Oswalt unsure how Lee deal affects him
Several teams scouted Astros ace in Thursday's shutout
HOUSTON -- Now that Cliff Lee is off the market, could Roy Oswalt be the next big-name pitcher to be dealt ahead of the July 31 Trade Deadline? Oswalt was asked Friday whether he expects to hear about more trade possibilities now that Lee has been dealt from the Mariners to the Rangers.
"This is my first time [going through this]," he said. "I don't know."
Rangers president Nolan Ryan told MLB.com last month he was interested in acquiring Oswalt, who earlier this year requested the Astros trade him to a contender.
"That's a good pickup for them," Oswalt said. "Lee's a good pitcher, and adding a quality starting pitcher should make them better."
Oswalt is 6-10 with a 3.08 ERA in 18 starts this year, and is coming off a one-hit shutout against the Pirates on Thursday at Minute Maid Park. Scouts from the Phillies, Mets, Twins, Rays and Dodgers were among those on hand to watch Oswalt throw Thursday, but nothing appears imminent.
"They told me they'd come to me first and tell me what they have on the table, and they haven't told me anything," Oswalt said Friday.
Berkman doesn't expect to be traded
HOUSTON -- Earlier this season, Astros first baseman Lance Berkman told management he would waive his no-trade clause if the club had a deal with a contender and could get prospects in return. Berkman, in the final year of his contract, said Friday that he doesn't expect to get traded.
"I don't think I'm an untouchable player anymore, but I would be surprised if something happened," he said. "My gut tells me nothing will happen. I'm not sure anything's going to happen with Roy [Oswalt], even though there's a lot of ballyhoo about that. It's tough to move players like myself and Roy that have been around a franchise for along as long as we have and still have some value to the franchise."
Berkman, a native Texan, made his Major League debut with the Astros in 1999 and is the longest tenured player on the club.
"I love it here," he said. "This is my home, and I owe this organization a lot. It's the only place I've ever known. If I'm here on Aug. 1, I'll be happy as a clam."
But Berkman has learned to expect the unexpected.
"Some of my best friends have come and gone," he said. "You think you're going to play with this guy forever, and tomorrow you walk in and he's packing his bags, and you're like, 'Oh, man.' That's the business side of the game, and everybody understands that. I'm thrilled for the time I've had here. It's tremendous."
Lindstrom expects even better second half
HOUSTON -- First-year Astros closer Matt Lindstrom entered Friday with 20 saves, which matched how many he had for his career coming into the season. He has saved 59 percent of the Astros' wins and has blown four saves.
Lindstrom, acquired in a trade from Florida in December, had a 2.88 ERA in 34 games, which was tops among Astros relievers.
"Personally, it's been good, but I'd trade in those saves for a better record, for sure," Lindstrom said. "We've had ups and downs, too, as a team, but it's an accomplishment [to reach 20 saves] and I'm looking forward to having a strong second half."
Prior to Friday, Lindstrom had a 4.29 ERA in the first half in his career and a 2.77 ERA in second halves.
"I get my feet under me and kind of get my body feeling better," he said. "I'm excited to continue to work hard and hopefully put together a strong second half, individually and as a team."
And Lindstrom expects to have more save opportunities in the second half.
"I think we're trying to feel ourselves a little bit as far as what kind of team we have," Lindstrom said. "The lineup is going to do a better job of getting on base and scoring runs. A lot of guys on our team are catalysts. Hopefully we can click together, and if we do we have a good ballclub."
Astros intrigued by LeBron's decision
HOUSTON -- You couldn't find an Astros player who didn't keep up with where NBA free agent LeBron James was headed Thursday night. James announced on a television special he was leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat.
"I'm not really worried about LeBron," All-Star center fielder Michael Bourn said, joking.
Astros closer Matt Lindstrom spent three seasons in Miami as a member of the Florida Marlins and is curious how James will blend in on South Beach.
"It's a good opportunity for him to win a championship," Lindstrom said. "It's been pretty cool being down there and watching Dwyane Wade do his thing, and just to think he's got Chris Bosh and LeBron James with him, it's going to be crazy.
"You kind of wonder what's going to happen. I don't think there's enough possessions in a game to keep those three happy."
Miami is a fickle pro sports town, but Lindstrom expects the city to fully embrace James.
"It's going to be a hot ticket in Miami to go to a basketball game," he said.
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.