Astros-Rockies Preview

The Colorado Rockies have until Thursday to work out a deal with

the Houston Astros for Wandy Rodriguez, whom they claimed off

waivers Tuesday.

On Wednesday afternoon, they’ll get a personal audition.

Rodriguez takes the hill for what could be the final time in an

Astros uniform in this series finale at Coors Field, where he’ll

face the team he could soon be joining.

Rodriguez (9-9, 3.31 ERA) has pitched in 199 games – making 190

starts – over a seven-year major league career with the Astros

(42-87). His 200th appearance could be his final one with the

organization that signed him as a minor league free agent in

1999.

Shopped at the trade deadline but ultimately not moved,

Rodriguez on Tuesday was claimed on waivers by the Rockies (62-68),

who seem to be prepared to take on the $37 million remaining on the

right-hander’s contract through 2014.

The clubs have until 1 p.m. ET on Thursday to agree to a trade

involving personnel, or Houston could pull Rodriguez back and wait

until the offseason to revisit a trade where it wouldn’t have to

deal solely with Colorado. Also possible, but unlikely, is the

Astros letting him go directly to the Rockies in exchange for a

$20,000 waiver claim.

“It’s hard, because I’m thinking about what’s going on with me

right now, if they’re going to trade me, or do I stay?” Rodriguez

told the Astros’ official website. “This is hard, pitching

(Wednesday), because I don’t know what’s going on with me.”

That could make this start a de facto audition, though the

Rockies may not need any more evidence than a few of his recent

outings. Rodriguez hasn’t allowed a run in two of his last three

starts, holding San Francisco to five hits over eight innings in a

6-0 victory Friday.

Colorado’s players certainly seem intrigued with the club’s

latest target after landing veteran infielder Kevin Kouzmanoff from

Oakland on Tuesday.

“If we get Wandy, it’s going to be great for us,” outfielder

Carlos Gonzalez said. “He’s a good pitcher. He’s a great

competitor, and I’m sure if he comes here, he’ll be happy and ready

to help us.”

Colorado, which trails NL West-leading Arizona by 8 1/2 games,

won its fourth in a row Tuesday, getting five extra-base hits –

including Jonathan Herrera’s tiebreaking, two-run homer in the

seventh – in an 8-6 victory.

“The message is clear,” said Gonzalez, who has an eight-game RBI

streak in which he’s driven in 15. “We’re still alive. … I’m

really excited about the way we’re playing right now.”

Rodriguez is 1-2 with a 4.88 ERA in his last five starts versus

Colorado, but he’s fared well against the Rockies’ two best

hitters. Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki are a combined 1 for 12 off

Rodriguez, though Todd Helton is 11 for 25.

Aaron Cook (3-7, 5.23) gets the ball for Colorado coming off one

of his better outings of the season. The right-handed sinkerballer

gave up three runs over 7 2-3 innings last Wednesday against

Florida, with the only damage in his 12-5 victory coming on a pair

of eighth-inning homers.

Cook is 4-1 with a 3.30 ERA in nine career starts against

Houston, though he’ll be seeing much of the Astros’ young lineup

for the first time. Carlos Lee does have considerable experience

against Cook, going 4 for 17 with a homer.