HOUSTON -- Though Thursday marked the end of an era, only a few people seemed to care.The Giants' series finale against the Houston Astros marked the final time that the teams would meet as National League opponents. Houston will move to the American League West next year. For a couple of Giants who consider the Astros synonymous with the NL, the thought of the club switching leagues was jarring. Manager Bruce Bochy entered professional baseball when Houston selected him in the first round of the Draft's secondary phase (for players who were previously drafted but did not sign) in 1975. He gained his first Major League experience from 1978-80 with the Astros, catching legends such as Nolan Ryan and J.R. Richard. So Bochy understandably felt a little sentimental. "This is who I signed with originally, came up with and had some history," Bochy said. "It seems strange to me that this club is not going to be in the National League. It takes some getting used to." Right-hander Clay Hensley, who's currently on the disabled list, was born in the Houston suburb of Tomball and graduated from Pearland (Texas) High School. He grew up rooting for the likes of Ryan, Alan Ashby, Jose Cruz, Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell. Hensley said that many of his Houston-area fans are upset because, being in the AL West, the Astros will play a large percentage of games that will start shortly after 9 p.m. CT. That makes a team tough to follow. "I think a lot of them aren't very happy with the move," Hensley said. "It's been in the National League for so long. I think it's going to be a weird adjustment. I know if I were here as a fan, I wouldn't be very happy about it."
Feeling good, Huff ready to contribute
HOUSTON -- Aubrey Huff hasn't appeared in a game for the Giants since July 30. He has made eight plate appearances since June 5. Obviously, the man feels restless."This is boring as hell, I've got to tell you," said Huff, who likely will be reinstated from the disabled list Saturday when active rosters can be expanded to 40 players. Huff knows that he probably won't occupy a prominent role in the stretch drive. But he shares manager Bruce Bochy's hope that he can contribute as a pinch-hitter or late-inning replacement. "It's a tough time of the year to go out there and try to find some timing," the first baseman said Thursday. "But, in the end, if you get the adrenaline going, none of that is going to matter." Huff, 35, sprained his right knee June 13 as he tried to scale the dugout railing to join the on-field celebration following Matt Cain's perfect game. He also has been bothered by patellar tendinitis in the same knee. Huff said that he's currently in much better shape than he was when the Giants activated him from the DL on July 28. Four days later, he was on the DL again. "I think the first time I tried to rush and push it a little bit, and I set it back," said Huff, who's batting .148 (9-for-61) with one homer and six RBIs in 34 games. "We did a lot of work on it this time around -- not that we didn't the first time, but we just took a little more time to do more stuff for it. It seemed to work out a lot better."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.