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One More Day...(both for the Astros and CBSSports)

The headline says it all. One more day until real baseball is back. One more day until that long offseason no longer hangs over us. One more day until we can start forgetting about the end of last season.

There's no game today, the second off day of the spring schedule. The Astros will have more off days during the next two weeks than they had in the last six. That's pretty amazing, when you think about it. I get punchy when I have two write two stories in the same day without a break.

Let's start with the Saturday exhibition. You may not have seen it, since there seemed to be about 50 people in the stands for the game. Bud Norris got lit up, but looked like he was suffering from an erratic strike zone more than control problems. Chris Johnson hit another home run in his bid to stick on the roster long-term. The most distressing part of the whole day? Brian Moehler was LIT UP.

Sure, he was the victim of some bad luck, with errors and Hunter Pence almost getting hit by a fly ball in right for the second time this spring. With all the injuries the Astros have suffered this spring, it'd be nice to know the contingency plan starter can be somewhat effective. After all, the line on Moehler last year was his ERA got inflated by a couple bad starts. Do you feel good about him getting the nod over Casey Daigle or Wilton Lopez if a starter goes down?

The Astros minor league rosters were also announced yesterday. OremLK covered the high points in his post, but I wanted to talk about two more points.

The first was that Colton Pitkin made the Lexington roster and probably that rotation. Pitkin was drafted out of Baytown High in 2007. He was drafted in the 41st round but the Astros got him signed and he pitched in seven games that year, with bad results. In 2008, he went to rookie-level Greeneville as a reliever and did well enough to be bumped up to short season Tri-City in 2009. This time, Pitkin made it to the rotation and didn't disappoint. His strikeout rate dropped from when he was in the bullpen, but he still managed to keep a low home run rate. I always like to see local kids make good and Pitkin certainly fits the bill. If he can continue to show improvement in his Age 20 season, he could vault into the top 30 prospect mix.

The other thing that stood out about the list was there were three undrafted free agents on both Class A rosters. Patrick Urckfitz is a late-inning reliever that made it up to Lancaster's roster. Jordan Comadena's story has become somewhat famous, after he was discovered by Enos Cabell at a high school alumni game. Comadena will also play at Lancaster. Kirk Clark is a reliever out of Creighton University who played at Tri-City last season and will start out in Lexington. 

This is probably not unusual, but it does seem like a high number of undrafted guys in the upper levels of the system, right? I mean, there are 50 rounds to the draft. Even getting guys like Michael Schurz and Danny Meszaros in the late 40's and having them make their way up the system. But finding guys that somehow slipped through the cracks in the draft and having them turn into productive minor league players is pretty good. Throw in the fact that these three guys were signed under Bobby Heck and I feel pretty good about the Astros scouting department, don't you?

Finally, for one last time, you get to hear about CBSSports Fantasy Commissioner League product.  Today is the last day to sign up for a league. If you haven't signed up for your league yet and are looking for a site to host it, the Commissioner League is 50 percent off for SBNation users. Just  click on this link to get the discount. As an added bonus, any SBNation user who signs up for a league will get a free TCB t-shirt for the league champion. Pretty sweet, huh? We can also run your league standings in our monthly update post during the season and you can keep us updated on how things are going with FanPosts. Reason enough to sign up, right? is an SB Nation partner and paying sponsor of the SB Nation baseball communities.
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