak is the longest of his career.
Since beating the Dodgers in a complete-game effort on June 17, Myers is 0-7 with a 4.87 ERA in 14 games, including 13 starts. He has eight quality starts in that span, though.
"You can only control what you can control," Myers said. "I'm going to go out there and keep trying to give us the best chance to win. If the wins are there, that would be great. If not, there's nothing I can do about that."
Myers, 6-6 with a 3.26 ERA for his career against the Pirates, is 0-2 with a 5.14 ERA in three games (two starts) against the Bucs this year.
Mills pleased to see Astros playing winter ball
PITTSBURGH -- Astros manager Brad Mills, who played winter ball himself, is pleased to see so many of his players have opted to play in the Caribbean this winter. The list includes outfielder Brian Bogusevic, who will play for Aguilas, and Jose Altuve, who will play for Magallanes in his native Venezuela.
"I think it's a great experience," Mills said. "Winter ball seems to be different now than what it was, but we've got guys that are going to go down there and get some innings and hitters need to get some at-bats. It's always good, and I think it's a good experience. You grow up a little bit down there, too, and see things a little bit different."
Tony DeFrancesco, the manager of the Astros' Triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City, will manage Escogido of the Dominican Republic, the same team where first baseman Brett Wallace and relief pitcher Dave Carpenter will play.
"That's a big plus, because now these guys are going to be able to keep an eye on things and keep the organization's best interests at heart," Mills said. "We want them to win and play well and everything else, but at the same time, we have to make sure guys aren't abused.
"That rarely happens in winter ball, but at the same time, you have some pitchers that happen to be doing good, and the tendency is to pitch them all the time. I don't want that to happen."