04/23/10 8:45 PM ET
Matsui feels OK but doesn't start
By Brian McTaggart / MLB.com
"The only reason I'm not saying he's 100 percent is he's not running around," Mills said. "I was talking to him earlier today, and both the doctors and trainers said he's fine. There's no limitations on Kaz tonight."
Jeff Keppinger and Matsui have been splitting time at second base, with Keppinger making his eighth start of the season Friday, matching the eight starts at second Matsui has made. Keppinger is hitting .500 against left-handers this year, so it made sense he started against Pittsburgh lefty Paul Maholm.
Matsui was hitting .107 through 15 games, including a career-worst 0-for-19 streak. Mills said Matsui remains a valuable asset off the bench because of his ability to switch-hit and handle the bat.
"That's a big weapon," he said.
Matsui missed more than a month of the 2005 season with the Mets after bruising his left knee when he fouled a ball off of himself.
Bazardo reinstated, outrighted to Triple-A
HOUSTON -- Right-hander Yorman Bazardo, who appeared in 10 games for the Astros last year and made six starts, was reinstated from the 15-day disabled list on Friday and outrighted to Triple-A Round Rock after clearing waivers.
Bazardo has three business days to decide to accept the assignment or reject it and become a free agent.
"We'd like him to stay in the organization," Astros general manager Ed Wade said. "We like his arm. Unfortunately, he couldn't get things going in Spring Training, and now that he's healthy again, we think he has a chance to help us at some point."
Bazardo, signed as a Minor League free agent last April, put up terrific numbers at Round Rock last year, going 9-6 with a 3.20 ERA in 23 games, including 20 starts. He was named a Pacific Coast League All-Star and was Round Rock's Pitcher of the Month in May.
The 25-year-old had his contract purchased Aug. 8 of last year, and couldn't duplicate his success with the Astros, going 1-3 with a 7.88 ERA, allowing 37 hits and 22 walks while striking out 17 in 32 innings. He strained his shoulder early in Spring Training and had been on a rehab assignment.
Myers can relate to Big Z
HOUSTON -- Astros pitcher Brett Myers understands what kind of challenge Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano faces in making the move to the bullpen from the starting rotation. Myers was a starter throughout his career in Philadelphia before spending 2007 in the bullpen.
Myers, who won 55 games as a starter between 2003-07, pitched 48 games out of the bullpen in 2007 and saved 21 games. He returned to the rotation the next season, and he split time between the bullpen and the rotation last season.
"For me, it was perfect, and I liked it," Myers said. "Especially when you came up as a starter and you have three or four pitches, most relievers have two pitches. You can pick which one is working for you on that night, and you can mix them all in so you can pick and choose from the bullpen which one is working better."
Myers said the one thing Zambrano has in his favor, much like himself, is a tough mentality.
"I've pitched against him, and he's definitely a bulldog and wants to take the ball every time, but it's a situation where you're out there and you try to let it out every time, and I know I had good success in the bullpen," he said. "It's one of those things. You're used to throwing one speed the whole time and now you're trying to let it fly every pitch.
"I only know one speed, and he only knows one speed, and that's 100 mph. Hopefully it works for him. That's a step he had to take to make the team better, and that's the reason I did it, too. We had guys and plenty of starters like they did, and maybe next year he'll come back and be a starter."
Astros host Girl Guides from UK
HOUSTON -- The Astros on Friday played host to 13 young Girl Guides between the ages of 16 and 22 from the United Kingdom who have been in Houston since Saturday after being stranded because of the volcano eruption in Iceland.
The Girl Guides, the UK's version of Girl Scouts, were invited onto the field to watch batting practice and met players Jason Michaels, Cory Sullivan and Chris Sampson. The Astros gave them caps, tickets and food coupons.
"Everyone's been so friendly and it's so lovely, and we just can't believe how wonderful it's been," said 18-year-old Elizabeth McLachlan of Suffolk, England.
The group, which is scheduled to return home Tuesday, was in Costa Rica as part of an event sponsored by World Association of Girl Scouts and Girl Guides and has been stranded in Houston since volcanic ash closed airspace above some of Europe.
"The Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council received a request to aid these young women when they arrived here in the U.S. and weren't able to continue on their trip to England," said Gina Murphy of the San Jacinto Council. "We've been entertaining them ever since. We put out the call to our volunteers that they were stranded here, and actually they were very well taken care of at their hotel with not a whole lot to do. Our volunteers arranged excursions for them."
The girls have been bowling, went to the movies, visited Galveston and Moody Gardens, local museums and, most importantly, spent six hours in a local Wal-Mart. The group will visit a Girl Scout camp in Conroe on Saturday.
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.