Astros option struggling LHP J.A. Happ to minors

The Houston Astros optioned left-hander J.A. Happ to Triple-A

Oklahoma City before Saturday night’s game against the Milwaukee

Brewers.

Happ, who came to Houston in the trade that sent Roy Oswalt to

Philadelphia in July 2010, is 4-14 this season and has struggled

with a 6.26 ERA in 22 starts. He has allowed five or more runs in

eight straight starts.

”I’m disappointed,” Happ said. ”You never expect to be sent

down. Hopefully I can go down and clear my head a little bit and

get this thing figured out sooner than later. It’s way too late to

start feeling sorry for yourself. I’m going to go down there and do

what I’ve been trying to do. I’ve been working as hard as I

can.”

Houston also placed reliever Enerio Del Rosario on the 15-day

disabled list with a strained right shoulder and called up

left-handed reliever Wesley Wright and righty reliever Jeff

Fulchino from Oklahoma City.

Happ has lost 10 of his last 11 decisions, with his last win

being July 19 against Washington. He threw four innings Friday

against the Brewers in an 8-1 loss, allowing six runs and seven

hits.

Houston manager Brad Mills said Happ needs to regain confidence

in Oklahoma City.

”He needs to get where he needs to be to help us,” Mills said.

”Everybody knows and he knows his stuff is good enough to pitch

here and pitch well here. It’s just that he needs to get that

confidence to be able to throw it and let the ball work for

him.”

Happ’s turn in the rotation is scheduled to come up again on

Wednesday, and both Mills and Astros general manager Ed Wade said

the team has options for who might start, including right-hander

Aneury Rodriguez, who is 0-4 with a 4.78 ERA in 30 games, including

eight starts.

Happ was 5-4 with a 3.75 ERA in 13 starts last season for

Houston.

Wade said the move was hard to make.

”This was something that we contemplated a couple different

times about what is the best way to get J.A. back on track,” he

said. ”It was not an easy decision. At the end of the day, we

thought maybe this was the best action to get him out of this

environment and get him to a point where he can relax and make his

pitches.”