J.R. Towles had three hits including his second homer of the spring today in a 3-1 win over Detroit. Towles is now 7 for 20 this spring for a .350 average. Add in the announcement by Brad Mills that Humberto Quintero will be the personal catcher for Brett Myers and it looks like Towles will be given a shot as the primary starter behind the plate. Towles drove in another run today with a line drive up the middle. The 27 year-old backstop may be ready to realize his potential in what could be his last shot in an Astros uniform. Brett Wallace added an RBI groundout to help the cause. Wallace has had a decent spring while hitting in the heart of the lineup and appears to be front-runner for the starting job at first base. For a more detailed account of all the position battles check Jesse’s article. If both Towles and Wallace can generate some consistent offense the Astros could turn into a pleasant surprise.
That was the good news. Here’s the bad news. The Astros other split-squad contest today was a 7-1 loss to the Braves. Bud Norris had another rough outing. Norris gave up five runs in three innings of work and his ERA now stands at 10.29. Worse news for the Astros was the announcement that Wandy Rodriguez has been diagnosed with a mild case of shoulder tendonitis. Aneury Rodriguez will take Wandy’s next turn in the rotation. Only time will tell whether or not Wandy will be ready to make the start on opening day.