Dierker rejoins Astros' radio booth

Dierker rejoins Astros' radio booth

HOUSTON -- Larry Dierker, who spent 18 years in the radio booth before taking over as manager of the team, returned to his on-air duties Wednesday when he did color commentary on the radio broadcast. Dierker and former Astros pitcher Steve Sparks are taking turns working the middle three innings with play-by-play announcers Brett Dolan and Dave Raymond while Milo Hamilton is out.

"Yeah, it's really stimulating," Dierker said. "I doubt if anybody else in this ballpark could use this word tonight at this stage with the team the way the team's been playing, but broadcasting is a creative challenge and I hope I can get back in the flow quickly. But who knows? We'll just have to see how it goes."

Dierker, who hasn't done any Astros broadcasts since filling in during the 2004 season, said he wouldn't mind getting back into the gig full-time.

"I found that being retired in Houston during the summer is probably not the best combination," Dierker said. "I'd rather have my time off in the winter and you can work all summer and do that."

Dierker worked plenty of television when he called Astros games in the 1980s and 1990s, but he appreciates the nuances of calling games on the radio.

"You have to be the eyes of the fans, people driving in their cars and people that like to listen in the garage while they're working on a project or something," Dierker said. "If you can bunch your words together quickly so you don't miss the next play, they can still get a pretty good idea."