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09/27/08 8:02 PM ET

Cooper expresses appreciation to club

Astros skipper holds meeting to thank players, staff

HOUSTON -- Manager Cecil Cooper held a 15-minute meeting before batting practice on Saturday to express his appreciation to his team and coaching staff for the effort they put forth in 2008.

The Astros were eliminated from playoff contention on Friday, and after the game, Cooper said he'd reserve a speech until the next day. During the meeting, Cooper pointed out a special appreciation for the veteran players who helped maintain a professional environment, even when times were tough.

"All the veteran guys have been a plus for me," Cooper said. "As a young manager, it would have been much more difficult having to deal with all the things we've had to go through if we don't have those guys. It would be tough because then it's all on you as a staff."

Toward the end of the meeting, the team presented a snowblower as a going-away present to head athletic trainer Dave Labossiere, who is retiring following Sunday's game. The snowblower will come in handy in a few months, when winter hits his new hometown of Steamboat Springs, Colo.

"I can't tell you how good that is," Labossiere said. "I've been wanting one of those. It was totally unexpected."

The front office recognized Labossiere and his family during a pregame ceremony Saturday, presenting them with a Canon EOS Digital SLR camera and lens package.

Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.