Tom Price Jr.
Former Exeter Monarch and 15-game winner for the Houston Astros last year, Jeriome Robertson was stunned Friday when he was called into Houston Manager Jimy Williams' office Monday.
Having already been removed from the starting rotation in favor or Tim Redding before Spring Training, the news got worse for Robertson. He was notified that he had been optioned to the New Orleans Zephers, the Astros Triple-A affiliate.
"Going back to Triple-A was the worse case scenario, and now here I am," Robertson said just hours after the meeting. "I want to be in the big leagues and I think I need to be in the big leagues. I was the Triple-A Player of the Year two years ago, I won 15 games last year, I am ready to start my big league career and I haven't proven otherwise."
Houston Astros General Manager Gerry Hunsicker who was present in Williams' office realizes the unfortunate position Robertson has been put in but offered little for the 26-year-old lefthander to be optimistic about.
"In Robertson's case, this is a tough pill to swallow," Hunsicker told the Houston Chronicle. "I understand he was behind the eight-ball."
With the additions of Roger Clemens and Andy Petitte to the starting rotation Robertson was able to accept a transition from starter to reliever heading into Spring Training. Coming off a rookie season in which he led all Major League rookies in wins and broke the Astros rookie record in wins with 15, he says he wanted to continue to contribute to the team.
"When it came down to it I was willing to throw out of the bullpen for them, but they really didn't give me the opportunity and that pisses me off," Robertson said. "I am a humble person, but being humble like I am isn't going to work, I am going to let them know what I think I deserve. Right now I feel pretty unappreciated in Houston."
In a December issue of the Houston Chronicle, Hunsicker admitted that other clubs had shown interest in Robertson after being bumped from the rotation. Robertson doesn't deny that trade talks may be in progress but offered no hint as to what might happen in the coming days before opening day this weekend.
"Right now I am not going to say what is going in a few days we will have a better idea," Robertson said. "There is a possibility that a trade could be made, whether or not the Astros are willing to accept one or other clubs will offer one I don't know.