2011 - Timeline
from This Date in Astros History
Jan 05 - Jeff Bagwell draws 41.7% of the vote in his first year on the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot, which sets off a debate about Bagwell's credentials and suspicions of steroid use. Bagwell insists he's never used them and no accuser has comes forward with any proof yet that doesn't seem to be good enough for some writers who declare their opposition.
Mar 02 - Jason Castro tears up his knee trying to avoid a tag while running to first base. Expected to be the starting catcher, the former first-rounder later has foot surgery after rehabbing late in the year.
Mar 15 - Brett Wallace drives in seven during a 14-8 donnybrook against the Orioles in Sarasota. Wallace has four hits, including a grand slam homer and a pair of doubles. Had he been allowed to bat in the ninth inning, there were two more runners aboard for the first baseman to drive home.
Mar 26 - X-rays reveal that shortstop Clint Barmes has a broken left hand after it was hit the night before in an exhibition game against the Yankees. The initial diagnosis is 4-to-6 weeks of healing needed, which will cause him to miss the first month of the season.
Apr 26 - After 11 seasons as one of the top Astro hitters in history, Lance Berkman returns for the first time as a St. Louis Cardinal. Welcomed with mostly applause, Berkman rips a go-ahead double in the ninth only to see Houston bounce back for a 6-5 triumph. Bill Hall singles through the drawn-in infield for the game-winner. Brett Wallace, Berkman's heir at first base, has three hits. Despite being last in the NL Central, the 9-14 Astros are just three games out of first.
May 16 - The Astros formally announce the sale of the ballclub to a group of investors led by Houston shipping magnate Jim Crane. The reported cost is $680 million dollars, the second highest amount to date for a Major League franchise. The sale awaits the approval of the other owners before becoming official. Elsewhere, the Astros drop a 3-2 decision to the Braves to sport a 15-26 record - worst in the National League.
May 31 - Jordan Lyles, the 20-year-old top prospect, makes his big league debut an impressive one. He blanks the Cubs for seven innings but his own throwing error puts him behind, 3-1, after eight. The Astros respond with six runs in the top of the ninth for a 7-3 stunner. Brett Wallace and Hunter Pence have three hits each, including a homer. Fernando Rodriguez gets his first big league win, not Lyles.
Jun 08 - Bud Norris takes a no-hitter into the seventh inning against the Cardinals when ex-Astro Lance Berkman spoils the bid with a homer in the 4-1 victory. Norris allows just that one hit over eight frames. Off the field, the Astros conclude their summer draft by taking relief pitcher Buddy Lamothe of San Jacinto Junior College. Lamothe had been paralyzed in a rafting accident the month before and the selection is seen as a goodwill gesture.
Aug 03 - After deadline trades send Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn away for prospects, the rebuilding Astros take 2-of-3 from Cincinnati, including a 5-4 victory that is the first major league win for 20-year-old Jordan Lyles. Outfielder J.D. Martinez, called up from AA less than a week before, smashes a homer and double to drive in four. 21-year-old Jose Altuve and 22-year-old Jimmy Paredes add two hits apiece.
Aug 16 - Brian Bogusevic belts a walk-off grand slam that stuns Chicago, 6-5, to snap a seven-game losing skid. Carlos Marmol is the victim. It's just the second big league homer for Bogusevic, making Aneury Rodriguez a winning pitcher for the first time in his major league career.
Sep 17 - With a 2-1 loss to the Cubs at Wrigley Field, the Astros suffer the first 100-loss season in their 50-year history. For trivia buffs, the decisive run came in the fourth when rookie Bryan LaHair homered off rookie Henry Sosa. Houston would finish the season with the worst record in the majors at 56-106.
Nov 17 - MLB awards the Astros franchise to a group led by businessman Jim Crane for $610 million and his agreement that the club would be reassigned to the American League West for play when the new MLBPA collective bargaining agreement begins in 2013.
Dec 07 - Jeff Luhnow is named the General Manager, replacing interim GM Dave Gottfried. Luhnow, signed away from the St.Louis Cardinals, fills the front office with sabermetric types and decides to tear the organization down to the bare bones before rebuilding it into the group that won the Worlds Championship in 2017.
Dec 08 - Jeff Luhnow's first player move as General Manager is to select reliever Rhiner Cruz from the Mets to open the Rule V draft. But his best move comes later that day when he drafts pitcher Marco Duarte from the Rockies organization and then swaps him to Boston for infielder Marwin Gonzalez. The switch-hitting utility player becomes a key member of the 2017 World Championship squad.