(the Marlins’ Reggie Abercrombie, Alfredo Amezaga, Miguel Cabrera and Mike Jacobs, shown mercilessly taunting Brad Lidge)

The Houston bullpen faltered again on Sunday, and the Chronicle’s Richard Justice can’t fathom why PCL All-Star Jason Hirsh’s phone isn’t blowing up.

After his relievers had yet another bad day at the office Sunday, Phil Garner issued what sounded like a threat.

“I’m going to keep pitching ’em,” he said.

You just choked on your cornflakes, didn’t you?

Actually, Garner has no choice. His job is to use the relievers that Astros general manager Tim Purpura has given him.

The San Diego Padres may be willing to discuss a deal for Scott Linebrink, but the price probably would be Jason Hirsh.

Hey, that’s an idea. Hirsh has dominated the Pacific Coast League for the last two months and seems to be as ready for the big leagues as he’s going to get. Why not put him in the bullpen?

This idea makes so much sense that I’m surprised Purpura hasn’t thought of it. (I’m getting tired of coming up with all the good ideas, since I’m not exactly making general manager money.)

Last week, Purpura told the Chronicle’s Jesus Ortiz that bringing up Hirsh would be “a desperation-type” move. All right, Biff, let’s talk desperation.

Your manager turned a one-run deficit over to his bullpen in the sixth inning on Sunday. Four straight relievers failed to do their jobs, and that one-run deficit became a 9-3 loss.

Whatever internal moves Purpura attempts with his bullpen come without risk. It’s time for Hirsh ” and perhaps even Matt Albers at Corpus Christi ” to get a chance. It’s not like they’ll do any worse.

IF Joe McEwing, designated for assignment earlier this week to make room for the demoted Jason Lane, was back in uniform for Round Rock yesterday after clearing waivers. The Express ‘pen did a fine job of mimicking the parent club’s relief corps, wasting a fine performance by Chris Sampson (7 IP, 5 hits, 1 earned run, 4 K’s) in blowing a 6-1 lead against New Orleans. The Zephyrs came back to win, 10-9 in 13 innings on Ryan “Metal” Church’s RBI single. Church had homered in the 12th to tie the game at 9.