Notes: Pence examines technique
After latest injuy, rookie will adjust his sliding method
HOUSTON -- Hunter Pence has very few adjustments he needs to make as he acclimates himself to the big leagues, and the general philosophy among management regarding their 24-year-old star is to leave him alone and just let him play his game.
But Pence has to change one thing -- his sliding technique. After hurting both wrists numerous times since his professional career began in 2004, the center fielder realizes he has to adjust. His aggressiveness has gotten him into trouble, as evidenced by the fracture in his right wrist which will sideline him until September.
"I've had problems my whole career," Pence said. "Whatever wrist it is, whichever side I slide on, this will be the third or fourth time [I've gotten hurt]. This was the second-worst. I injured it before and had to have surgery on my left one."
Manager Phil Garner preaches a simple method of sliding into second base -- go straight in, with the hands in the air. But Pence slides differently when the fielder is playing behind the bag, which sometimes causes him to fall too violenty into the slide and roll over, jamming his wrist.
Pence realizes that he has to change this method. Otherwise, he's probably in for more bone breaks.
"When they're behind the bag, you can't get to [the fielder]," he said. "You just have to do everything you can to distract him sliding into the base, into the front of the base. That way, I can get my hands up, jump over the base and I don't land on my wrist."
Berkman MRI: Lance Berkman underwent an MRI on his left hand on Wednesday in order to rule out any possibility that his injury extends beyond swelling and bruising.
"And also, to have a baseline in case if it gets worse or persists, they'll know, this is what it looked like on this day," Berkman added. "I think it's totally precautionary and it's certainly not going to keep me out of the lineup."
"[We did it] just in case," general manager Tim Purpura said. "You don't want to find out in two weeks there was something else there. Everything came out great."
Berkman missed three games in Pittsburgh because of the hand issue, but he's been in the lineup for all three games of the Dodgers series. He doesn't expect the injury to prevent him from playing the remainder of the homestand.
The day after: A relaxed Craig Biggio stood at his locker on Wednesday afternoon and expressed relief that he's finally made his retirement announcement. He hopes he can return to normalcy for the remainder of the season, his 20th in the big leagues.
Biggio announced prior to Tuesday's game that this year will be his last.
"I'm a lot better today than I was yesterday," he said. "You're nervous about it, because you want to make sure everything comes across with some thought, and everything you want to say to the fans and your family comes out nice. I was nervous. Now that yesterday is over with and the game is over with, I'm excited about finishing out the season and what the future's going to bring."
Coming up: The Astros will open a four-game set with the Padres beginning Thursday. Left-hander Wandy Rodriguez (6-9, 4.46) will face Padres lefty David Wells (5-6, 4.57) in the opener, which begins at 7:05 p.m. CT.
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.