Sunday, May 21, 2006

Chris Burke, Brandon Backe May Prompt Shakeup

The anticipated return from the DL of Houston OF/IF Chris Burke, plus the long-awaited recovery of SP Brandon Backe, point to a potential shakeup in the Astros lineup and rotation. Burke, hitting .378 when he went down, is being eyed for increased playing time at the expense of Preston Wilson, hitting .244, and Jason Lane, hitting .207. Another way to find playing time for Burke would be to move superstar Lance Berkman from the outfield to first base at the expense of Mike Lamb, offering an additional opportunity for Burke to take his rightful spot as an everyday player. One more possibility, though more unlikely, would project 2B Craig Biggio returning to the outfield with Burke taking over at the pivot. SP Brandon Backe, meanwhile, who at one point was feared out for the season, is long-tossing and on target for a return from the DL by the end of next month, a move that would lead to the demotion of SPs Fernando Nieve, or Taylor Buckholz, both of whom are being hammered by lefty hitters.