7/25/2014 8:18 P.M. ET
Astros hope Appel's latest start sign of things to come
By Mike Vernon / MLB.com
HOUSTON -- Mark Appel notched his second win for Class A Lancaster on Thursday night, much to the delight of Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow.
Appel's start was his first positive sign in some time, as the former No. 1 overall pick has struggled mightily this season, until Thursday, when he allowed two runs on five hits to lower his season ERA to 9.74. The seven-strikeout, no-walk night was what Luhnow has been waiting for.
"Anytime you're in the Minor Leagues, you're going to be getting advice from a lot of different people," Luhnow said. "We've tried to minimize the number of people that are giving Mark advice.
"Everybody has their own point of view on it. Really, the stuff hasn't changed that much. He's got good stuff. Lancaster is a tough place to pitch. There are nights when you can go out there and have your best stuff and still get hit around. The two factors that I look at more than anything are the strikeouts and walks, and if you look at that, he's consistently been about where he normally is."
An elder statesman in Houston, Petit called up
HOUSTON -- It's not that Gregorio Petit is old. It's just that he's been in an Astros organization that's played the youngest lineup in the Majors this season.
The Astros called up the 29-year-old on Friday to play in place of Marwin Gonzalez at shortstop. Gonzalez has a sore right hamstring keeping him out of the Astros' lineup, so Petit, who hasn't played a Major League game since 2009, got the callup from Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Petit had surgery on his right ACL in 2011, making him appreciate of his third career callup in a different way than his first two. After hitting .297 with 10 homers and 43 RBIs for Oklahoma City this season, Petit got his chance.
"When you're young, you're waiting for that shot, and you know at one point you might get it," Petit said. "Then age goes by, time goes by, I'm not 21 anymore, not 22 anymore, and I got knee surgery. I missed a year, and after that, I just decided to enjoy the game even more and take advantage of every opportunity."
The Astros optioned reliever Anthony Bass to Oklahoma City and moved reliever Matt Albers to the 60-day disabled list to make room on the 40-man roster for Petit. Albers has not thrown for the Astros since April 21 due to right shoulder tendinitis.
Gonzalez left Wednesday's game in the seventh inning with a sore hamstring and he started and played most of Thursday's game, but the Astros kept him out of the lineup Friday in a precautionary move to ensure he doesn't hurt the hamstring any worse.
"With Marwin, it's not something that has hindered him from being able to play day to day," manager Bo Porter said. "It's just that you're afraid that if you continue, he may end up blowing it, and now you're looking at least 15 days, if not more. Bringing in an extra guy to kind of give us a leeway and give him a couple days here and there. We feel like he's not in any jeopardy of missing 15 days."
Mike Vernon is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.