Results tagged ‘ 2012 ’
Astros owner Jim Crane, who talked to the team prior to its first full-squad workout on Sunday morning at Osceola County Stadium, told reporters he’s leaning heavily towards an overhaul of the team’s uniforms in conjunction with the move to the American League in 2013.
Major League Baseball has been working with the Astros on a new uniform design, and Crane said he wants to get his staff and some of the fans involved in helping with the design. Crane said the team has to have everything submitted to baseball by May 1, but nothing will be made public until after the season.
“We can’t really come out with a uniform until the season is over,” Crane said. “All that – the branding and the logo – has to be submitted, and once we get all that through them we’ll follow the guidelines and rules. You probably won’t see anything until after the season.”
The Astros, who are celebrating their 50th anniversary this year, haven’t had a major uniform overhaul since moving to what is now Minute Maid Park in 2000. The Astros will switch to the AL next year, which Crane says will make good timing for a uniform switch.
“Our feel on it is this is going to be a great year with the transition, and we’re going to have a lot of fun seeing some of the old team and some of the new teams again,” Crane said. “We’ll be the only team you can see every team in baseball the next two years. If change is going to be made, certainly next year, going to the American League, is going to be our transition, and we’re leaning heavily that way.”
Meanwhile, all 63 players hit the field Sunday under light drizzle and chilly temperatures. Today is the first day of live batting practice, and undoubtedly the hitters will be far behind the pitchers, who have been in camp for a week. Here are some morning photos:
The Astros will hold their first full-squad workout on Sunday, when all 63 players in Major League camp are scheduled to hit the field for the first time this spring. Manager Brad Mills expects everyone to report by Sunday morning.
“We’re very happy with the six days we’ve had [with pitchers and catchers] and now we’re ready to move forward,” he said.
In fact, the Astros have had a huge number of position players participating in drills for the last few days, a number that’s growing daily. Non-roster outfielder Brandon Barnes, who showed up Friday, was on the field for the first time Saturday.
The only players who hadn’t worked out at Osceola County Stadium by Saturday were outfielders Carlos Lee and Jonathan Singleton and infielder Jonathan Villar. Position players aren’t required to report until Sunday morning, when they will be given physicals prior to take the field.
Here’s the day in photos:
Right-handers Jarred Cosart and Mike Foltynewicz and left-hander Brett Oberholtzer – three young pitchers ranked among the Astros’ top seven prospects by MLB.com – were among seven hurlers who participated Saturday in the first day a Minor League mini camp.
The other participants are right-handers Jake Buchanan, Ross Seaton, Josh Zeid and Jason Stoffel and catchers Miles Hamblin, Ryan McCurdy, Roberto Pena and Mike Kvasnicka. Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow, who watched the pitchers throw, said the young arms will get some innings in Grapefruit League games.
Here’s a quick Q and A with Foltynewicz:
Q: What are you hoping to get out of the Minor League mini camp?
A: “Trying to work on the things we left off on in instructional ball, trying to get the command of the strike zone down. I’m really just trying to get a head start along with these seven guys to get ready for a good season.”
Q: How excited are you about a chance to pitch in a big-league Spring Training game?
A: “Heard about that probably a month ago, and it made me want to work even harder. That’s my ultimate goal, and it’s that little bit more motivation.”
Q: How big of a year is this for you?
A: “It’s a pretty big year. Last year, I had good games and had bad games, and this year I just have to put it all together and find that happy medium. I think it’s a big year to prove myself to a lot of the doubters out there, so it’s a pretty big year.”
Q: What’s it like to be a part of this group of talented young arms coming up?
A: “It’s pretty exciting. Later on down the road, this is going to be a great Houston Astros team. we’ve got a lot of good arms and I’m really excited for the future.”
Here’s a quick Q and A with Jarred Cosart:
Q: What are you hoping to get out of the Minor League mini camp?
A: “It’s great. I was bummed at first about not coming to big league camp, but it happens and there’s nothing I can do about it. I can’t control it. That’s what Fred and all the guys told me today, to come out here and pitch and getting down here early just helps me get a little jump on everybody else coming to Minor League camp. It’s a good group of guys and I had Brocail and a lot of the big league guys watching today, so it’s really not much different than over there.”
Q: Are you excited about the chance of pitching in a Grapefruit League game?
A: “This would be my first chance. They said be ready to throw in multiple big league games. They’re getting us ready as if we’re in big league camp and I’ve heard they’re having a lot of split squad games to get a lot of the younger guys over there who are fighting for that fifth spot. They’re going to have openings. They said to be ready for a couple of games.”
Q: You’re getting instruction from Doug Brocail and Jon Matlack. How beneficial is that?
“I got open ears to anything. Matlack pitched in the big leagues for 15 years a while back and Brocail just recently came out of the game and he’s been a big league pitching coach for two or three years now. They know what they’re talking about, as do all these coaches. I’m always open to any advice, mechanical, mental, whatever. They just said I’ll make a lot of money if I pitch down. That’s pretty much the basics of pitching. Right now it’s staying consistent and doing the little things. They said the stuff is there and the name of the game is mix pitches and staying down in the zone, and I have a chance to be pretty good if I can do that.”
Here are some photos from the first day of Minor League mini camp:
When pressed on Thursday about who he plans to use in the closer’s role this year, Astros manager Brad Mills remained non-committal. Mark Melancon spent most of the 2011 season at closer, but was shipped to the Red Sox in December.
“We’re having discussions as we speak,” Mills said. “We’ve talked about some things and talked about some guys as we go forward, and we’re constantly doing that. We’re talking about names and different guys we might give the opportunity and see how things go. It comes down to what we see in Spring Training and in some of these games, and also who we feel would do the best job.”
The Astros, who converted only 25 of 50 save chances last year, have several candidates. Veteran closer Brandon Lyon could step back into the role, but he missed most of last year following major arm surgery. Youngster David Carpenter could also be an option.
For more on the future of the closer situation, the health of Wandy Rodriguez and much more, click here.
Here are the photos of the day:
The Astros officially kicked off their new era under new management Monday when pitchers and catchers took the field at Osceola County Stadium for the first workout of Spring Training. Astros manager Brad Mills said everything went as smoothly as could have been expected, as 28 pitchers and seven catchers put in a few hours of work for the first time as a group.
Perhaps the best news for the Astros as they hit the field was that everyone is healthy, including catcher Jason Castro and Brandon Lyon. Castro missed all of last year and Lyon sat out most of the year following surgery.
“I was pleasantly surprised to see the guys in great shape,” Mills said. “The guys did a lot of things this off-season [to stay in shape]. With a lot of new players and a lot of new staff, it was good. I thought they did a good job. Yeah, there are some things they have to tighten up a little bit, but for the most part I thought it was real good.”
The pitchers are broken into six groups, with three groups throwing in the bullpen each day. Among those getting on the mound Monday were J.A. Happ, Jordan Lyles, Brett Myers, Zach Duke, Wesley Wright and Henry Sosa.
The position players won’t work out as a group until Sunday. Among those who showed up at camp Monday were Jordan Schafer, Jose Altuve, Chris Johnson, Jed Lowrie, Jimmy Paredes, Brett Wallace, Brian Bogusevic, Jack Cust, Jake Goebbert, J.D. Martinez, J.B. Shuck and George Springer.
For a complete rundown of the day’s news, click here.
For a video package with interviews with Jim Crane, Jeff Luhnow and Brad Mills, click here.
Here is Day 1 in pictures:
There is no official “reporting” date to Spring Training as there has been in years past, but several players were at Osceola County Stadium on Sunday — one day ahead of the first workout for pitchers and catchers.
J.A. Happ and fellow starting pitcher Bud Norris were among a handful of players to seize the opportunity to get on the back fields and play catch. Also working out Sunday were pitchers Lucas Harrell, Fernando Rodriguez, Wesley Wright, David Carpenter, outfielder Jake Goebbert and catcher Jason Castro.
Other who were in camp Sunday: Chris Snyder, Jack Cust, Zach Duke and Jorge De Leon.
“There’s going to be a lot of competition for positions, but it’s always going to be good just to see everybody again,” Happ said. “It’s good to have a little time off, but after so long everybody is going to be ready to get going again.”
The Astros will have 63 players in camp this year, including 23 non-roster players. The pitchers and catchers will take their physicals prior to Monday’s workout.
“We’ve been in Houston so long, champing at the bit,” said infielder Brett Wallace, who reported well ahead of the Feb. 26 first workout for position players. “Getting in last night and getting the chance to get in there, it’s like reality that it’s about to start. I think we’re all excited to get going this year.”
The Astros have more jobs up for grabs than any camp in recent memory. The top three spots in the rotation are decided, with Wandy Rodriguez, Brett Myers and Norris returning, and Carlos Lee (first base), J.D. Martinez (left field), Jose Altuve (second base) and newcomer Jed Lowrie (shortstop) likely to be in the Opening Day lineup.
“We’ve got to come in here and be positive, and that’s our No. 1 priority,” Norris said. “A lot went on last year besides playing baseball that kind of had us living in limbo land with the ownership, but finally we got that settled and I’m sure [new owner Jim] Crane is going to have an opportunity to talk to us and we’re going to have an opportunity to talk to him. It’s a fresh start. That’s what we needed.”
Veteran relief pitcher Brandon Lyon, who underwent surgery last year to repair the detachment of his right biceps tendon and to also mend a tear in his labrum, was understandably eager to get to Kissimmee. Lyon has been throwing off the mound at home and said he comes to camp with no limitations.
“I’ve thrown a few times off the mound, which is kind of rare for me coming into Spring Training,” he said. “I usually don’t throw too much, but I felt like I had to throw a couple of times and get on the mound and see where I’m at. I’m actually pretty happy where I’m at. I feel like I’m ahead of where I usually am right now.”
Catcher Jason Castro, who missed all of last season with a serious knee injury and underwent foot surgery two months ago, reported to camp on Sunday in good shape. He underwent surgery Dec. 9 to remove the sesamoid bone from his foot after injuring it playing in the Arizona Fall League and sat out all of last season after undergoing surgery to repair a large tear in the meniscus and having a reconstruction of the right ACL.
“I feel really good health-wise,” Castro said. “I’ll be ready to go. That’s a big reason why I’m excited. I wasn’t sure how the whole rehab process was going to go, but everything has gone really well. That makes me even more excited to get going, knowing I’m healthy.”
Here are some photos from Sunday:
Joe Pettini will be the guy standing alongside manager Brad Mills on a daily basis this season, talking, discussing and dissecting every aspect of the game and the opponent. Pettini is the Astros’ new bench coach, and he brings with him a wealth of experience after working the previous 10 years under one of the game’s all-time great managers in Tony La Russa.
Pettini won two World Series titles as La Russa’s right-hand man, including last year’s scintillating run that culminated with a victory over the Texas Rangers. While he thoroughly enjoyed working for La Russa, who retired after last season, Pettini is ready for a change of pace with the Astros and third-year manager Mills.
“Tony is a Hall of Fame manager and he was great to work for, but as the bench coach for Tony, sometimes you’re limited in what you have to do,” Pettini said. “It’s not like you can ask questions or ask for his input throughout the game, but Brad’s made it known to me he wants an ongoing conversation during the game. For me, I will love that. Just being part of the game and helping him out as the game progresses, I’m looking forward to that and I’m very excited about that.”
Pettini, 57, chose to leave the Cardinals after more than 25 years as a player and coach in the organization for a chance to reunite with general manager Jeff Luhnow, who spent the previous eight years with the Cardinals.
“I’m very excited and really appreciate the opportunity Jeff gave me to come down here and work with Brad,” Pettini said. “I know the situation that’s going on in Houston and that we’re kind of in a rebuilding mode. I spent a lot of years in the Minor Leagues with St. Louis before I got a chance to go to the big leagues with Tony and spent a lot of time with younger players, and I think that experience will come into play and hopefully I will be of help.”
Pettini’s playing career was similar to Mills. Pettini played parts of four seasons with the Giants from 1980-83, appearing in 188 games with one homer and 20 RBIs. Mills played in a reserve role for the Expos from 1980-83, appearing in 106 games and hitting one home run with 12 RBIs.
Pettini will be in charge of organization and running Spring Training this year, which is what he did for years with the Cardinals in Jupiter, Fla.
“He has a lot of experience,” Mills said. “He brings a different way of doing things, which I think is good. I think the message is going to be my message, but in a different format with him and his experience. We’re looking forward to working together. We’ve talked a lot and I feel very comfortable with him.”
Said Pettini: “I’m going to be in charge of outlining the schedule. It’s still Brad’s program and his way he wants things to be done, and my job will be to help outline it and make sure the schedules go up and the meetings run smoothly and everybody knows what’s going on and everybody is on the same page. It’s still Brad’s program.”
The first week to 10 days of Spring Training will be rather hectic for Pettini, as he learns new names and faces and tries to get acclimated to a new complex in Central Florida.
“If you’re outlining the schedule every day, that’s probably the most busy time of the year,” he said. “You have a lot of players when you first get in. It’s not so bad with the pitchers and catchers, but when you have pitchers and catchers and position players report, thank God you have the support of the Minor League staff to come and help with all the players you have. It’s probably the most difficult time. You want to try to outline the program so the guys can go out and get to work. You don’t want guys standing around doing nothing because there’s things they need to do to get off the field.”
Pettini joined the Cardinals organization as a Minor League player in 1984 and went into managing after his playing career ended in 1988. Pettini managed eight seasons in the system. His last stop was at Triple-A Louisville, where he guided the Redbirds to the 1995 American Association championship. Overall, he was 475-569 at the helm of the Cardinals’ farm affiliates.
He was the organization’s minor league field coordinator from 1997-2001 before he began working with the Major League club.
“No matter how long you’ve been in the game or how good you think you are, you have to be able to keep up with the game and understand the game and understand the people and teams you play against,” Pettini said. “I know what it’s like to be a manager. I managed eight years in the Minor Leagues, and when you’re the bench coach, you have to actually follow the game as if you are the manager.
“When the manager has a question, you have to be able to answer it and you have to be able to give input as far as how the game’s going and what could benefit your club, as well as what the other clubs are doing against you.”
Pettini was born Jan. 26, 1955, in Wheeling, W.V., and graduated from Brooke High School in Wellsburg, W.V., in 1973. He received a bachelor’s degree in education from Mercer University in Macon, Ga. Pettini and his wife, Barbara, have been married 30 years and reside in Bethany, W.V. They have two children: Amy and Joseph, and a granddaughter, Marlee Joe.
Astros manager Brad Mills, who arrived at the team’s Spring Training complex in Kissimmee, Fla., on Monday, was roaming around the back fields at Osceola County Stadium on Wednesday morning, taking in the start of a sunny, 80-degree day in central Florida.
Mills said several players were already at the facility working out, including Travis Buck, J.B. Shuck, Henry Sosa, Humberto Quintero, Angel Sanchez and Brian Bixler. Pitchers and catchers will work out collectively for the first time Monday, and the first full-squad workout is scheduled for Feb.26.
“I wanted to get down here and check out the complex and walk around it and make sure everything is ready for us when we start on Monday,” Mills said. “We’ve got about seven or eight guys working out and taking BP and stuff on the field, and I thought I’d walk around and say hello and see how they’re doing. It’s kind of neat. The fields are in pretty good shape, and it’s beautiful.”
Mills expects the remainder of his coaching staff to arrive on Friday, and the staff will have meetings on Saturday and Sunday in advance of the start of camp. Mills, entering his third year as manager of the Astros, has been talking frequently with new bench coach Joe Pettini, who joins the Astros this year after 10 years in St. Louis.
“We’ve spent a lot of time on the phone going over a lot of things,” Mills said. “I think the [Spring Training workout] format is going to change because he’s done things differently. I don’t expect any problems at all. Joe and I have talked many times on the phone and it’s all gone really well.”
The Astros on Wednesday agreed to terms on a one-year, $1.15 million contract with shortstop Jed Lowrie that includes bonuses and incentives. The Astros were able to avoid the arbitration process with all their eligible players and have everyone under contract for 2012.
Lowrie, acquired along with pitcher Kyle Weiland from the Red Sox in exchange for Mark Melancon in December, hit .252 with six home runs and 36 RBIs in 88 games for Boston last year. He played all four infield positions, starting 46 games at shortstop and 29 at third base.
Lowrie, who had asked for $1.5 million and was offered $900,000 by the Astros, will make his first public appearance with the Astros on Thursday in northwest Houston as part of the team’s winter CAREavan.
“Jed is looking forward to attending the Astros caravan [Thursday], especially having resolved his contractual status and avoiding an arbitration hearing,” said agent Brodie Van Wagenen, co-head of CAA Baseball. “In the end, concessions were made by both parties that allowed a deal to be reached amicably. Jed is in the best shape of his life, ready for Spring Training and excited about suiting up for the Astros, and his relationship with the organization is off to a good start.”
Lowrie has played in parts of four Major League seasons with the Red Sox (2008-11), appearing primarily as a shortstop, which included 130 starts at the position. He is a career .252 hitter with 19 home runs and 117 RBIs. He was drafted by Boston in the first round in 2005.
“The biggest issue with Jed is the amount of time he’s on the field as opposed to the training room and the DL, but there’s nothing about his skill set that would suggest he can’t play an everyday role if he’s healthy,” Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said. “That’s one of the reasons we traded for him and that’s our expectation and hope.”
He will take over at shortstop for Clint Barmes, who wasn’t re-signed by the team after one year in a Houston uniform.
We are a little more than a week away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Astros spring camp in Kissimmee, Fla. There are currently 61 players on the spring roster, including 21 non-roster invitees. Below is the current spring roster, with non-roster players listed in italics:
PITCHERS (22 on 40-man + 6 non-roster)
58 Fernando Abad (L)
68 Juan Abreu
28 David Carpenter
63 Xavier Cedeno (L)
72 Paul Clemens
73 Rhiner Cruz
71 Jorge De Leon
66 Enerio Del Rosario
21 Zach Duke (L)
52 Sergio Escalona (L)
30 J.A. Happ (L)
64 Lucas Harrell
— Livan Hernandez
69 Arcenio Leon
59 Wilson Lopez
41 Jordan Lyles
37 Brandon Lyon
39 Brett Myers
20 Bud Norris
60 Lance Pendleton
62 Aneury Rodriguez
43 Fernando Rodriguez
51 Wandy Rodriguez (L)
65 Henry Sosa
67 Jose Valdez
74 Henry Villar
56 Kyle Weiland
53 Wesley Wright (L)
15 Jason Castro (L)
22 Carlos Corporan (S)
55 Humberto Quintero
18 Chris Snyder
27 Jose Altuve
12 Brian Bixler
93 Delino DeShields Jr.
16 Matt Downs
70 Marwin Gonzalez (S)
13 Diory Hernandez
23 Chris Johnson
45 Carlos Lee
4 Jed Lowrie (S)
46 Scott Moore (L)
38 Jimmy Paredes (S)
36 Angel Sanchez
75 Jonathan Singleton (L)
3 Joe Thurston (L)
76 Jonathan Villar (S)
29 Brett Wallace (L)
95 Brandon Barnes
19 Brian Bogusevic (L)
6 Travis Buck (L)
11 Jason Bourgeois
9 Jack Cust (L)
77 Jake Goebbert (L)
50 Fernando Martinez (L)
14 J.D. Martinez
— Justin Ruggiano
1 Jordan Schafer (L)
47 Brad Snyder (L)
8 J.B. Shuck (L)
94 George Springer
Individual tickets for 2012 Astros Spring Training home games will be available for purchase by the public on Saturday , beginning at 9 a.m. CT.
The Astros open the 2012 Grapefruit League season at home on March 3 vs. the Washington Nationals at 12:05 p.m. CT at Osceola County Stadium in Kissimmee, Fla. This year marks Houston’s 28th season in sunny Kissimmee. Workouts for pitchers and catchers in Kissimmee, which are open to the public at no charge, begin on February 20.
Tickets, which are priced the same as last spring, can be purchased in several ways: online at www.astros.com; at the Osceola County Stadium box office (home games only); by telephone at 1-800-745-3000 and in person at Florida Ticketmaster outlets (home and road games). The box office is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET and on all game days.
Osceola County Stadium ticket prices for individual games are: $24 for Dugout Box Seats, $22 for Outfield Box Seats, $20 for Upper Reserved Seats and $15 for Outfield Reserved Seats. Please note that tickets to any of the four premium games (Phillies, Cardinals, Yankees and March 27 game vs. the Tigers) are $3 higher per ticket.
The 2012 spring schedule once again includes giveaways and promotions for fans of all ages. On March 6 vs. the Mets, the first 2,000 fans will receive an Astros Visor, and on March 13 vs. the Phillies, the first 2,000 fans will receive an Astros Drawstring Backpack. Both giveaway items are compliments of Holiday Inn Main Gate East.
Following the three Astros Sunday home games (March 11, 18, 25), the Kids Run the Bases promotion will give kids the opportunity to run the bases . The Astros are also offering Value Days for fans on several dates. A ‘2 for $28’ special offer will be available on four dates (March 6, 18, 23, 28) and includes two outfield reserve tickets, two hot dogs and two Coca-Cola fountain drinks for $28. Additionally, the popular ‘All You Can Eat’ promotion is back and will be offered on the following four dates: March 5, 9, 15, 30.
The Astros Spring Training schedule includes 15 home dates, with eight of those games landing on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday, making it convenient for Houstonians traveling to Florida in March.
Two popular opponents, the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets, will visit Kissimmee on March 5 and 6, respectively, and will be followed by the Toronto Blue Jays (Friday, March 9) and A.L. Central Champion Detroit Tigers (Sunday, March 11). The Astros will then host the five-time defending NL East Champion Philadelphia Phillies on March 13 and the Blue Jays again on March 15. The Mets return on Sunday, March 18, followed by the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals (March 20) and the Nationals on Friday, March 23. Another division rival, the Pittsburgh Pirates, will be in Kissimmee on Sunday, March 25, followed by the Tigers (March 27), the Miami (formerly Florida) Marlins (March 28) and the Braves, who return for the second time on Friday, March 30. The Astros wrap up their Spring home schedule by hosting the AL East Champion New York Yankees, who will make their one visit of the Spring on Saturday, March 31.
TICKET INFORMATION, SPECIAL OFFERS, PRICES REMAIN SAME
Season tickets for Florida Spring Training games can be purchased now by calling 321-697-3201. Season ticket prices for all 15 games, which includes free parking, are as follows: $330 for Dugout Box Seats, $300 for Outfield Box Seats, $270 for Upper Reserved Seats and $225 for Outfield Reserved Seats.
Also available for purchase is the “Getaway Weekend Plan,” which includes tickets to all five Saturday and Sunday home games and is priced starting at $90 (includes free parking).