Results tagged ‘ pictures ’

Astros pictures from Cleveland

Here are a few photos from the Astros’ stay in Cleveland:

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Doug Brocail, Dallas Keuchel and Jarred Cosart catch up with Brad Mills

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Doug Brocail looks like a natural QB

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Jarred Cosart throws a football

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Brad Mills, Terry Francona and Geoff Blum

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Rhiner Cruz, Robbie Grossman and Josh Fields await BP

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Brandon Barnes stays hydrated

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J.D. Martinez interviewed by Julia Morales

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The dugout just prior to stretch

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Carlos Corporan

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Michael Bourn catches up with old friends

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David Martinez, Jorge De Leon, Marwin Gonzalez and Carlos Corporan

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Jose Altuve

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Michael Bourn and former teammates

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Progressive Field

Game 25: Astros club 4 homers to back pitching

What happened: The Astros slugged four homers, including two by backup catcher Carlos Corporan, and got solid pitching from Lucas Harrell, Hector Ambriz and Brad Peacock to beat the Tigers, 7-2, on Thursday night at Joker Marchant Stadium (boxscore).

What we learned: C Carlos Corporan is feeling as good as he has all spring at the plate, and he might even be swinging the best bat of his career. The switch-hitting backup backstop blasted two homers — one off Justin Verlander and the other off Al Albuquerque.

“You can mature in the game and you get to know your swing and you learn,” Corporan said. “You can learn what the pitcher is trying to do. My swing has always been there and now I have more experience and figured out what they’re trying to do to me. I feel more mature.”

What we learned II: The Astros are going to have a tough decision to make when it comes to deciding the final two spots in the rotation. The club’s off-season mission of adding starting pitching depth worked, and with a week to go in camp, RHPs Brad Peacock, Alex White and Edgar Gonzalez and LHP Erik Bedard are all pitching well down the wire. Peacock worked three scoreless innings in relief Thursday.

“I felt good,” he said. “I was getting in better counts and I threw strikes. That’s all I wanted to accomplish, and that’s what I did. I threw good tonight, and hopefully I opened some eyes.”

What else: IF Brandon Laird was thrown into the game when Brett Wallace left with a pinched nerve in his neck, and he smacked his fifth homer of the spring to tie C Jason Castro for the team lead. … 3B Matt Dominguez continues to swing a good bat this spring, going 2-for-4 with a homer to improve his batting average to .314. … The Astros turned double plays in the second and sixth innings. … RF Rick Ankiel showed off his arm, throwing out a runner at third base in the fifth inning. … The Astros didn’t make an error.

What went wrong: Other than Wallace leaving with a mild injury, it was a near flawless night for the Astros.

What they said: “We don’t have a good team on paper, but on talent I think we have a really, really good team. We have a lot of people who can change the game with one swing. That’s going to be my goal this year, trying to keep it two or three runs per game and I know someone is going to turn on one. That’s the big difference between this year and last year.” — Astros backup C Carlos Corporan.

What’s next: RHP Bud Norris, who was named as the club’s Opening Day starter on Wednesday, gets the start for the Astros when they face the Cardinals at 12:05 p.m. Friday at Osceola County Stadium. RHP Jose Veras, who just helped the Dominican Republic win the World Baseball Classic, is scheduled to get back on the mound for the Astros for the first time since March 1.

Who’s injured: OF Fernando Martinez (lower back strain) is day-to-day. … 1B Brett Wallace (pinched nerve in neck/upper back) is day-to-day. … RHP Edgar Gonzalez (bruised shin) took a liner off his shin during a Triple-A game on Thursday and is day-to-day.

Tweet of the day:

Links of the day:

The day in photos:

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Steve Sparks shows off his grip to Tony DeFrancesco, perhaps campaigning to eat up some innings this year in Oklahoma City

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Bo Porter throws BP

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Rick Ankiel makes good contact. Good form, too

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Justin Maxwell, John Mallee and Chris Carter

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Baseball flying towards Jose Altuve

Game 9: Astros play long ball again

What happened: J.D. Martinez and Carlos Pena each hit their first homers of the spring to lead the Astros to a 6-5 win over the Braves on Saturday afternoon at windy Osceola County Stadium (boxscore).

What we learned: It takes 1B/DH Carlos Pena a little bit of time to get comfortable at the plate. Pena certainly appeared to be in a comfort zone when he hit his first homer of the spring in the first inning, the only hit in a 1-for-3 day that raised his spring batting average to .214.

“Sometimes you get out there and it feels like an alien planet when you’re in the box in a game situation,” he said. “I’ve had enough experience to understand I need to be patient and keep on working on the process and the results will take care of themselves.

“It definitely felt good to get one today and I thought my timing was pretty good, my contact was pretty good and it ended up going over the fence. I’m happy with the type of move I made on it and the contact and the way everything clicked in that particular swing.”

What we learned II: Getting a couple of hits, including a home runs, can do wonders for players in the spring, even if the stats really don’t mean much. RF J.D. Martinez has retooled his swing as he tries to make the club, and he went 2-for-3 with a long homer to left-center – his first of the spring.

“It’s Spring Training and you want to get in those situations where you go up there and hit the ball hard,” he said. “You don’t care about anything else. That’s all I can control, and everybody did a great job in front of me. [Justin] Maxwell hit that double and Fernando [Martinez] drove him in and it started a rally. Hitting’s contagious.”

What else: RHP Philip Humber was much sharper in his second outing of the spring, working three innings in relief and allowing two hits and one run while striking out three batters.

“I threw more strikes and I was behind the ball a little bit better,” Humber said. “All in all, a step in the right direction. It’ s not where I want to be yet, but definitely an improvement over that first one. That’s what you want.”

What went wrong: The Astros made a season-high four errors – 2B Marwin Gonzalez, C Jason Jaramillo, SS Tyler Greene, CF George Springer. Gonzalez and Springer both made errors in the seventh inning that led to three unearned runs and prompted manager Bo Porter to huddle the infield for a talk.

“When you’re up by four runs in the seventh inning, at that point you want to play outs,” he told the team. “You don’t want to do anything drastic with the baseball, you want to take the outs they give you and take it one out at a time and go ahead and secure the game. I don’t think that we took care of the baseball in that inning, and that allowed them to get back into the ballgame.”

What they said: “I love the fact our starters are all throwing strikes. They’re down in the strike zone and if you look at the reports, they’re getting a lot of ground balls, which is huge for our defense.” – Astros manager Bo Porter.

What’s next: RHP John Ely, who pitched two innings in relief in his only spring outing Feb. 26, gets the starts for Houston when it travels to Bradenton, Fla., to face the Pirates at 12:05 p.m. CT on Sunday. Ely is competing for a spot in the rotation. Also scheduled to pitch are Jordan Lyles, Sergio Escalona, Sam Demel, Chia-Jen Lo and Jose Valdez.

Who’s injured: RHP Hector Ambriz (ankle sprain) is close to appearing in his first game. … C Max Stassi (sports hernia surgery) has returned to camp and is expected to miss 6-8 weeks.

Tweets of the day:

Links of the day: Astros notebook has Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez’s thoughts on Porter taking over the Astros. Porter played for Gonzalez in the Minor Leagues. We also catch up with Chris Johnson of the Braves in his first trip to Kissimmee since being traded by the Astros, and much more.

The day in pictures:

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Fred McGriff shares a laugh with Fredi Gonzalez, Bo Porter and Enos Cabell

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Fredi Gonzalez catches up with Bo Porter, who he managed in Triple-A in 2002

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Fredi Gonzalez gets animated with Bo Porter and Fred McGriff

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Nate Freiman

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Marwin Gonzalez from the left side

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Peter Gammons, Bo Porter and Dan Uggla

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Brett Wallace catches up with friend and former teammate, Chris Johnson

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My man Jose Cruz can still hit I bet

To the victors go the spoils…and banana splits

The Astros have spent all spring practicing their post-game handshakes, and on Thursday they got a chance to work on their walk-off win celebration.

Brandon Laird’s RBI single in the bottom of the sixth inning capped a four-run rally to send Team Ensberg to a 5-4 win over Team Everett in an intrasquad game at Osceola County Stadium.

“Never say die with the ‘Stros,” manager Bo Porter said. “That’s outstanding. It was a great comeback with a lot of energy. It served a great purpose. They played the game the way it’s supposed to be played and took advantage of mistakes the other team made.”

Morgan Ensberg said: “Our motto the whole time is ‘That’s what we do, we win.’ I’ll be honest with you. It was the young guys that did it. Delino DeShields had some huge hits. Jake [Goebbert] in the bottom of the seventh hits the triple to tie it up. Chris Carter gets a couple of hits and Brandon Laird gets a couple of hits, and all of a sudden we’re partying on the field.”

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The losing team had to serve banana splits to the winning team.

“You want to turn it into a little bit of fun,” Porter said. “These guys have worked hard this entire camp and now we’re getting ready to play against opponents… We put a small wager on the line, something we all like — ice cream and banana splits.”

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Ensberg called it the biggest win of his managerial career, which isn’t hard to do when it’s your first game.

“The thing that’s impressive about it is my managerial style hurts the players, and the fact they could do something positive with me in the dugout is a testament to their mental fortitude,” he joked.

Here are the pictures from the intrasquad:

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Astros new radio team of Robert Ford and Steve Sparks.

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Coach Morgan Ensberg has already earned a name on his back.

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Players watch from the dugout.

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Carlos Corporan.

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Brandon Barnes connects.

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Jake Elmore.

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Brett Wallace

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Chris Carter.

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Vince Coleman.

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Chris Carter.

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Adam Everett.

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Bo Porter watches intrasquad.

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Veterans Jason Castro, Tyler Greene, Brett Wallace and Wesley Wright.

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To the victors go the spoils.

Porter visits with veterans about leadership

Astros manager Bo Porter met with a group of players prior to Wednesday morning’s workout that he wants to take a leadership role on the club this spring. The meeting, which Porter dubbed “Astros Talk,” included Jason Castro, Carlos Corporan, Jason Jaramillo, Erik Bedard, Bud Norris, Philip Humber, Lucas Harrell, Wesley Wright, Jose Veras and Edgar Gonzalez.

“We talked about leadership, and there’s a reason why I picked those guys,” he said. “Some of those guys have been on other teams where obviously it hasn’t been the situation we have here where we have a lot of young guys, and a lot of times these guys have been on teams and they have been the young guys.

“They now find themselves in a situation they become the older spokesmen. Like I said to them, I want to make sure we’re all on one sheet of music and we understand what leadership is all about and how you can effectively lead. If they had any questions, I wanted to be available for them to answer those questions to make sure we’re on one accord.”

Most baseball names don’t have a captain as in some other sports. The Yankees are one team that has traditionally identified a singular captain. Porter doesn’t plan to do that in Houston. Instead, he’s giving the responsibility of leader the younger players to those with the most service time.

“I explained to them, we’re not looking for one leader,” Porter said. “We’re looking for a group of leaders, because I’m a firm believer that leaders have to exist in every area, every level of the organization if you want the organization to continue to grow and continue to thrive. And the leaders have to develop the next wave of leaders. We’re not looking for one; we’re looking for a group.”

The first injury of camp was reported Wednesday morning when catcher Max Stassi, acquired in last week’s trade with Oakland, was diagnosed with a strained oblique. He will be held out of drills Wednesday.

“We’re going to pull him back a little bit as far as his workload goes,” Porter said. “He kind of tweaked his oblique a little bit.”

Here are a couple of quick morning photos:

Third base coach Dave Trembley is always smiling as he is here talking with Dave Clark and Dennis Martinez.

Third base coach Dave Trembley is always upbeat as he is here talking with Eduardo Perez and Dennis Martinez.

Bud Norris stretches prior to workout.

Bud Norris stretches prior to workout.

New-look Astros kick off a new era

The smell of fresh paint, new carpeting in the clubhouse and sharp new uniforms hanging neatly in the lockers of the players were all reminders these are not your grandfather’s Astros. In fact, they’re pretty far removed from the 2012 Astros.

With pitchers and catchers reporting to Osceola County Stadium on Monday morning to shake hands, take physicals and get in a light workout, the Astros cranked up their first Spring Training as an American League club. New manager Bo Porter will have to wait until Tuesday to see the pitchers and catchers hit the field for the first official workout, but the start is near.

“I’m extremely anxious,” Porter said. “You spend your whole offseason waiting for this day to come and now that it’s here, obviously there’s a lot of anticipating of getting with the guys and you can see the excitement in their eyes. We’re just ready to get on the field and get started.”

Right-hander Philip Humber is one of 39 new faces to camp this year after spending last year with the White Sox. The Texas native was thrilled to pull on his No. 59 jersey.

“It’s that time of year when you’ve done everything you need to do to prepare for Spring Training and a new season and you start getting that itch it’s time to start putting everything you’ve done in the offseason to work,” he said. “I’m excited to be here, excited to meet all these new faces and just get started playing baseball.”

Many position players have already reported, well ahead of Friday’s official report date. All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve arrived in Florida on Saturday. Also spotted Monday morning were Brett Wallace, Matt Dominguez, J.D. Martinez, Brandon Barnes, Justin Maxwell, Jake Elmore and Marc Krauss.

“I feel really good, and I wanted to get here a little early to get ready and prepare the right way to star the season,” Altuve said.

Here are some morning pictures:

Sign as you enter the clubhouse.

Sign as you enter the clubhouse.

Worker gets the field ready.

Worker gets the field ready.

Astros manager Bo Porter reports for work.

Astros manager Bo Porter reports for work.

new uniforms hung neatly in lockers.

New uniforms hung neatly in lockers.

Wes Wright unloads a box while talking to Lucas Harrell.

Wes Wright unloads a box while talking to Lucas Harrell.

More motivation for the players, courtesy of Bo Porter.

More motivation for the players, courtesy of Bo Porter.

Catcher Jason Jaramillo emerges from clubhouse.

Catcher Jason Jaramillo emerges from clubhouse.

Jason Castro on his way to the field.

Jason Castro on his way to the field.

Bo Porter talks to the media in the morning.

Bo Porter talks to the media in the morning.

Pitching coach Doug Brocail and pitchers prepare to stretch.

Pitching coach Doug Brocail and pitchers prepare to stretch.

Luhnow, others receive championship rings

Former Cardinals front-office employees Mike Elias, Sig Mejdal and Jeff Luhnow receive their 2011 World Series championship rings on Wednesday.

Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow, director of decision sciences Sig Mejdal and special assistant to the GM/scouting Mike Elias each received their 2011 St. Louis Cardinals World Series rings prior to Wednesday’s game at Minute Maid Park.

Astros bench coach Joe Pettini, who was former Cardinals manager Tony La Russa’s right-hand man for 10 years, received his in the clubhouse a few moments earlier.

The rings were presented by Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt Jr. and general manager John Mozielak in Luhnow’s booth. For Luhnow, it’s 10th ring in either the Minors or the Majors while with the Cardinals.

“We work hard in this industry, we work long hours and the reward is when you get win a championship,” said Luhnow, who was hired from the Cardinals in December and quickly brought Mejdal and Elias to Houston. “The celebration and being able to get hardware like this is why we do this, why we’re in this industry. I was glad to be a part of it, and I can’t wait until we do the same thing here in Houston. That’s my ultimate goal.”

DeWitt, who hired Luhnow into the industry in 2003, was pleased to be able to present his former employees with the hardware.

“We’re really pleased to be herd and these guys did such a great job for us,” Dewitt said. “We’re happy to come up here and personally present it. It’s a great honor for us to come do it, and they deserve it.”

Dewitt expects Luhnow to be successful in Houston.

“He’s had a great start with the Draft,” Dewitt said. “We’re all very impressed with that. We hated to lose all of them, but that will speak well for Houston over the years. I’m sure [the Astros] will have a good team before long.”

Elias worked under Luhnow from 2007-11 and as area scout and later as manager of amateur scouting with crosschecking responsibilities. Mejdal worked with the Cardinals from 2005-11, most recently as director of amateur draft analytics.

“It’s a great reminder of the five years with the Cardinals and everything we exprerineced there,” Elias said. “They gave me my first opportunity in baseball – Jeff, Sig, Mo and Mr. DeWitt – and this is probably the best keepsake you could have from something like that. There’s a lot of pride in wearing it.”

Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt Jr, GM John Mozielak present Astros GM Jeff Luhnow with his 2011 World Series championship ring.

Astros GM Jeff Luhnow shows off his 2011 World Series championship ring.

Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt Jr, GM John Mozielak present Astros director of decision sciences Sig Mejdal with his 2011 World Series championship ring.

Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt Jr, GM John Mozielak presented Astros assistant to the GM/scouting Mike Elias with his 2011 World Series championship ring.

Mills sporting a black eye and a new watch

The Astros worked out on the stadium field at the Osceola County Stadium complex for the first time Friday morning in anticipation of Saturday’s Grapefruit League opener against the Washington Nationals.

Before the players began to stretch, manager Brad Mills addressed the team and lauded non-roster outfielder Brandon Barnes for presenting him earlier in the morning with a Transformers watch. Mills’ watch was shattered and he suffered a black eye Wednesday when a ball came through the netting behind the cage and struck him.

“That’s pretty good for a young kid to do that,” Mills said. “I told the guys if we screw up on the time today, it’s Brandon’s fault, because of the Transformers watch.”

Here’s the latest on the Astros:

  • LHP Sergio Escalona, who injured his throwing elbow swinging a bat last week, will be shut down for a few days, Mills said. Escalona had an MRI on Thursday, which showed no structural damage.
  • Mills announced the next two starters in his rotation following Livan Hernandez (Saturday), J.A. Happ (Sunday) and Jordan Lyles (Monday).  Wandy Rodriguez will start Tuesday against the Mets, and Bud Norris will start Wednesday against the Phillies in Clearwater.
  • Among the relievers scheduled to pitch behind Hernandez on Saturday are Brett Myers and Brandon Lyon, who will be pitching in a game for the first time since May. Myers will throw one inning in his debut as Astros closer (he won’t pitch the ninth, however).
  • The batting order has yet to be announced, but Mills revealed his starters for Saturday’s game against the Nats: Chris Johnson (third base), Jed Lowrie (shortstop), Jose Altuve (second base), Carlos Lee (first base), J.B. Shuck (left field), Jason Bourgeois (center field), Travis Buck (right field), Castro (catcher) and Jack Cust (DH).
  • Third baseman Jimmy Paredes, who’s nursing a sore left wrist, took batting practice left-handed Thursday, but is still not cleared to swing right from the right side of the plate.
  • Castro, who missed all of last year following knee surgery and then had foot surgery in December, will catch only three innings Saturday. Mills said he’d like Castro to catch three more innings Monday and then perhaps four on Wednesday, depending on how he feels.

Players gather to stretch on the stadium field for the first time

Mills in favor of extra playoff team

Add Astros manager Brad Mills to the list of people that like the idea of baseball perhaps adding another team to the playoffs.

Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association are working toward a Thursday deadline to expand the playoffs by adding two additional Wild Card teams overall, creating a one-game first-round playoff in each league, beginning with the 2012 postseason.

“It’s going to be good for the all the fans,” said Mills, who spent six years as bench coach of the Red Sox before coming to Houston. “Even though you’re adding one more spot, you’re creating a lot of interest for more teams in both leagues.  I’m definitely in favor of that. If I’m not mistaken, it’s going to be a one-game playoff, and those are always fun.”

By the way, the Astros would have made the playoffs in 1995 had the two Wild Card teams in each league been in effect.

Astros left-handed relief pitcher Sergio Escalona, who injured his elbow swinging a bat early in camp, was examined by team doctors Thursday and was scheduled to undergo an MRI, manager Brad Mills said.

Escalona’s elbow didn’t respond as well as the Astros would like following his live batting practice session Wednesday.

“Escalona’s arm, after he threw yesterday, just wasn’t where he feels it needs to be and really our doctors and staff feels it needs to be,” Mills said. “We’re going to get him some more tests on that to see where he’s at, so he’s probably not going to throw for a while with that.”

Here is the day in pictures:

Brett Wallace follows through.

J.D. Martinez takes a break to laugh during BP.

Bud Norris fires a pitch during live BP.

Jed Lowrie, Travis Buck and bullpen catcher Javier Bracamonte.

Fernando Rodriguez warms up in the bullpen.



Lee reports as full squad hits the field

After listening to speeches from owner Jim Crane, general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager Brad Mills, 63 Astros players hit the field for the first full-squad workout of the spring. The Astros have a week to get up to speed before opening Grapefruit League play Saturday against the Washington Nationals.

Among those on the field for the first time Sunday was Carlos Lee, who’s in the final year of his six-year, $100-million contract and likely his final season in Houston

Lee, 35, batted .275 with 18 homers and 94 RBIs in 155 games last year, and he hasn’t put up the same kind of numbers the last two seasons as did during his first three years in Houston when he hit .306 and averaged 29 homers and 107 RBIs.

“Last year, I started really slow, but I kind of figured it out and worked hard on my hitting and had a great second half,” he said. “I did what I’m capable of doing. Hopefully we take off in the same condition I was last year hitting the ball like I normally do.”

Crane made news when he told reporters the Astros would likely change uniforms next year.

Here is the day in photos, with an emphasis in smiles and autographs:

Astros owner Jim Crane and principal owner Bill Morgan stroll the back fields.

Jim Crane addresses reporters, saying team will likely change uniforms.

Juan Abreu rocks and fires in the bullpen.

Fernando Rodriguez signs autographs, chats with fans.

Jose Altuve, Travis Buck and Humberto Quintero await facing live pitching.

Travis Buck and Minor League baserunning coordinator Milt Thompson share a laugh.

J.D. Martinez laughs at the batting cage.

Kyle Weiland throws a round of living batting practice.

Aneury Rodriguez signs autographs.

A line of fans await Zach Duke's signature.

Sergio Escalona throws in the bullpen with Doug Brocail watching.