Notes: Scott looks for more playing time
Outfielder splitting time with Lamb; Sampson TBD for next start
ATLANTA -- Approximately 15 minutes before batting practice began on Thursday, outfielder Luke Scott asked manager Phil Garner to meet with him for a quick talk.
The topic? Scott's playing time, or lack thereof. Scott wasn't in the lineup on Thursday, for the second day in a row. Since the All-Star break, he's started nine games and sat on the bench nine.
The right fielder, seemingly in good health, wanted to know why.
Garner explained to Scott that he's torn between two choices he has when the Astros face a right-handed pitcher: Lance Berkman in right and Mike Lamb at first, or Berkman at first and Scott in right.
Lately, Garner has gone with plan B, which puts Scott on the bench.
"He said he's going to play me or Lamb against righties and one of us is going to be limited to pinch-hitting duties," Scott said. "He said it's a tough situation. He's the boss. He makes the decisions."
Garner hasn't decided how the rest of the year will play out, and relying on a statistical analysis isn't helping much, either. Scott has three more homers than Lamb and more RBIs, but Lamb has scored more runs and hit for a higher average.
"They're very close to the same thing," Garner said.
The deciding factor may be defense. Garner hasn't been entirely displeased with Scott's play in right field, but Berkman may be a "slight upgrade."
"But Lance has done such a good job at first base, I hate to change that," Garner said. "I'm debating in my mind."
Until a definitive decision is made, Scott can do nothing but wait, and be ready to play when called upon.
"I want to play every day, especially when I'm healthy," he said. "I've been swinging the bat pretty good, and I feel like I can help this ballclub. But it's nothing that I'm not familiar with. You can't let circumstances dictate how I go about my business.
"It's real easy to complain and look at the negativity. That's not going to do any good. The only thing I can do is whenever they do put me in the lineup, be ready to start. When I'm not starting, be ready to pinch hit or come in and play defense. Double-switch type stuff, whatever it is. That's the attitude I have to take."
Braves honor Biggio: The Astros and Braves have had quite a history, having met five times in the playoffs in the last 10 years.
The two clubs have always had a respectful rivalry, and the Braves showed their appreciation toward one particular "gamer" before Thursday's finale at Turner Field.
During a pregame ceremony near the home dugout, Braves GM John Schuerholz and manager Bobby Cox presented Craig Biggio with a check for $3,000, in honor of Biggio's milestone 3,000th hit, which will be donated to the Sunshine Kids.
Schuerholz came up with the idea after learning of Biggio's planned retirement. Atlanta is the first road city the Astros have visited since the announcement.
"We've all watched him play and admired his professionalism and character," Schuerholz said. "We wanted to make sure we did this, just to say 'Thanks, and we appreciate how you've played and how you've represented baseball.'
"The Atlanta Braves and our fans want to show our appreciation and pay tribute in a small way to a guy who's been a classy guy and classy player."
Said Biggio: "It's a very nice gesture. We've been through a lot of memorable games together through the seasons. That's a nice feeling as a player to get recognition like this. There's always been a respect between our two teams. It was just two teams that respected each other, two organizations that are classy with their players, the way they go about their business."
In the middle of the 10th inning, the Braves ran a highlight video detailing Biggio's milestone hits. They ended the presentation with a picture of Biggio on the giant jumbotron with the words "Thanks for the memories," Biggio received a hearty standing ovation from the crowd.
Sampson TBD: Chris Sampson is scheduled to make his next start on Sunday in Florida, but as of Thursday, his availability to make that start is to be determined.
Garner had several closed-door meetings on Thursday, including one with pitching coach Dave Wallace and head athletic trainer Dave Labossiere. The three discussed the health of several players, including Sampson. The right-hander has been battling aches and pains, and he may have to skip a start.
Coming up: The Astros will travel to Florida to begin a three-game series with the Marlins on Friday. Gametime is set for 6:05 p.m. CT and will feature right-hander Roy Oswalt (10-6, 3.63) and left-hander Dontrelle Willis (7-10, 4.95).
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.