HOUSTON - The Astros' first road trip of next season takes them to Miami to face the Marlins, giving rookie outfielder J.D. Martinez his first chance to play in the Major Leagues in his hometown.
Martinez grew up as a huge Marlins fan and is looking forward to the April 13-15 trip to South Florida.
"Absolutely," he said. "That would be my favorite road trip because I'll get to go back home and I'll get to see my family and friends and a lot of people that haven't seen me play, except on TV."
Martinez took in countless Marlins games as a kid at what is now Sun Life Stadium, including the 1997 World Series, but the Marlins will be moving to a new ballpark next year and will even have a new name, the Miami Marlins. Martinez won't miss the old stadium.
"I grew up seeing that field and everything like that," Martinez said. "With a new stadium, it's going to be a lot more exciting. That stadium doesn't have the baseball environment, but that's where I grew up and watched all my games and I'd go there to watch the Marlins. That's all I knew."
The Marlins, who will unveil their new stadium in a one-game series against the Cardinals on April 4, 2012, will then hit the road before returning home to host the Astros in the second through fourth regular season games at the new ballpark.
Michaels undergoes surgery on hand
HOUSTON -- The loss of Jason Michaels for the final 14 games of the season won't figure to have a huge effect on the Astros, considering they were already carrying an extra outfielder thanks to expanded rosters.
Michaels was getting occasional starts against left-handers, but the Astros might only face two or three southpaws the rest of the season.
The absence of Michaels, who underwent surgery on Wednesday to repair a broken bone in his left hand, could mean a few more at-bats for rookie J.B. Shuck, who had three hits off the bench in Tuesday's win over the Phillies.
Michaels' injury capped what was a frustrating season for the outfielder, who batted .199 with two homers and 10 RBIs in a part-time role. He was 8-for-45 (.178) as a pinch-hitter.
"He's a good guy to have on the ballclub," manager Brad Mills said. "He's going to have give you the best at-bat he possibly can each time out as a veteran guy. You can't underscore that significant influence he has."
Michaels, of course, never lost his sense of humor after coming out of the game Tuesday when he wasn't able to close his glove or grip a bat.
"He said, 'I'm going to use this to blame my year,'" Mills said. "He's been around long enough to realize how he needs to look at things."
Bourgeois swinging hot stick in September
HOUSTON - Jason Bourgeois appears to have put his poor August behind him. The speedy outfielder entered Wednesday's game hitting .440 (11-for-25) in September after batting a dismal .157 in August.
"It feels pretty good," said Bourgeois, who had hit safely in seven of his last eight games. "I've been making some adjustments the past couple of weeks. I haven't been playing as much, so I have a lot of time to work in the cage and try to get that feel again of the way I was hitting. I'm feeling closer to where I need to be right now."
More important for Bourgeois is the fact he's hitting .426 against left-handed pitching this year. He leads all Major Leaguers in batting average against southpaws among batters with a minimum of 60 at-bats.
"I'd love to get in there on some right-handers more just to see them, but I'm hitting well off lefties," he said. "I think in the last couple of years I've hit right-handers better, but I'm really happy to hit left-handers because I know that's going to be my job and I want to take advantage of it every time I'm out there against left-handers."
Clemente's family honored before finale
HOUSTON -- Three members of Roberto Clemente's family -- Osvaldo Clemente (nephew), Kalia Clemente (grandniece) and Cynthia Clemente (grandniece) -- were honored on the field prior to Wednesday's game as part of the Astros' celebration of Roberto Clemente Day.
The 12-time All-Star and Hall of Famer died in a plane crash on New Year's Eve 1972 while attempting to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.
"What made him great was his humility, his humbleness," said Osvaldo Clemente, a Houston resident who grew up with his uncle in Puerto Rico. "He gave everything he had to other people. That helped him stand out."
The Astros also recognized two fans who were nominated for the "Astros Community Champion Award" for their philanthropic efforts, and also presented outfielder Jason Bourgeois with an award as the team's nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award.