Notes: Wells irks Astros

Notes: Wells irks Astros

WASHINGTON -- Red Sox pitcher David Wells is as well-known for his often unfiltered mouth as he is for his accomplishments on the mound, so it should come as no surprise that he again made headlines for making comments that hinge on the controversial.

Rarely do the non-Roger Clemens stories coming out of New York and Boston trickle down to Houston, but Wells' mention of Craig Biggio while engaging reporters in a converation about Barry Bonds and the steroid issue forced the Houston second baseman into an unwanted spotlight.

The question posed to Wells, according to the Boston Globe: "Are there guys, power guys, who you say there's no way they're juicing, or is everybody under suspicion?"

Wells: "Now everybody is, I would think. You see a little itty bitty guy hitting 30 home runs, like (David) Dellucci, I guess. How many home runs did he hit last year? Twenty-nine? Has he ever done that in his career? The numbers have gone down tremendously since all this has come up. You know, I know Dave. I've never suspected him of doing 'em, so, you know, it's something that, who else, who else could be? [Craig] Biggio, he can hit the ball, he can make good contact. I guess if you've been around the game enough and know the strike zone. It's like Wade Boggs, he never hit home runs, but he could if he wanted to. He could see the ball well and he could put the bat on the ball well. BP, he was unbelievable. He could go deep at will.

"But to me ... suspicion is on everybody. There are a lot of guys who aren't doing 'em, there are a lot of guys who did do 'em who aren't doing 'em now, and you've got human growth hormone, too, so, and that's undetected. So I'm not sure everybody's on that."

Biggio, asked to address Wells' comments after Sunday's game, kept his answer brief.

"There's nothing to comment on," he said. "I'm not going to get into a shouting match back and forth with somebody that wants to throw your name out for something.

"It makes you a little angry, if someone wants to throw your name under the bus like that. You work hard your whole career and somebody splats something like that out there ... I can splat out a lot of things if I want to. I'll take the high road and move on."

Garner expressed his displeasure toward Wells and his comments.

"It's not right to bring up guys' names who have never been associated with anything like that," Garner said. "There's never been a question about Biggio doing anything [steroid-related]. There's never been a question.

"I think David Wells has been a great competitor. He is a good competitor. But I think he's made a mistake to drop some names. Stick to the people who have been associated with people doing this stuff. Stick to the things you may have some personal experience about. To call in other people's names just because guys are having some pretty good years, you're tainting people's names. People tend to use guilt by association. That's what my concern is."

Garner suggested Wells' comments may be ego-driven, too.

"Guys can't stand not being on the front page," Garner said. "Their lives are so uninteresting, a lot of times they've got to tell stories on somebody else."

Better view? Garner and right-hander Russ Springer, both serving suspensions Monday night, weren't sure where they were going to watch the game between the Astros and Nationals. Rules prohibit them from occupying anything considered a "team area" during the game.

Springer, whose four-game suspension ends Monday, toyed with the idea of watching the game from the press box. Instead, he sat in the stands -- section 214, row 12.

"It was the first Major League game I've ever seen without a uniform on," he said.

How was the view?

"I'd rather be in uniform."

Need some work: Garner was fairly certain Dan Wheeler would pitch in Monday's game, considering it had been five days (four games) since the right-hander's last appearance.

Wheeler is 0-2 with a 10.50 ERA over seven appearances this month. The high ERA is largely due to one bad outing in Los Angeles on May 9, during which he allowed four runs over two-thirds of an inning. He's recorded scoreless outings four times in May. In his last appearance in May 16, he allowed one run over two frames in a loss to the Giants.

Wheeler's lack of playing time is more a reflection on his team, considering the Astros entered Monday's game having lost 11 of 16. As the setup man, he usually pitches when the team's ahead, which hasn't been the case much lately.

"I haven't pitched very often," Wheeler said. "I don't know if I haven't been needed, or if it's not the right situation. I'm not complaining, because I understand at any given time, I will throw six out of seven. I'm ready for whatever."

More lineup fodder: Garner's ever-changing lineup had a unique twist on Monday, when he slotted backup catcher Eric Munson into the five-hole for the opener in Washington. Preston Wilson hit sixth and Jason Lane hit seventh.

"I'm hoping he drives in four runs tonight," Garner said of the left-handed hitting Munson. "He's been taking some good swings. I think he's a threat. I've had him in the bottom of the lineup. Let's put him ahead of a couple big guys that are also threats, and see if he does anything."

Coming up: The four-game series in Washington between the Nationals and Astros continues on Tuesday, beginning at 6:05 p.m. CT. Right-hander Fernando Nieve (1-2, 5.94 ERA) will face Nats righty Ramon Ortiz (1-4, 6.15 ERA).

Alyson Footer is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.