Houston Astros pitcher Roger Clemens had a cortisone shot after Game 1 of the World Series, according to a team official, making it less likely he will pitch again in the series. Clemens was forced to leave Saturday's game after two innings because he aggravated a hamstring injury.
The cortisone shot was administered to reduce swelling in the area, and it will be at least another day before Clemens can be reevaluated. Clemens's next scheduled start would be Thursday night in Game 5, but the Astros already are making contingency plans.
According to the team official, the Astros are leaning toward starting rookie right-hander Ezequiel Astacio in Clemens's place if the latter is unable to pitch. A second option would be lefty Wandy Rodriguez, who threw 31/3 innings in Game 1; however, the White Sox hit significantly better this season against lefties.
Still another option for the Astros would be to use their Games 2, 3 and 4 pitchers -- Andy Pettitte, Roy Oswalt and Brandon Backe -- on three days' rest in Games 5, 6 and 7 (if necessary). But pitching coach Jim Hickey said that was unlikely.
"As I sit here right now, that seems a little improbable," Hickey said. "But things could change real quick, especially if you find yourself in a hole."
The Astros expected Clemens to appear at the stadium Sunday night, but he had not arrived as of one hour before game time, and he was not expected to be made available to reporters.
Clemens first suffered the hamstring injury in early September, and scouts who saw Clemens toward the end of the regular season and in the first two rounds of the playoffs said it appeared as if the injury was still bothering him.
"When it first happened, it was a two- or three-start thing, and then he developed some other aches and pains, probably because of compensating for the leg," Hickey said. "But I really thought we were past it, and I think Roger did, too, and it actually surprised me [Saturday] that it popped up again."
Everett to Switch Roles
With the Series moving to Houston's Minute Maid Park for Games 3, 4 and 5 -- with National League rules in play -- the White Sox will lose designated hitter Carl Everett from their lineup, reducing him to a pinch-hit role.
"It's tough for us," Manager Ozzie Guillen said. "But we'll wait for [a spot to use] Carl as a pinch hitter."
For the Astros, veteran Jeff Bagwell, their DH in Games 1 and 2, will also return to the pinch-hit role he filled in the first two rounds of the playoffs. Bagwell is unable to play in the field because of a shoulder injury that prevents him from throwing.
Garland Rested, but Ready
In the AL Championship Series, the worry around the White Sox was about Jon Garland, who had been the team's most consistent starter all season. When Guillen decided to start Jose Contreras in the first game of the Division Series against the Boston Red Sox, Garland was left to start Game 4, which never happened because the White Sox swept Boston. Garland didn't pitch in the postseason until Game 3 of the ALCS.
The concern was that Garland would be so rested, his sinker would not sink. Instead he dominated, giving up just four hits in a complete game, 5-2 victory. Now there are no concerns about Garland going into his start in Tuesday's Game 3, despite the fact he will have gone 10 days between starts.
"It's a more comfortable feeling, yes, because we have seen it," Guillen said. "I was worried when he faced Anaheim, obviously, because he's a sinkerball pitcher but his fastball was pretty powerful, throwing pretty hard. Right now I know he did it before, I don't see why he can't do it again. I'm pretty comfortable with him."
A Series First
If it seemed unusual that White Sox pitchers Neal Cotts and Bobby Jenks struck out Morgan Ensberg, Mike Lamb and Jeff Bagwell with runners on first and third and no one out in the seventh inning of Game 1, it was. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the first time that three batters had struck out in the seventh inning or later with the tying run in scoring position in Series play. . . .
White Sox outfielder Jermaine Dye never saw his Game 1 home run drop over the fence. In fact, he had no idea what happened to the ball until a clubhouse worker came up to him Saturday night with the ball in his hand. A security guard had tracked down the ball and traded it for another World Series ball.