Lee, Ausmus get day away from camp
Astros skipper Cooper committed to giving players rest
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Carlos Lee and Brad Ausmus were given the day off Friday, continuing manager Cecil Cooper's plan to give every player at least one day of complete rest, away from the ballpark.Cooper offered Lee Friday off earlier in the week, but Lee wanted to wait before he made a definitive decision. By the end of the day Thursday, he decided to take his manager's offer. "Carlos was scheduled to get that day off," Cooper said. "The only question was, 'If the weather is bad today and I can't get outside and do the things I was going to do with family, I'm going to play.'" Lee left his manager a note on Thursday that read: "I'm taking the day off tomorrow. I need it. Thanks." The note was signed, "The Pony. Used to be The Caballo." Lee's nickname is "El Caballo," which is Spanish for "The Horse." Cooper understands the importance of getting a "breather" during Spring Training. He remembers how appreciative he was of days off during his playing career and wanted to make sure to do the same for his players. "It happened to me in the middle of my career," Cooper said. "I had a manager who did that. He even did it with some of the not-so-veteran guys. He said, 'Don't come to the park, stay home, I don't want to see your face.' It's good. It refreshes you."
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.