PITTSBURGH -- As a group, the Astros are a bit road weary and somewhat peeved with the way they've performed since Hurricane Ike interrupted their last homestand. But for a handful of players, this month was unforgettable -- in a positive way.
Three weeks ago, Mark Saccomanno was at home, done with his Triple-A season and one of many disappointed Astros farmhands who didn't get the call to the big leagues. But when Ty Wigginton suffered a groin pull, the Astros needed a corner infielder, and within hours, Saccomanno was summoned to Minute Maid Park.
Saccomanno has been used in pinch-hitting situations and hasn't had a hit since he knocked a crucial home run in his first big league at-bat on Sept. 8, but he's grateful for the experience and is enjoying his time in the big leagues.
"I know we're in a critical time, in a must-win situation," Saccomanno said. "The fact that I'm being used to pinch-hit in some of these games has shown that the coaching staff has had a little faith, and it's always positive. Pinch-hitting is probably the toughest job in baseball. While I haven't really gotten the results on paper, I've been given chances."
Saccomanno is considering playing winter ball in Puerto Rico, but hasn't made a final decision. He's played winter ball in the past, in Venezuela, and he'd like to continue receiving playing time if possible this offseason.
"It's a possibility," Saccomanno said. "Usually, they do that with guys who are struggling or guys that haven't had the at-bats. I've had a lot of at-bats, it's just that you don't ever want to stop playing."
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.