Players get their first win of spring
The day began with the five members of the media, including MLB.com’s Alyson Footer and myself, battling five Astros players in a friendly game of Family Feud. With the entire roster, field staff and spring staff in the clubhouse, the media and five players — Rick Ankiel, Jason Castro, Justin Maxwell, Carlos Pena and Nate Freiman — sat at tables facing each other.
Astros director of Florida operations Jay Edmiston served as host and manager Bo Porter used an air horn for wrong answers. The media stole the first question from the players, but Maxwell –who I need to point out attended Maryland over Harvard — crushed yours truly — who attended University of Houston over UTEP — in the speed round to give the players the win. Click here for a photo.
There was laughter, booing and cheering, and a good time was had by all.
As far as baseball goes, there will be an intrasquad game at 11 a.m. CT Thursday at Osceola County Stadium, but manager Bo Porter has already unveiled his lineup for Saturday’s Grapefruit League opener against the Phillies in Clearwater.
SS Tyler Greene
2B Marwin Gonzalez
CF Justin Maxwell
1B Chris Carter
LF J.D. Martinez
DH Nate Freiman
3B Matt Dominguez
C Carlos Corporan
RF Trevor Crowe
RHP Lucas Harrell
These players are not making the trip: Jason Castro, Jose Altuve, Max Stassi, Carlos Pena, Brett Wallace, Rick Ankiel and Fernando Martinez.
Porter said he wants the regular position players to get between 50 and 70 at-bats in games.
“Some guys may need more, some guys may need less,” he said. “A guy like Carlos Pena may feel like he’s locked in with a week to go in camp. Altuve may feel the same way, or he may say, ‘I need to play seven, eight, nine innings because I need extra at-bats.'”
Porter originally had Che-Hsuan Lin in right field against the Phillies, but when he told him Wednesday he was in the lineup, Porter was caught off guard.
“He says, ‘Bo, I’m not going to be here. I leave today,’” Porter said. “I said, ‘Leave? Leave to go where?’ He said, ‘To the World Baseball Classic.’ I knew he was going to the Classic, but I didn’t know he was leaving [Wednesday]. I was under the impression all the guys going to the Classic were going to leave on March 2. That was a little bit of a shock, but we’re glad that he’s going to play for his country, and represent his country and we’re in full support of that.”
Lin is playing for Chinese Taipei in the Classic.
Finally, today was photo day, which meant each player was rotated through several different photography stations. Here’s glimpse: