Astros may look to upgrade bullpen

Astros may look to upgrade bullpen

ARLINGTON -- The recent struggles of the Astros bullpen, which has suffered from injuries to veterans Jesse Crain and Matt Albers, has owner Jim Crane hoping his team can still upgrade the bullpen as the season moves into the second half.

The Astros began play Monday with their relievers posting a 5.22 ERA -- that's the highest in baseball.

"The bullpen's been hurting us a little bit," said Crane, who was in Arlington on Monday to watch the team play. "We had some guys beat up down there. Crain hasn't come back yet, and we still have Albers out. [Anthony] Bass came back and got beat up. That's something we have to take a look at it and see if we can fix it before the end of the season because it's definitely costing us some games."

Crain has been out of action for more than a year and Albers hasn't played in more than two months because of right shoulder tendinitis.

When asked what can be done about the bullpen, Crane deferred to general manager Jeff Luhnow.

"That's Jeff's job, but I might be in his booth for a while trying to get the answer for that one," he joked. "That would be a good one to figure out."

Crane said whatever moves the Astros might make at the Trade Deadline will be done with the future in mind.

"We're always looking more long term, but we want to try to establish a nucleus this year and win a lot more ballgames than we did last year," he said.

Brian McTaggart is reporter for and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.