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Astros spring training review

Discussion in 'Houston Astros' started by Free Agent, Feb 26, 2003.

  1. Free Agent

    Free Agent Member

    Oct 19, 2002
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    Throughout spring training, SI.com will feature regular dispatches from Sports Illustrated staffers assigned to scout camps in the Grapefruit and Cactus leagues.

    By Jeff Pearlman, Sports Illustrated

    Team: Houston Astros

    Site: Kissimmee, Fla.

    Weather: Warm, breezy, high 60s

    Player I Saw Whom I Really Liked: At age 32, outfielder Brian Hunter isn't the same player of six years ago, when he led the American League with 74 stolen bases. Hunter has lost half a step due to knee surgery, and he's settled in comfortably as the Astros fourth or fifth outfielder. That said, the guy is wonderfully engaging; a smart, insightful man whose post-baseball career is already in full bloom. Hunter is the founder, president and CEO of 21 Ways Production, an independent R&B music company based in Vancouver, Wash. Although he'd still like to be the next Rickey Henderson, Hunter would just as happily follow the path of Russell Simmons. Here's hoping he pulls it off.

    Around the Horn: I watched Jeff Kent take grounders this Monday morning, and he's no Craig Biggio. Though Kent is supposed to have relatively soft hands, he booted several easy grounders. Yeah, it's just practice. But how is Houston's collection of ground-ball pitchers going to feel when shots Biggio would have handled with ease get past Kent at second? Stay tuned. ... When GM Gerry Hunsicker was an assistant with the Mets, he helped orchestrate the 1992 deal that brought Kent and outfielder Ryan Thompson to New York in exchange for David Cone. "The funny thing is, Kent was the second guy," he says. "We knew we wanted Thompson, and we needed one more player. A scout had good things to say, so we got him." ... Biggio says he's excited to move to center field, although he'll miss the action in the infield. "You're right there in the heat of it all," he says. "I hope I won't feel far away." ... After missing most of last season after undergoing a back operation to repair a wounded disc, Shane Reynolds threw BP without pain. Should he return to win 15 games, Reynolds will be an easy Comeback Player of the Year winner. Doctors suggested the right-hander's career was likely over when he lost feeling from his right buttock all the way to his right big toe. Now he's back. "I have to overcome the fear of reinjuring myself," he says. "But I'm throwing well." ... Who says baseball players are morons only interested in American Pie 2, Maxim and PlayStation? Astros pitcher Peter Munro is in the midst of Mark Bowden's novel, Killing Pablo. This winter, Munro finished both A Prophetic Vision for the 21st Century and a biography of Winston Churchill. ... Manager Jimy Williams announced the heart of his lineup, and it's a dandy. Jeff Bagwell will bat second, followed by Lance Berkman and Kent. It's the best trio in baseball. ... Former Astros star Joe Niekro attended practice recently. He offered to aid Jared Fernandez, Houston's only knuckleballer. ... For $2.50, fans are treated to the best jumbo hot dog in Florida. ... Third baseman Geoff Blum must hear the truth: He has the haircut of a Real World: Las Vegas reject. ... Laura Cole, my mother in law, says the Astros will win the Central by at least 15 games.

    Sports Illustrated senior writer Jeff Pearlman will check in periodically with reports from his tour of spring camps. Click here to send a question to his Spring Training Mailbag.
  2. bobrek

    bobrek Politics belong in the D & D

    Sep 16, 1999
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    The writer had to have misunderstood Williams. Bagwell will not bat second. This would be big news and it's not int he Chronicle or on astros.mlb.com.
  3. Rocketman95

    Rocketman95 Hangout Boy

    Feb 15, 1999
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    Bagwell's gonna bat second??
  4. ArtV

    ArtV Contributing Member

    Jun 25, 2002
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    If that order is correct - who's batting 5th?
  5. rezdawg

    rezdawg Contributing Member

    Feb 15, 2000
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    I think they messed up. A few days ago, on Astros.com, I read that Bagwell will be 3rd, followed by Berkman, then by Kent.
  6. Joe Joe

    Joe Joe Go Stros!
    Supporting Member

    May 3, 1999
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    If this is correct (It is possible Jimmy has already changed his mind), Hidalgo would most likely bat 5th. He looked lighter on Fox Sports last night than last year, but he is not as slim as he was in 2000.
  7. Puedlfor

    Puedlfor Contributing Member

    May 30, 2000
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    Damn, damn, damn.

    Got my hopes up that Bagwell would be batting second, and bleh. Nothing.
  8. Two Sandwiches

    Two Sandwiches Contributing Member

    Feb 6, 2002
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    I wake up a lot with no feeling in my hip area. Wonder if thats what is causing it?
  9. jtotheb

    jtotheb Contributing Member

    Oct 8, 2002
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    On the Spring Training topic...have any of you been to the new complex in Kissimmee this year? I went last year and had a great time. I am going back this year and just wanted to know how the new digs are....and if they are as "fan friendly" as they have been in year's past.
  10. intermill

    intermill Contributing Member

    Feb 4, 2003
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    this is from espn.com

    Williams also has named center fielder Craig Biggio as the likely leadoff hitter while shortstop Julia Lugo likely will bat second, followed by first baseman Jeff Bagwell, outfielder Lance Berkman at clean-up and second baseman Jeff Kent fifth.

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