After wasting another quality start by Roy Oswalt and losing the 7th straight game, the Astros summoned Hunter Pence from AAA Round Rock last night. Pence played in 22 games at Round Rock and had 29 hits, 10 doubles, 3 home runs and 19 runs batted in. He is batting .341 with an on base percentage of .398. Pence will make his major league debut tonight at Minute Maid Park as the starting centerfielder. Chris Burke, for now, will be an utility player. Lefty reliever Stephen Randolph was designated for assignment to make room for Pence on the roster.
Just bringing up Pence isn’t going to solve the Astros offensive woes. Phil Garner also hinted at another move–giving Mark Loretta more playing time. He didn’t elaborate on where Loretta would play most, but, with Biggio entrenched at 2nd base until he gets his 3000 hits and Everett’s glove being deemed more valuable at short stop, realistically, the only place Loretta will see more playing time would be at 3rd base. Does that mean Ensberg would be on the bench and Lane demoted to Round Rock? Or are they trying to trade Ensberg who seems to have started 2007 where he left off in 2006.
One thing is certain, by bringing up Pence at the end of April, the Astros are definitely trying to win and win now. It will be interesting to see if a trade or two are made in the next few weeks or if we see more youngsters called up from AAA to replace underperforming millionaires.