Astros Spring Training: Pitchers and Catchers Report (Day 1)
By Eric Huysman
Day One of Astros Spring Training.
While it is only the first official day of Astros spring training, there appears to be more of a buzz around Houston that the Astros could do something special. The Texans are a quarterback away from being decent, and the Rockets hold on to Dwight Howard despite being on pace to be a Lotto team this season, so are local talk radio shows talking Astros right now? No, except for sometimes Charlie Palilo offers his opinion of the Astros and the guys over at Talking Stros on KTXF-Db The Reel. However, once the season starts, all aboard the bandwagon.
Yesterday, the pitchers and catchers reported to Osceola County Stadium to signify the beginning of baseball across the nation. Unfortunately for the Astros, this will be the last time they will be based in Kissimmee Florida, as the joint Astros-Nationals complex is under construction. This marks the start of A.J. Hinch‘s second season as the Astros skipper, after leading the surprise team all the way to the ALDS before falling six outs short of advancing. The Astros are no longer a surprise team; they are expected to win the AL West in 2016.
The Astros will already be without Evan Gattis for at least the next four to five weeks, so they are looking to keep the players healthy. According to Evan Drellich, “Luke Gregerson will be limited as camp gets underway because of left oblique soreness.” The post continues to say that this is not a serious issue; the Astros and Gregerson are taking the cautious approach dealing with an injury that he had in 2011. The Astros will be careful about the health of the 2015 Astros closer, but will he be the closer in 2016?
Drellich has started using Facebook to live broadcast videos of players in action as well as during interviews. In his video with Gregerson, the incumbent closer feels like he should still be the closer. Gregerson acknowledges that Ken Giles will make the bullpen, but says the roles have not been decided. Then again, would you want Gregerson to go all Chad Qualls and give up the closer’s role without a fight?
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Speaking of Giles, he also reported to camp today sporting a Phillies team equipment bag. While it is not really a big deal, you know that other players probably gave him a hard time. Through Drellich’s video, Giles said all the right things about how the closers role is up for grabs, that he will have to earn it. While I agreed that the Astros will be non-committal in the beginning as they want one of the pitchers to earn the role, the writing is on the wall that the job will be Giles’. Part of spring training is the competition, so if Giles wins the spring battle, I’m sure Gregerson will be the good teammate.
It was good to see Doug Fister and Scott Feldman both warming up and throwing pitches. These two guys are the oldest guys in the mix for the rotation, so it is nice to see them playing nice. Feldman is also coming off a shoulder injury in the 2015 season, so it was nice to see him throwing again. Fister and Feldman will go at it for the fifth spot in the rotation, but the fact that Feldman is indeed healthy further adds to the depth of this Astros rotation.
Next: Houston Astros: Talking Stros, the journey so far. (Links)
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