09/15/08 6:33 PM ET
Backe returns, thinks of home
Astros right-hander concerned for family in Galveston
By Alyson Footer / MLB.com
If Backe pitches Wednesday in Florida as planned, it'll be his first start since Sept. 2. He was skipped last Monday because of elbow soreness, but he never planned to stay sidelined for long.
"I said from the very beginning, I could take the ball," Backe said. "The ball was taken away from me. I was sore. I was being honest with them. I said, 'Look I'm sore.'"
Apparently, he isn't sore anymore, at least not physically. Emotionally, the right-hander is a little bitter, and rightfully so. Backe, a Galveston native, lives around 20 miles from his hometown and can tick off a myriad of family and friends who have either lost their homes or came close.
The situation is so grim that he was seriously considering not taking the flight to Milwaukee with the team Sunday.
"I was 10 minutes from not coming," Backe said. "I was just going to stay home. Whatever the consequences were, that was on [the Astros].
"I couldn't care less about being here [in Milwaukee], to be honest with you. It's ridiculous. It's ridiculous that we ended up here first off. Everybody's complaining about it, and I don't need to be another person complaining about anything. But the more and more I sit and think about it, the more and more I think I shouldn't even be here. I should be at home with my family."
Backe's sentiment echoed those of many players who had a hard time grasping why two baseball games took precedence over tending to a very dour environment at home. At the same time, the players understand that these games have to be played, eventually.
But why now?
"I know my family is going to tell me not to worry about it," Backe said. "But the minute something happens and I'm not there, it's going to be devastating for me, for the rest of my life."
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.