Trade-bait Norris scratched from start for Astros

BALTIMORE (AP) — Houston Astros pitcher Bud Norris was scratched from his scheduled start Tuesday night amid speculation he

could be traded before the non-waiver deadline.

"They scratched me for a lot of reasons," Norris said. "It's a little unfortunate. I wanted to go out there and pitch, but

I understand there's a lot of stuff swirling around me."

Lucas Harrell replaced Norris as Houston's starting pitcher against the Baltimore Orioles.

The Astros or Norris did not indicate he definitely was going to be dealt before Wednesday's 4 p.m. deadline. However, it

appeared the right-hander had pitched his last game with Houston.

"I don't know. I don't want to put any

numbers on it," Norris said. "Everybody's speculating, and where I could

go, stuff

like that. But it's really out of my hands. It's for the GMs and

the front offices to decide. I just want to play baseball,

for wherever I am. And right now I'm still an Astro, and that's

where my focus is."

Norris is 6-9 with a 3.93 ERA in 21 starts with Houston. His six wins are tops on the club and his $3 million salary is the

highest on the rebuilding Astros, a major league-worst 35-69 at the start of the day.

He's heard the rumors, but Norris was still caught off guard by the scratch.

"I guess I was a little surprised by it, but I understand the reason behind it," he said. "I've been talking to my agent about

it and he understands why as well. So you have to go with it. There's nothing I can do. I can't complain about it."

Orioles manager Buck Showalter originally planned to start eight left-handed batters against Norris. Left-handers are batting

.306 against him this season.

Instead, Showalter shuffled his lineup for Harrell.

"Harrell's pretty good. He's been starting

for them all year," Showalter said. "Does it make (Norris) more valuable

by pulling

him out, knowing you can start him the day you get him? Are you

getting betters players back because he's ready to pitch right

then? I don't know. That's their business."