PHOENIX -- Newly acquired outfielder Ben Francisco made his first start as a member of the Astros on Saturday against the D-backs. The club's initial plan is to use him in right field against left-handed pitchers.
"I just think it's a good opportunity to play and re-establish myself," Francisco said. "In Toronto this year, I had a little of bit of a hamstring injury, and I didn't get as much of a chance to play."
Francisco, who batted .244 in 23 games for Toronto, hit a single in his Houston debut as a late-inning substitution on Friday, a few hours after he was traded by the Blue Jays, along with Francisco Cordero, as part of a 10-player deal.
He has a career batting average of .260 in parts of six seasons with the Indians, Phillies, Blue Jays and Astros. In 2009 he and Cliff Lee were traded from Cleveland to Philadelphia near the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline for four players.
"I'm kind of getting used to it now," he said. "It's part of the game, and you understand that anybody can get traded. You miss your friends, but baseball is baseball, and you try to do your best for the new team. It was kind of cool getting traded with Coco, so [I'm] not the only new guy."
Over two days, Cordero lands new team and new role
PHOENIX -- It's been quite a weekend for veteran reliever Francisco Cordero.
On Friday, Cordero was traded to the Astros, along with outfielder Ben Francisco, by the Blue Jays as part of a 10-player deal. On Saturday the Astros traded Brett Myers to the White Sox, and Cordero was named the team's closer.
"I'm glad that I'm here," Cordero said. "I hope this trade works out for the Houston Astros, for me and for the Blue Jays. I wasn't pitching good there. I hope everything turns around here with a new team. I'm back in the National League, where I [pitched] for the last six or seven years [with the Brewers and the Reds]."
Cordero has a long track record. His 329 career saves are the second most among active players, behind Mariano Rivera, and he has a 3.28 career ERA in 794 appearances, all in relief. He has also saved at least 40 games three times in his career.
Cordero went 3-5 with two saves and a 5.77 ERA in 41 appearances for the Blue Jays prior to the trade and is hoping for better results with his new team.
What went wrong in Toronto? Everything.
"I wasn't getting anybody out," Cordero said. "It seemed like everything I threw over the plate was getting hit hard. It was not pretty. I was not good. I have to be honest, I was not pitching good there. It's not that they didn't give me a chance. Things were just not working out the way we had planned."
Cordero is off to a good start with the Astros. He made his Houston debut on Friday night against the D-backs and pitched a scoreless eighth inning. He will be available to pitch in a save situation on Saturday and possibly Sunday, manager Brad Mills said.
"He's done it before. He's had experience, and he's been good at it before," Mills said. "When I saw him pitch [on Friday], one thing I liked is that he was able to throw all of his pitches around the plate, and I thought that was good. Here we've got a guy that's new to our ballclub, and we put him right in the closer's role. I think there's a lot of good things we can say about him."
If anybody knows Cordero, it's pitching coach Doug Brocail. The two were teammates with the Tigers in 1999, and again with the Rangers in 2004 and 2005.
"I know what he's like, and I know what he can do," Brocail said. "Knowing Coco's mechanics already and knowing the pitches he utilizes, I think it will be an easy turnaround. We'll get some confidence back in him and let him go."
Brocail added that he expects Cordero to be a role model for the young pitchers on the team, especially the Latin players.
"I've known Brocail as a player and now as a pitching coach," said Cordero. "He helped me when I was with Detroit and helped me when I was with Texas. And now as my pitching coach, I'm sure he's going to tell me everything he knows [so I can] get better and do a better job."
Astros claim hurler Hamburger off waivers
PHOENIX -- Houston claimed Mark Hamburger, 25, off waivers from San Diego on Saturday and assigned him to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
The right-hander started the 2012 season in the Texas organization at Triple-A Round Rock, was later claimed by San Diego and then sent to Triple-A Tucson. He has appeared in 26 games this season, including four starts.
Overall, he is 16-22 with a 3.99 ERA in 198 games over six Minor League seasons with the Twins, Rangers and Padres. He went 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA in eight innings over five big league games with the Rangers last season.