So long from Florida
The Astros played their final Grapefruit League game of the season Monday against the Phillies in Clearwater. The club will fly to Oklahoma City on Tuesday morning for a night game against its new Triple-A club later that night before returning to Houston immediately after the game.
After an exhibition against the Red Sox on Wednesday night at Minute Maid Park, the Astros will work out Thursday in Houston before flying to Philadelphia, where they will open the 2011 season at 12:05 p.m. Friday.
The long wait until Opening Day is finally over.
“Since last year, we were all ready and excited for the season to start, and Spring Training was the beginning of that,” first baseman Brett Wallace said. “We’re getting close to the games finally counting. We’re excited about the way the team’s coming together. We’re ready to play games that count and get to Philly and get it underway.”
The Astros will wait until Thursday to make their final roster cuts, and they have quite a few decisions to make. Who will start at shortstop? What will they do at catcher if J.R. Towles is hurt? Who will get the final couple of spots in the bullpen? The uncertainty at catcher at shortstop is a product of injuries to starters Jason Castro and Clint Barmes.
“You always want to be strong up the middle and coming into camp we were very strong up the middle,” Astros manager Brad Mills said. “You lose your catcher and shortstop, but [Angel] Sanchez played really well for us last year and we know [Humberto Quintero] has done well. We’re going to wait and see how Towles is. We have more than adequate guys to fill in and do a good job.”
Note: This will be my final blog from Florida. I’m flying home to Houston later today, and will take a few days off before joining the team in Philadelphia on Thursday. Thanks for all your readership this spring, and you can bet Tag’s Lines and MLB.com will have the latest on the Astros all season long. Houston, hello!