No one can accuse the Houston Astros of being quitters. Despite the fact that Houston is 12 1/2 games out of first place in the NL Central, the Astros continue to look to be buyers before the trade deadline, rather than sellers. Rival teams report that the Astros are calling around in search of a high-profile, experienced reliever who might serve as a complement to Doug Brocail as Houston makes its push for a playoff spot in August and September. Some teams, including the Colorado Rockies, have shown interest in veteran right-hander Paul Byrd of the Indians. Byrd is 4-10 with a 5.14 ERA this season, and if the Indians don't deal him before Thursday's deadline, he might be the classic example of a pitcher who could be moved in August, as he passes through waivers. Rival executives report that there is some anger within the Seattle hierarchy about the way the negotiations with the Yankees for Jarrod Washburn have played out publicly, and an NL executive who has been in contact with the Mariners on Monday says he wouldn't be surprised if Seattle works to deliver the lefty to another team, even if it means swallowing many dollars. The Yankees have made it clear that they are willing to take Washburn's contract -- he is still owed about $14 million for the rest of this year and next -- but won't give up a major prospect. The teams generally in the market for starting pitchers have been the Cardinals and Rockies.