Maxwell sees concussion specialist, passes tests
Astros outfielder to work out Thursday, likely to rejoin lineup Friday
HOUSTON -- Astros outfielder Justin Maxwell ranked the concussion he suffered during Tuesday's opener against the Cardinals as the third-worst he's had in his life. The good news is he's only had three, and this recent one was the least alarming.
Maxwell, who face-planted while diving for a ball in the outfield in the fourth inning, saw a concussion specialist on Wednesday shortly before game time. He passed a series of tests and will work out at Minute Maid Park on Thursday morning just to make sure he doesn't have any lingering effects from the incident.
It's likely he'll be back in the lineup on Friday when the Astros open a three-game series with the Angels.
"I have a mild headache right now," said Maxwell, asked repeatedly by reporters before the game to gauge the pain. "This is very mild compared with the previous two."
The most severe happened while he was in college. He collided with a fellow outfielder and was knocked out cold, and needed around five days to recover. The second occurred during Spring Training in 2007. He was hit in the head by a pitch and was sidelined at least two days.
This one was different, in that he landed mostly on his forehead and he was completely coherent when head athletic trainer Nate Lucero and manager Bo Porter raced to where he was laying in the outfield.
"I had to actually go look at the replay to see how hard he actually banged it," manager Bo Porter said. "Normally you dive, your body kind of gives a little bit. This was a stick. Anytime that happens, you're going to be extremely concerned."
After answering a few initial test questions correctly -- including an "I don't know" response as to what day it is ("It's tough to answer that question," Maxwell said. "It's like Groundhog Day") -- the outfielder walked off the field without needing assistance. He was given more eye and balancing tests, which, according to Maxwell, "were rough yesterday. But today, I did a lot better."
Astros legends gather for book signing Saturday
"Deep in the Heart," a pictorial book co-written by Astros broadcaster Bill Brown and historian Mike Acosta, has been on sale at Minute Maid Park since Opening Night.
But on Saturday, there will be an added incentive to purchase the 192-page look back at Astros history: a slew of Astros legends will be on hand to sign the books.
J.R. Richard, Bob Aspromonte, Art Howe and Enos Cabell, along with Brown and co-broadcaster Alan Ashby, will be on the main concourse behind the Insperity Club before the game against the Angels. They'll sign books from 2 p.m. CT until first pitch, slated for 3:10 p.m.
Additionally, the Astros are offering two free tickets to the Aug. 29 game vs. the Mariners for any fan purchasing a copy of "Deep in the Heart" during this special signing.
The book was released just a few months after the Astros concluded their season-long celebration of the franchise's 50th birthday in 2012. "Deep in the Heart' details the history of the Houston organization, beginning with the Colt .45s, who played at Colt Stadium from 1962-64 before the team moved to the Astrodome and were renamed the Astros.
The book, filled mostly with color photos and interviews with the players who were part of some of the most memorable moments in franchise history, costs $39.95.
Krauss receives rookie treatment on first career hit
HOUSTON -- Rookie Marc Krauss sensed the baseball that was waiting for him in his locker after Tuesday's game wasn't the actual one he connected with for his first Major League hit. But when he saw his last name was spelled "Krausst," along with other well-placed injustices, he knew one of his veteran teammates -- namely, Carlos Pena -- had given him the old rookie treatment.
"I had seen it at the lower levels [in the Minor Leagues] when guys get first hits," Krauss said. "Some older guys that are at those levels grab a random ball and mess with it. Put the wrong name, the wrong date on there. Once I got that, I had a good feeling of what it was. That's what I was hoping -- especially when I saw the name was spelled wrong. I said, 'OK, they got me there.'"
While defacing a fake first hit ball is a time-honored tradition in baseball, fortunately, it's also standard practice to take good care of the actual keepsake. Sitting side by side in Krauss' locker are both balls -- the fake one and the real one. Both serve as a reminder about how nice it is to get that first hit out of the way.
"There was some relief, kind of like the monkey's off the back," Krauss said. "It's not hanging over your head where you're anticipating or trying too much to do that. Now that it's out of the way, I can go back to doing what I do and helping the team come out on top."
Twenty-five years ago, Biggio debuted with Astros
HOUSTON -- Twenty-five years ago -- June 26, 1988 -- a rookie catcher named Craig Biggio made his Major League debut with the Astros. He caught starting pitcher Jim Deshaies and reliever Larry Andersen, who combined to shut out the Giants, 6-0.
It's highly likely Biggio has a pretty clear recollection of that day, given it was his first big league game.
But Deshaies, now a television analyst for the Cubs, said he doesn't remember a lot about it.
"Had I known I was throwing to a future Hall of Famer, I would have focused more," he said.
• Dallas Keuchel was informed before Tuesday's game that the Astros will skip his turn in the rotation, which is why he was available for long relief during the loss to the Cardinals in the opener. Keuchel will pitch Monday in the first game of a four-game set with the Rays. Two off-days within four days allowed Porter to tinker with the rotation. Bud Norris will pitch Friday, followed by Jordan Lyles on Saturday and Lucas Harrell on Sunday.
• According to Elias, Tuesday was the first time in franchise history that an Astros pitching staff allowed as many as 13 runs in a game while tallying more strikeouts (14) than runs allowed.
• Reliever Jose Cisnero has gone 2-0 with a 0.42 ERA in his last 10 outings, allowing one earned run over 21 2/3 innings with 23 strikeouts.