Notes: Astros' wives win softball game
Christi Ensberg, Cara Berkman lead the offensive charge
HOUSTON -- Morgan Ensberg has been on the bench a lot lately, and after Sunday's pregame display at Minute Maid Park, he may be starting to wonder if he's the second-best baseball player in his family.
Ensberg -- as in Christi, Morgan's wife -- had quite a day at the plate, including a couple of doubles and an inside-the-park home run during the third annual "Diamond Boot" softball game between the Astros and Rangers' wives.
The Astros' wives topped the Rangers' wives, 12-7, and were buoyed by strong offensive performances from Christi Ensberg and Cara Berkman, among others.
"She's way better than me," Morgan gushed. "It's awesome. She hit a couple of balls to the left-center gap and made sure she was getting extended. Beetle [bullpen coach Mark Bailey] threw her a pitch up and away that she didn't bite. She took it to right-center for a homer. It's textbook baseball, it's perfect baseball. I've got video of her that I'm breaking down to try to improve my game."
Lance Berkman was equally as proud of his wife, even though he chided her for chatting with other wives when she should have been in the on-deck circle.
"Two-run double, 2-for-2 with two ribbies," he said proudly. "When you're playing, you want to win. This is America."
Berkman also acknowledged that his wife must absorb the offensive responsibility for her team, just as he does as the slugging first baseman for the Astros.
"We want to be run producers, that's for sure," Lance said. "She did a nice job today."
This year, proceeds from the softball game benefited the Spina Bifida Association of America and the Beaumont Hospital of Detroit's Nerve Rerouting project.
Back-to-back: For the second day in a row on Sunday, Mark Loretta received the start at shortstop in place of Adam Everett.
"I think it's probably just to give Adam a couple days to catch his breath," Loretta said. "He's swinging the bat well and doesn't have much to show for it. I'll take the at-bats wherever I can get them."
Loretta has a higher comfort level at third, but he feels he's acclimating well to short.
"Third might be a little more comfortable than short, just because I haven't been out there for a few years," he said. "There's a lot of ground to cover. I'm just trying to do the best I can out there."
Rehabbing: Catcher Hector Gimenez will begin throwing next Monday, almost three months after undergoing surgery to repair a tear in the labrum in his right shoulder.
Gimenez was the leading candidate to win the backup catching job during Spring Training prior to his injury. He's likely out for the year, but he's encouraged by the progress he's making.
"I'm very happy about that," he said.
Gimenez does his rehab work at the Methodist Hospital when the team is out of town but when the Astros are home, he spends ample time working with the Astros' athletic training staff.
Coming up: The Astros will begin a two-city, seven-game road trip Monday in San Francisco, where they will play the Giants at AT&T Park beginning at 9:15 p.m. CT. Right-hander Chris Sampson (4-3, 3.56) will face Giants lefty Noah Lowry (4-4, 3.04).
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.