Cooper unhappy with fundamentals

Cooper unhappy with fundamentals

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Pickoffs and rundowns are usually practiced early in the spring, but Astros players may find themselves spending the morning of their final Spring Training home game on Wednesday going over those basic fundamentals.

After what Cecil Cooper witnessed during his team's 10-9 loss to the Tigers in Lakeland on Tuesday night, the skipper apparently feels a refresher course is in order.

"We're going to do it tomorrow," Cooper said. "We're going to do it all day if we have to do. We won't even hit. We'll just do it."

Cooper was unhappy about plenty of elements of Tuesday's game, but he was particularly disgusted with the botched rundown in the sixth inning involving most of his infielders.

"We can't even get a doggone batter in a rundown," Cooper said. "Three bad throws, not one. Three of them. Spring Training or no Spring Training, that's not very good. We have to be better that that."

Fielding gaffes aren't the only problem. Pitching was again an issue. Of six Houston pitchers, only two -- Runelvys Hernandez and Doug Brocail -- held the Tigers scoreless.

"I want to see clean innings," Cooper said. "This is a time when we should be seeing them -- crisp, clean innings. Yet we're hitting guys that are trying to bunt, walking guys on four pitches. ... This is not young kids doing this stuff. This is ridiculous. I don't care who it is. It shouldn't be happening.

"We've got to clean it up. I'd like to see some clean innings sooner or later. We should be throwing strike one, strike two, make some pitches. We're all over the place. We're not even close to the strike zone."

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