Union Leader dances around questions about Astros


MLB Player’s Association executive director Michael Weiner stopped by the Astros clubhouse yesterday as part of his tour around all 30 big league camps. Weiner addressed the players and answered a few questions, some of which are available for review at chron.com. Better yet- skip the propaganda and I’ll give you a summary, complete with editorial.

When asked about the Astros move to the American League, and if the union pushed for it, Weiner said that the union has always preferred a 15 teams in each league realignment and was “very pleased that the owners were ready to make the move to 15 & 15 at this time.” Weiner went on to say that the owners were ultimately responsible for deciding which team (or teams) would be moved. In short, MLBPA supported the move but wasn’t responsible for throwing Jim Crane and the Astros under the bus. This pretty much confirms what we already knew. Bud Selig and the “old boys club” ganged up on the new guy to get what everyone wanted.

When asked if the move, which will result in full-time interleague play, will eventually lead to the National League adopting the designated hitter rule Weiner replied “who knows what’s going to happen down the road?” Weiner managed to keep his agenda hidden- as everyone should know that the union would love nothing more than a blanket DH rule. Just like any other union they want higher wages for less work and the DH rule fits that description to a tee. Don’t let them fool you. The union has a tremendous amount of power and they WILL push for and get a blanket DH rule in the near future.

Weiner went on to add that expanded interleague play will make scheduling more difficult and that the owners were the ones to initiate the new rules regarding the draft and limits on international spending. When asked if he thought the new rules would make the league more competitive Weiner took a “let’s wait and see” stance. Realistically speaking, I don’t think the union supports any rule that puts a cap on how much money players can be paid. On the other hand, I think you’d be hard pressed to find a fan that thinks the players don’t make enough money.

On the diamond today the Astros were 4-3 winners against the Cards. Astros starter J.A. Happ pitched four innings (and only one of them was terrible). Prospect Paul Clemens pitched the final four innings of the game, throwing an amazing 27 strikes in 27 pitches including six strikeouts. Brian Bogusevic broke out of his spring doldrums by collecting a pair of hits in four trips to the plate. Brett Wallace also had two hits and drove in the winning run.

In other news, the Astros signed former Oakland A’s catcher Landon Powell to a minor league contract. Powell gives the Astros an extra hand behind the plate to help handle the large number of pitchers still in camp. Zach Duke is scheduled to start tomorrow’s game against the Blue Jays and Jordan Lyles will pitch in a minor league game.