HOUSTON -- Former Astros pitcher Mike Scott, who provided one of the greatest moments in franchise history when he tossed a no-hitter against the Giants to clinch the National League West title in 1986, threw out the ceremonial first pitch Friday as part of the Astros' Flashback Friday promotion.
The Astros, as part of their 50th anniversary, have brought back a former player to throw out the first pitch prior to each Friday home game this year. Scott won 110 games for the Astros from 1983-91 and had his No. 33 retired in 1992.
"I like coming back," said Scott, who lives in California and spends his time playing golf and cheering on the Anaheim Ducks. "I don't get back here as much as I'd like to. I loved playing here, I loved living here, but it's always good to come back."
Scott, who began his career with the New York Mets, was 110-81 with a 3.30 ERA as an Astro from 1983-90, winning the NL Cy Young Award in 1986 when he led the Majors in strikeouts (306), innings pitched (275 1/3) and ERA (2.22). He became the first player from a losing team to win National League Championship Series MVP honors in '86, and in 1989 became Houston's fourth 20-game winner when he posted a 20-10 record.
Fick will be used as Astros' long man
HOUSTON -- Astros manager Brad Mills hasn't had what would be categorized as a long reliever at his disposal this year, but that's changed with the arrival of Chuckie Fick. Fick was acquired by the Astros off waivers from the Cardinals on Friday, putting the Astros' 40-man roster at 40.
To make room for Fick, the Astros optioned right-hander Enerio Del Rosario to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
"I've never laid eyes on Chuckie, but I spent the afternoon watching film on him," said Mills, who played with his dad, Chuck Fick, with the Expos. "I like the sink on his ball and how he throws across his body. He's a tall, slender kid. It will be interesting."
The Astros' bullpen was terrific the first two months of the season before the heavy workload caught up with them, and in the past week they've seen closer Brett Myers and reliever Brandon Lyon shipped off via trade. Fick could eat some much-needed innings.
"I've said this many times, in the National League your long guy rarely goes over two innings, and sometimes you can stretch him to three," he said. "I think that's how we will kind of use him right now and see how that goes going forward."
Fick, 26, made two appearances for the Cardinals this season in May, posting no record and a 5.40 ERA. He's spent the majority of this season with Triple-A Memphis, going 1-1 record with one save and a 4.68 ERA in 42 relief appearances. The Cardinals designated him for assignment on Wednesday.
A 15th-round selection by current Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow when he was with the Cardinals in 2007, Fick has posted a 23-17 record with five saves and a 3.35 ERA in six seasons (2007-12) in the Cardinals' Minor League system.
Toe injury keeps Cordero out on Friday
HOUSTON -- Closer Francisco Cordero was expected to be out of action for the second game in a row on Friday. Cordero was unavailable Thursday after throwing nearly 60 pitches in blowing a pair of saves in consecutive outings, and manager Brad Mills said Friday the veteran had a sprained toe.
"It came up after his last outing," Mills said. "We knew about it [Thursday], but he was shut down mainly because of his usage. He's going to at least need one more day to make sure it's better. Everyone else should be good to go."
Cordero, acquired last week from the Blue Jays, took over as closer for Brett Myers and has posted a 23.14 ERA in three games with Houston. He allowed three runs in the ninth inning on Tuesday and Wednesday in losses to the Reds.
Wilton Lopez, who's 3-0 with a 2.61 ERA, is the most likely candidate to fill in as closer while Cordero is out. Lopez has not allowed a run in 29 of his 37 appearances, and ranks first among relievers with a 1.18 walks per nine innings ratio.
Starting pitcher Armando Galarraga, who will make his Astros debut on Saturday, didn't join the team on Friday, as his wife gave birth to a baby. Galarraga was called up from Triple-A Oklahoma to take the spot in the rotation once occupied by Wandy Rodriguez, who was traded to the Pirates and will pitch against the Astros on Saturday.
Shortstop Jed Lowrie, who's been on the disabled list since July 15 with a sprained ankle and an injury to his nerve, is scheduled to get the brace off his knee on Wednesday. He won't travel with the team to Milwaukee and Atlanta next week, remaining in Houston to continue therapy. He will be out another four weeks.