Monday was Truck Day, y'all!
Houston Astros (@astros) February 10, 2014
What does that mean? The Astros began the process of loading up their trucks and moving to Beverly. Kissimmee, that is. Swimming pools and baseball stars.
Yep, baseball will be back soon, so the Astros hosted a media luncheon on Monday with some of the best and the brightest around Houston (and me). Here are a few notes from the afternoon.
- Chris wrote a great article today talking about the first base situation. But, he didn't consider one thing (except that he did and I'm an idiot). The Astros are going to give Jason Castro time at first base this spring. The idea is to keep his bat in the lineup for longer periods of time while giving his balky knees a break.
- That's a pretty significant change for Castro. The catcher did see 19 games at designated hitter last season, but hasn't played first base professionally at any level. It also might open up the possibility of Houston carrying three catchers on the roster, with Castro splitting time between first , DH and catcher and Stassi and Corporan filling in as needed. Brett Wallace leaving the roster certainly opens up that, no?
- When he was acquired, Brooks did us a solid and looked into Dexter Fowler's injury history. He concluded that, while Fowler had a history of bumps and bruises keeping him out for small periods of time, there was nothing to suggest he was "injury prone." I don't know what I like more, that the Astros front office is locked in on the injury front or that Brooks came to pretty much the same conclusion as an MLB team.
- Everything else was pretty much vanilla and what we've heard all offseason. Fowler's the only outfielder with a spot locked up right now. Rotation is 8-10 deep and any of them could make the team. Singleton, Springer, Wojo and Buchanan all could push for spots in spring training. The only part that sort of stood out was how Luhnow talked about Raul Valdes, Peter Moylan, Collin McHugh and Darin Downs all have a chance to be Triple-A depth for Houston. First time I'd heard the two lefties mentioned like that. Sounds like that bullpen will be a hotbed of competition.
- The luncheon was, you know, a lunch, so we got to sample some of the new wares they will offer around the ballpark next season. There were mini-hot dogs with toppings like Korean and Cajun (that I didn't try), but the most interesting stuff was at the table representing the new "Street Eats" stand. There, Houston showcased a BLT made with Texas toast and chicken fried bacon. It was pretty delicious, if entirely decadent. The bacon got lost in the batter a bit, but there was good seasoning on it and the bread was nice and light. Look forward to trying those this season.
Other than that, I got the sense that everyone is super excited about the Astros Futures game, which was officially announced then. Jayne already had the scoop last week, but it sounds like a cool experience. I'll certainly be there to see Correa, Corpus and Lancaster all play at MMP. Maybe Jason Schwartz will also be there.