Sauerbeck among five cut by Astros

Sauerbeck among five cut by Astros

JUPITER, Fla. -- The Astros trimmed five more players from their Spring Training roster on Monday, optioning right-handers Miguel Asencio and Paul Estrada and infielder Brooks Conrad to Triple-A Round Rock while reassigning left-hander Scott Sauerbeck and catcher Lou Santangelo to Minor League camp.

The Astros hope Sauerbeck will take the Minor League assignment and remain within the organization.

"We hope he stays because we think he can help us at some point this season," general manager Tim Purpura said.

The Astros were looking for someone who could be more than a one-batter situational lefty, and Sauerbeck was hoping to prove to the club he could handle a bigger assignment. He may do so down the road, but, according to Purpura, he's not there yet.

"He doesn't want to be a situational lefty," Purpura said. "He wants to be able to handle lefties and righties. He hasn't shown command of the strike zone when he's facing righties. He does a nice job with lefties. Against right-handers, he's not throwing his breaking pitches over for strikes. He feels it'll come in time."

Sauerbeck, who allowed six runs over 6 1/3 innings this spring, was the only veteran player cut on Monday. The others are prospects who could be a part of the club's long-term plans down the road.

All four made a positive impression on manager Phil Garner.

On Asencio: "If he uses that slider and the split and gets to be a little more consistent, he's got some tools. I like his stuff. I like his arm. I'd like him to throw more and essentially that's what we felt like he needed, to get out and start throwing some more. There's a chance he can help us, too."

On Conrad: "I wanted to see him play other positions because I think his entry to the big leagues as we stand right now would be in a utility role. I wanted to see him play the outfield and third base and I only had a chance [Monday]. He opened our eyes with his bat. He's a good hitter. [Triple-A manager] Jackie Moore's been raving about him the last couple of years. I was glad I got to see him this spring."

Spring Training
News and features:
• Woody pleased with latest outing:  350K
• Spring Training report: Bagwell  350K
• Astros Spring Training report:  350K
• Lidge talks with  350K
• Oswalt on Sunday's outing:  350K
• Woody on latest outing:  350K
Spring Training info: coverage  |  Schedule  |  Ballpark  |  Tickets

On Santangelo: "Good thrower, nice receiver. The guys liked throwing to him. He's got a little pop in his bat. That's a guy that might take this experience and all of a sudden really blossom this summer."

On Estrada: "Ooh man, he's really exciting. He's got a pitch that he can strike out anybody with when you're looking at a top quality reliever and even a potential closer down the road ... his fastball's good and he's got a strikeout pitch that he can throw for a strike. His split's outstanding. All three guys, we're excited about. They were a joy to have in camp. The good news is they can help us out somewhere."

The Astros now have 35 players in Major League camp, including 30 roster players and five non-roster invitees.

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