Notes: Milestone watch for Biggio

Astros notes: Milestone watch for Biggio

DETROIT -- Craig Biggio had the day off on Wednesday while his right shoulder continues to heal. The next time he plays, presumably in the Astros' series opener against the Texas Rangers on Friday, Biggio has a good chance to pass Babe Ruth once again.

"Being a part of history and tradition, it's something that's a wonderful feeling," Biggio said. "To have your name associated with one of the greatest players of all time, coming up on Babe and passing him in hits, it's very humbling. You don't play this game for any personal records or numbers or anything like that, but you play the game long enough and it's kind of crazy to have your name associated with some of these people."

Recently the Smithtown, N.Y., native surpassed Ruth's career doubles mark of 506 on the all-time list.

"The Babe Ruth [doubles mark] was one where we passed him in doubles when we were in New York City. I went out and took my boys and we took a picture of Monument Park with Babe Ruth's statue," Biggio said. "Babe Ruth is baseball -- just the way he played the game, loved the kids, associated with the kids -- you have an opportunity to have your name with him again, it's pretty special."

Now the next time Houston's 18-year veteran gets a hit, he will equal Ruth's 2,872 hits in four fewer seasons.

"I've always had to work at [hitting]," Biggio said. "Nothing ever really came natural. I think I've been willing to make changes during the course of my career. When I first got here I didn't hit like I do now. Then I changed to some leg kick thing I had for about 12 years, and three years ago we changed again. Just being a student of the game and paying attention, being willing to make some changes and try different things, I think a lot of things have helped me."

Midway through his second season of managing Biggio, manager Phil Garner appreciates the way his player handles the game on a daily basis.

"I think his greatest asset is to adapt, adjust and overcome," Garner said. "He's sort of done it without a lot of fanfare. When we go into a stadium, you don't hear the hype that you do with a Roger Clemens or even a Barry Bonds, but every time he gets a double he's passed some guy."

Garner suspended: Garner was as taken aback as anyone after he received word of his one-game suspension. In fact, he wasn't even the first person to know about the ruling stemming from Monday's ejection.

"I was surprised they announced it during the game today," Garner said. "I didn't even know about it until [after the game.]"

First base umpire CB Bucknor ejected Garner in the seventh inning of Houston's 10-4 loss in the series opener at Comerica Park after Garner came out to argue Bucknor's call on Lance Berkman's one-out ground ball. Apparently Berkman thought he had beaten Tigers second baseman Placido Polanco's throw and delivery to Chris Shelton, but first base umpire Bucknor ruled he had not. Berkman then threw his helmet, exchanging words with Bucknor.

Contrary to Wednesday's early reports, Garner had not accepted the suspension.

"That's baloney," Garner said. "I did not accept it and I'm going to appeal it."

Ensberg's day off: Another player who looks to benefit from an extra day of rest was Morgan Ensberg, who finished Tuesday's contest 0-for-3 with an error, as his batting average fell to .241.

Ensberg was a 2005 All-Star, batted .283 and finished sixth in the National League in home runs with 36. Nevertheless, this year has been difficult.

"He's a streaky hitter. Some [good hitters are streaky] some aren't," Garner said. "Some of it's genetic, some of it's mental, some of that's due to the swing. Some guys have a swing that has very few moving parts in it ... There's all sorts of possibilities. I think as long as we play this game there will be good hitters who go through bad streaks."

Nieve returns to Comerica Park: Almost a year after he threw two-thirds of an inning of scoreless relief for the victorious World Futures squad in last year's All-Star Futures Game in Detroit, Fernando Nieve came out of the Astros bullpen on Tuesday night to face the Tigers.

Nieve pitched an inning and gave up the first home run of Alexis Gomez' career but was grateful for the chance to come back to the Motor City.

"When I was here, I thought I was close to playing in the big leagues and I wanted to play in that game like I'd be here in the big leagues," Nieve said. "Now that I have the opportunity to be here and we came back here, I feel so happy to play a game here but now in the big leagues."

Minor update: Three of Houston's five Minor League teams in action won on Tuesday night. First-place Round Rock (Triple-A) took its game with Oklahoma (Rangers affiliate) on a game-winning solo home run from center fielder Charlton Jimerson in the ninth. ... Corpus Christi (Double-A) won its third straight game, 7-3, over the Springfield Cardinals. ... A trio of Trio City (SS-Class A) pitchers held Lowell (Red Sox affiliate) to five hits in a 5-1 triumph.

Coming up: The Astros have an off-day on Thursday before Roy Oswalt starts against the Rangers on Friday. He goes against Vicente Padilla (6-5, 4.76 ERA) at 7:35 p.m. CT at Ameriquest Field in Arlington.

Sam Miller is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.