SAN DIEGO -- As bench coach for the Astros for the majority of the 2007 season, Cecil Cooper has a first-hand view of a somewhat lackluster baserunning effort from several players.
The problem didn't extend to all players, but it was hard to ignore the efforts of a handful who weren't running hard to first base on perceived routine ground balls, or jogging lazily after hitting fly balls.
Soon after he took over as manager in August, Cooper addressed the players and let them know such an approach was unacceptable. He reiterated that stance this year, sending a simple message -- "Effort knows no score."
"We promised we were going to continue to do that this year," Cooper said. "Some guys wouldn't make it to first base sometimes on a fly ball to the outfield. Not run through the base ... that's unacceptable.
"Give a good effort. A guy throws you out, he throws you out. But give a good effort, bottom line."
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.