By LEWIS SPEARMAN
CROSBY Much of this area was elated on Aug. 31 as the news that J.R. Towles, 23, a graduate of Crosby High School, has been called up to play for the Houston Astros.
Last week the Star-Courier announced that he had been called up to play for the Round Rock Express, a AAA Pacific Coast League Team in the Astros minor league system, on August 10.
Towles twice passed up opportunities to sign with other organizations after getting drafted by Oakland. In 2004, he signed with Houston out of junior college. Baseball America rated him Houston’s sixth-best prospect this season.
The Astros announced that they plan to add catcher, J.R. Towles, Humberto Quintero, RHP Juan Gutierrez, OF Jason Lane, RHP Felipe Paulino and INF Cody Ransom to their roster on Sept. 4.
Towles figures to see the most action of any member of the group, as the Astros will want to evaluate whether he should be viewed as a candidate for the starting job next spring. He’s probably still a year away from starting.
Interim Astros manager Cecil Cooper’s roster increased by six on Tuesday, depending on how strong the other team is he will probably interlace some of the call up players to bestow major league experience. The September call-ups including Towles can expect to be selectively put into the games for experience.
Astros Brad Ausmus has been said to now have a new shadow in the person of Towles by order of Cooper.
Towles, was selected in the 20th round of the 2004 draft. He spent 20 games with single-A Salem to start the 2007 season before joining the Corpus Christi Hooks for 61 games.
While with the Hooks, Towles batted .324 with 11 homers, 47 runs and 49 RBIs. The Crosby native entered Round Rock’s lineup on Aug. 10 and is 8-for-32 (.250) with hits in eight of his 10 appearances.
By LEWIS SPEARMAN