8/14/2014 8:49 P.M. ET
Keuchel invites former host parents to Friday's start
By Brian McTaggart / MLB.com
BOSTON -- Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel's first career appearance at Fenway Park on Friday will be extra special for him. In addition to his parents, who are flying in from Oklahoma, he's bringing the host parents he stayed with for two years while playing in the Cape Cod League.
Keuchel played two seasons in the summer wooden-bat league and lived at the home of Nancy and Paul Lambalot both times. Keuchel promised them if he ever got to pitch at Fenway Park, he would make sure they would be at the game.
One of the customs in the Cape Cod League is for local families to house the players during the summer.
"It should be special," Keuchel said. "They were the best host parents I could possibly get. I'm very grateful for both of them, and some of the family will be up here tomorrow."
Keuchel went 2-4 with a 3.20 ERA for Wareham in the 2007 Cape Cod League, leading the league with 59 innings pitched after his freshman season at the University of Arkansas. In '08, he was 1-3 with a 2.63 ERA for Wareham and was forth in the Cape Cod League with 54 2/3 innings.
"I know they [hosted] another teammate of mine at Arkansas, [former Astros draft pick] Brett Eibner, and he's with the Royals, so hopefully he gets up here and he can bring them, too," Keuchel said. "I think I'm the first one they've ever had [pitch at Fenway]. It should be special for both of us."
Presley taking few days off during rehab stint
BOSTON -- Outfielder Alex Presley, who's on a Minor League rehab stint at Class A Tri-City while recovering from an oblique injury, has been given a couple of days off. He went 0-for-3 in his first game on Tuesday and was pulled from the lineup Wednesday when he felt discomfort.
Astros manager Bo Porter said Presley wasn't going to play Thursday or perhaps Friday.
"We're going to re-evaluate him after today and make a decision for the rest of the rehab," Porter said. "He didn't have a setback, but he had some discomfort. The trainer just made a decision of, 'You know what? We're going to go ahead and scratch him and give him a couple of more days of treatment and see how it goes.'"
Presley has been on the disabled list since he strained his right oblique swinging the bat July 7 in Arlington. The Astros were hoping to get him back at some point during this weekend's series against the Red Sox, but that's up in the air.
Clemens inducted to Red Sox Hall of Fame
BOSTON -- Roger Clemens, who's a special assistant to Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow, was inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame on Thursday. Astros players were on the top step of the visiting dugout at Fenway clapping when Clemens came onto the field pregame to accept his plaque.
Clemens was inducted along with Nomar Garciaparra, Pedro Martinez and long-time Red Sox radio announcer Joe Castiglione. Each threw out a ceremonial first pitch. Clemens also threw batting practice to sons, Koby and Kacy, on Thursday afternoon.
"It's always fun for me to come back here," Clemens said. "When you have a ceremony like this, you get to reflect on a lot of people that helped you get here."
Clemens won 192 games for the Red Sox between 1984-96, winning three American League Cy Young Awards and one Most Valuable Player Award.
Clemens said he got a little emotional during a ceremony earlier Thursday in which they showed him getting a ball from a 20-win season. The highlight reel cut off before they showed shots of his grandmother and mother, who were there to support him.
"Very strong women that played a big part in me being here," Clemens said.
While Clemens said his first 20-strikeout game was his one of his fondest memories with the Red Sox, he did take some time Thursday to reflect on his three-year stint with the Astros. While speaking on-air with Castiglione early in the game, he talked about the Astros' 18-inning win over the Braves in Game 4 of the 2005 National League Division Series in which he threw three innings in relief -- his first relief appearance in more than 20 years.
"I'm very fortunate the second or third time I came out of retirement, I'm glad I did to pitch at home, because it was three of the better years I ever had," Clemens said. "As you guys know, we flipped a football town into a baseball town for a couple of years. It was special."
Clemens did some scouting for the Astros prior June's First-Year Player Draft and has players over to his home in the offseason to throw. It's all part of his duties with the club.
"They're big leaguers, and they just need to make sure their mind is in the right place," Clemens said. "That's what's going to keep them here and allow them to have staying power."
Despite being on DL, Springer enjoys trip to Boston
BOSTON -- George Springer's homecoming wasn't the kind of storybook return he would have liked, but the rookie outfielder still managed to enjoy his time at Fenway Park as a Major Leaguer.
Springer, who grew up in New Britain, Conn., as a huge Red Sox fan, has been on the disabled list since July with a left quad strain and recently was told by a doctor to take an additional two weeks off to help him recuperate. That meant he would sit out the team's only trip to Fenway Park this year.
"It's cool," said Springer, who has never played at Fenway. "Obviously it's under a little bit of a different circumstance, but to be here as a player for the first time is special to me."
Springer, who still had more than a dozen ticket requests from friends and family, said his favorite all-time memory from the countless games he attended as a kid when a walk-off grand slam by Mo Vaughn, who was Springer's favorite player.
"I've been here, who knows how many times," Springer said.
As far as missing out on a chance play at Fenway, Springer is just bummed about not playing at all.
"I'm a guy who likes to play every day, so this is obviously tough," he said.
Houston mayor takes in Astros' game at Fenway
BOSTON -- Houston mayor Annise Parker attended Thursday's game at Fenway Park as a guest of Boston mayor Marty Walsh. Parker, who's an Astros fan, is in town for the National Conference of Democratic Mayors policy conference, an organization of which she serves as chair.
Parker, who went to Rice University, started the day "with a bunch of plasma physicists at MIT, unrelated to anything else," before taking in the game.
"They wanted to show off their lab," she said. "Way over my head, but it was interesting."
Parker plans to meet with Walsh early Friday to talk about international economic development before flying home.
"I always try to find out if there's some kind of game going on," she said. "Last week, I was in New York. I was at the Yankees-Indians game, so I didn't actually know the Astros were playing until I got here. It worked out."
As far as the Astros goes, Parker feels the pain of another down season.
"I appreciate the investment in the farm teams ... and it is the way to build a baseball team for the long term," she said. "And I am excited that maybe we'll be able to watch. I'm one of those Houstanians who can't watch at home [because of limited TV penetration]."
As a child, Parker's dad would take her to the Astros and sit in the bleachers and watch the Astros.
"I get better seats now," she said.