WASHINGTON -- Managers often need to give younger players a feel-good talk or two. Astros manager Brad Mills did that to rookie infielder Jimmy Paredes on Saturday.
Paredes made a throwing error in the bottom of the 11th on Friday night that gave Washington a 4-3 victory. Jayson Werth hit a bullet that Paredes knocked down, and he rushed a throw to second to try to get the force. But the throw went wide and into the outfield.
Mills said he waited until today to talk with the 22-year-old, and they discussed a number of topics. They didn't just focus on the throw, which he probably shouldn't have made with two runners on and one out.
"We talked about everything, not just that particular play," Mills said. "But things that might have led up to it and things that we hoped he's learned from it. So it wasn't just, 'Hey, don't make that play.'"
Mills has had a lot of those situations with this young team, and Paredes is a good example of how new players suffer through growing pains.
Paredes has a grand total of 34 games of Major League experience, and Mills said they discussed all kinds of things that the skipper hopes help the rookie.
"We had a good talk," Mills said.
Astros bring up Cedeno, place Escalona on DL
WASHINGTON -- The Astros will purchase the contract of left-hander Xavier Cedeno from Triple-A Oklahoma City and place fellow left-hander Sergio Escalona on the 60-day disabled list. Both moves will be effective on Sunday.
Escalona sprained his left ankle when he tripped over a glove in the outfield shagging flies before Friday's 4-3 loss. He was carted off the field, and even though X-rays were negative, the ankle remains swollen. Escalona is currently using crutches to get around.
Cedeno pitched for Double-A Corpus Christi and Triple-A Oklahoma City and posted a combined 7-9 record with a 4.38 ERA. He started and threw out of the bullpen, and Astros manager Brad Mills said Cedeno will come on in relief and could be a lefty specialist at first.
"What a better time [than] now to take a look at the guy, with Escalona going down," Mills said. "It's good to have a second lefty, especially when you expand the rosters like this."
Mills and the Astros said that Cedeno will arrive Sunday for the final game of the Washington series. The 25-year-old Cedeno has never pitched in the Major Leagues.
Escalona wasn't optimistic about returning in 2011 even before the Astros informed the media he'd be going on the 60-day disabled list.
"It's hurting me a little bit, [but] it's getting better," he said.
Said Mills: "It was going to be hard for him to come back and pitch. They felt he was going to be out at least 10 days with this ankle thing."
Astros will be ready to face Nats' Strasburg
WASHINGTON -- Stephen Strasburg will get his second start of the season for the Nationals on Sunday, and the Astros haven't done a whole lot to prepare for him yet. But all of that's coming shortly.
"We'll do some stuff tomorrow morning with him," said manager Brad Mills. "We've seen him, though. We've seen video and everything else of him."
Strasburg threw five shutout innings in his first post-Tommy John surgery start last Tuesday against the Dodgers. He left with a 3-0 lead after needing just 56 pitches to work his way through the first five innings, but the bullpen lost the lead and the game.
Mills said even though they haven't seen him in person, they have plenty of information on Strasburg.
"We know he's right-handed," Mills said with a smile.
The Astros will have 17 rookies on their team when Xavier Cedeno joins the club on Sunday. Eleven are pitchers and six are position players.
Houston will play eight of its next 11 games away from home before ending 2011 with a seven-game homestand.
A victory tonight for starter Wandy Rodriguez would bring him one step closer to .500 for his career. He'd be 73-74.
The only day of the week that the Astros aren't below .500 is Wednesday. They have an 11-11 record on that day.
Jeff Seidel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.