HOUSTON -- Astros slugger Carlos Lee reiterated Wednesday night what he first said a year ago, hinting that he might retire when his six-year, $100-million contract expires following the 2012 season, citing family reasons. Lee, 35, entered the final game of the season with 94 RBIs.
"I want to spend more time with my kids," Lee said. "This business, it's kind of tough to spend more time with the family. People don't realize that when [the team is home], the kids are at school. When you get up, they're already gone, and when you come back, they're sleeping.
"To see your kids Friday, Saturday and Sunday is tough. If I had to really decide now, I'd stay home."
Lee made similar sentiments toward the end of last year, and not much has changed during a difficult season in which the Astros set a franchise record with 105 losses entering Wednesday. Lee is one of the last remaining remnants of a team that has undergone a huge overhaul the last two years.
"Honestly, it's been a tough year all year long, personally and as a team," he said. "The second half of the season was a lot more exciting. They brought up all these young kids and they played hard and did good. That was fun to go out there and play with them."
Schafer hearing from his former Braves mates
HOUSTON -- Astros outfielder Jordan Schafer has been inundated with messages and phone calls this week from his former Braves teammates, who were locked in a battle for the National League Wild Card with the Cardinals and were hoping for some help from Schafer and Houston.
"I've heard from basically everybody," said Schafer, who was drafted by the Braves in 2005 and traded to Houston in the Michael Bourn deal in July. "They're just saying, 'Hey, can you help us out a little bit? We're struggling.' It would be nice if they got in, obviously. I've got a bunch of friends over there."
Of course, Schafer hasn't been much help. He's been slowed by a sore right hamstring and was held to one at-bat Monday, didn't play on Tuesday and wasn't in the starting lineup Wednesday.
"My hammy's been pretty bad," he said.
Schafer, who was on the disabled list with a left middle finger joint injury when the Astros traded for him, said he'll rest the hand for four to six weeks in the offseason before beginning to get ready for his first Spring Training with Houston next year.
"I'm just going to try to get healthy and get back and get going," he said.
Mills has plenty of notes for offseason
HOUSTON -- Astros manager Brad Mills will be back at work on Friday. Before heading to the Florida instructional league on Sunday, Mills plans to come to Minute Maid Park and begin poring over his notes from the season.
Mills keeps the lineup card from each game and makes notes that he references when the year is over.
"Now's my time to go through those notes and look at different situations that have happened during the ballgame, and the information age being what it is, I can go plug [the games] right up and watch them again," he said. "I could see what transferred over and get ready for the offseason and Spring Training."
Mills will sort his notes by position and then go over them in chronological order. He'll start by going through his notes about his catchers for each game, and then do the infielders and so forth. "Sometimes it takes a long time and sometimes it doesn't take very often," he said. "We've got a lot of notes to go through."
Brocail unsure if he'll return to Astros
HOUSTON -- The Astros will head into the offseason not knowing if pitching coach Doug Brocail will return next year.
Brocail, who has been offered a contract to return in 2012, is still mulling over the offer and is expected to give the Astros an answer relatively soon. Brocail will travel with manager Brad Mills to the Florida instructional league on Sunday and spend a few days looking at some of the organization's young talent.
"We'll be together down there for four days, and I think we'll have some good talks," Mills said. "I'm not going to press the issue with him at all."
Brocail, who retired following the 2009 season after a long Major League career, took over in June when Brad Arnsberg was let go by the club. Astros general manager Ed Wade has been pleased with how Brocail has handled the job.
"I hope between today and next week, he makes a decision to stay with it," he said. "That's been our goal all along. I've broached the subject with him while we were in Cincinnati [last week], and he thinks he's close to making the decision, but I'm going to have to give him time to talk to his family to make sure he makes the right decision."