6/18/2013 9:50 P.M. ET
Norris appealing base hit ruling from previous start
By Chris Abshire / MLB.com
HOUSTON -- Astros starter Bud Norris is appealing a base hit ruling from the White Sox four-run sixth inning, he said Tuesday. He hopes the play will be ruled an error, instead.
With two outs and runners on first and second, Chicago's Conor Gillaspie poked a grounder to second baseman Jose Altuve, but pulled first baseman Carlos Pena off the bag. Norris ran over to cover, but he couldn't snag the ball thrown slightly behind him.
"I missed the play," Norris lamented. "It's my error and it hurt and affected the outcome of the game. If I make that play, we don't give up the runs. I just want an accurate scoring of the game."
But changing the play from a hit to an error would also make the three runs Norris subsequently allowed become unearned instead of earned. It would lower his ERA from 3.64 to 3.34.
Norris said that's not part of his motivation for trying to get the ruling altered.
"Obviously, the game's already been played so you're not changing the outcome," he said. "I just think it could have been called differently."
Norris said he's appealed "several" calls over the last three years, winning a few of them.
"It's out of my hands now," the righty said. "I'm entitled to the review as a player and that's why we have a Player's Union. It's not a big deal, not the end of the world, but I felt it should be looked at for the sake of getting it right."
Astros acquire Minor League pitcher for F. Martinez
HOUSTON -- Outfielder Fernando Martinez, who appeared in 52 games for the Astros over the past two seasons, was sent to the Yankees in a trade on Tuesday. The Astros acquired right-handed pitcher Charles Basford, who will report to rookie-league Tri-City.
Martinez, who was at Triple-A Oklahoma City, hit .182 with one homer and three RBIs in 11 games with the Astros this year before being designated for assignment. He batted .237 with six homers and 14 RBIs last year for Houston, but had trouble staying healthy.
Basford, a 37th-round pick by the Yankees last year, made his first appearance of the season Monday for Staten Island and allowed four hits, including a homer, in two innings. The 22-year-old right-hander was drafted out of Samford University.
A former top prospect of the Mets who was claimed off waivers prior to the 2012 season by Houston, Martinez battled for a spot in the Astros' outfield to start the season, but wound up beginning the season on the disabled list.
Martinez in February was among five baseball players connected to a South Florida clinic that's been linked to performance-enhancing drugs, according to an ESPN "Outside the Lines" report.
Maxwell makes return to Astros in right field
HOUSTON -- Outfielder Justin Maxwell made his return to the Astros Tuesday night, but he's got a new home after missing eight weeks with a fractured left hand.
Maxwell started in right field against the Brewers, a short ways from his former center field stomping grounds, where he was the Houston starter before his April 23 injury.
"I'm not disappointed at all about playing right," Maxwell said. "I played all three outfield positions last year, so it definitely helped. I got used to what you need everywhere."
A "Welcome Back" banner greeted Maxwell at his locker, courtesy of Brandon Barnes, his replacement in center. Maxwell said the two talked nearly every day, and there are no negative feelings about not getting the marquee spot back full-time.
"It's great, because Brandon and I definitely pride ourselves in playing great defense and doing it together if we can," Maxwell said. "I'll do everything I can in right field or wherever [Astros manager Bo Porter] puts me."
Porter said Barnes and Maxwell will likely split time at center field, but Maxwell will be an everyday starter, no matter what position he plays.
"I actually love the fact we have two center fielders playing in the outfield," Porter said. "If you look at the good outfields in baseball, you usually have two guys that cover a lot of ground. We have two guys that are more than capable of playing center field every day. Both will get playing time. There will be times Maxwell will see center and days we want Barnes there."
Maxwell said the injury to his hand healed fully and shouldn't be a lingering issue. If anything, Maxwell's rehab assignment was hampered more by stomach ailments and food poisoning than any hand issues.
"It feels good, about as good as it can be," Maxwell said of the hand. "It actually felt great since I went back to Florida [to rehab] on May 29. Since then, I've just slowly been getting my timing back. It's a good feeling to be back in the best ballpark in baseball, and I don't take it for granted."
Astros option Paredes to Triple-A Oklahoma City
HOUSTON -- One player's promotion is usually another player's demotion, and Jimmy Paredes was on the unfortunate end of Justin Maxwell's return to the big league roster.
The Astros optioned Paredes down to Triple-A Oklahoma City after Monday's 4-2 loss to clear roster room, but he received some consolation from teammate and locker neighbor Carlos Pena.
"The main message was in life, and specifically in baseball, it's not about how well you do or the results," Pena said. "The most important thing is how much you can withstand and still persevere. Whomever can take the most punches will be the ones that stick around. Embrace the difficulties, I told him."
Paredes -- whose English skills are still spotty -- was an affable, if quiet, member of the Houston clubhouse. Many players, including Pena, said his presence will be missed.
"I like him a lot, because he's a kid with a good heart and a great work ethic," Pena said. "We all want him to succeed. I became close to him, because how could you not with the type of person he is. He's so friendly, so engaging. He's polite and respectful. He's got these incredible qualities about him. It was a privilege to get close to him."
The stint marked Paredes' third Major League stint, though perhaps his least successful despite starting 29 games. He hit .190 after being called up on May 6, nearly 50 points below his career average, and recorded just one hit in his final 21 at-bats.
Pena, now in his 13th season at the Major League level, said it's still tough to handle baseball's constant roster turnover.
"It never gets easy," Pena said. "You may become more aware of the situations so they may not surprise you. It's always painful to see a teammate go, to see someone's dreams put on hold. We all need to be sensitive to that. I appreciate Jimmy and want him to do well. It is a setback, but in reality it can be a stepping stone. It will equip him for a stronger comeback."
Chris Abshire is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.