With Spring Training rapidly approaching the Astros took care of some clerical obligations today by signing seven players. It was also announced that minor league catchers Rene Garcia and Chris Wallace have been invited to big league camp to help handle the 28 pitchers competing to make the squad.
Brian Bogusevic celebrated his 28th birthday by signing a new one-year contract. Fernando Abad, Jason Castro, Paul Clemens, Chris Johnson, Fernando Rodriguez, and Brett Wallace were also inked to one-year deals.
Garcia and Chris Wallace will get some experience this spring while Castro continues his recovery from foot surgery. Both backstops could be ticketed for AA Corpus Christi when the season gets underway. Wallace finished last season at Corpus and could be the starter for the Hooks in 2012.
Of the seven youngsters signed today Bogusevic and Rodriguez are likely to make the Opening Day roster. Johnson and Wallace could also break camp with the big club. Both will be competing with Jimmy Paredes for the starting third base job. Clemens could also start the year at AA although AAA Oklahoma City is also a possibility. Abad will need to bounce back from a miserable 2011 to have any chance of making the club as a lefty specialist out of the bullpen.
Several Astros players have already reported to camp which officially begins on Monday for pitchers and catchers. Competition for roster spots will be fierce and some players are trying to get a head start. The first full squad workout will be held one week from tomorrow.