HOUSTON -- It's been only three years since pitcher Bud Norris made his Major League debut for the Astros, but as he looked around the clubhouse on Friday it struck him that he was suddenly one of the elder statesmen. The only two players who have been on the Astros longer are Wandy Rodriguez and Wesley Wright, who has spent much of his Houston career in the Minors.
In the past two years, the Astros have traded long-time players such as Lance Berkman, Roy Oswalt and Carlos Lee, as well as outfielders Michael Bourn and Hunter Pence, both of whom were established in Houston before Norris arrived.
"I know we had to make some changes and we did, and to see Lance and Roy and other pieces go away, like Carlos, has been tough," Norris said. "At the end of the day, once the Trade Deadline passes, we have to go out there and play baseball. That's our job, to play the game and leave it on the field with everything we've got."
Norris made his Major League debut on July 29, 2009 in a game in which the Astros had, Lee, Pence, Bourn, Jeff Keppinger, Miguel Tejada, Geoff Blum, Ivan Rodriguez, Kaz Matsui and Mike Hampton in the starting lineup.
"When I came up in '09, we were in contention and just a few years removed from the World Series and we had a veteran ballclub," he said. "l learned a lot from them on how to go about my business, but at the same token, we've accepted we're still here and we need to stick together. A lot of guys are starting to help each other out and help that transition. It is what it is. We don't have any control. We have to go out there and do our jobs."