Spring Training Report: Day 2

It was another hot day in Kissimmee and there was plenty more baseball action to catch. I spent the first part of the day on the Major League side, as the Astros hosted the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals had split-squad games, so Pujols stayed back in Jupiter. Former Astro and one-year Yankee Lance Berkman did make the trip. He received a good amount of applause during player introductions and also in his first at-bat. 

2006 ‘Cat Bud Norris got the start for Houston and pitched one of his best games this spring…5 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 5 K, 0 BB. He will be the Astros 4th starter behind Brett Myers, Wandy Rodriguez and J.A. Happ.  Another thing worthy of noting is that Tommy Manzella had a pinch hit double in the latter part of the game. The Astros ended up winning the game 3-2. 

Over on the minor league side they had exhibition games against the Detroit Tigers farm clubs. Just like many of the former ValleyCats, the Tigers teams were compromised of some of the guys who played for the Oneonta/Connecticut Tigers. The same holds true for yesterday’s games against the Washington Nationals…many played on the Vermont Lake Monsters. Just don’t remind them of the fact that Vermont was in first place with a 21-9 record on July 19 while Tri-City was 9.5 games out. The Lake Monsters ended up missing the playoffs and the ‘Cats went on to sweep the Brooklyn Cyclones for the league championship.

The man on the mound when the ‘Cats won it all, Mike Ness, came into one of the games and threw 2 1/3 innings giving up 4 hits and striking out 3. The 2010 infield tandem of Mike Kvasnicka, Oscar Figueroa, Kik Hernandez and Marcus Nidiffer all played together on field one.

Before the games, Craig Biggio was once again working with the minor leaguers and from what I could see, much conversation took place between him and Kvasnicka. Yesterday it was fielding and today is was about hitting.  Astros manager Brad Mills was also standing by the cage observing. 

One last thing to note before I get into the pictures…Kik has been invited to the major league games about six times this spring and had never seen playing time until yesterday. In the Astros game against the Marlins in Jupiter, Kik pinch ran for Chris Johnson and received an at-bat in the 7th inning. He hit a sharp ground ball through the left side of the infield off of Marlins closer Leo Nunez for a single. He then scored on a Delino DeShields RBI single. The one word he used to described the experience…”Awesome!” Also in the game on Friday, J.B Shuck hit a solo home run in the second inning and Chris Wallace pinch hit for Shuck in the 9th inning, grounding out. 



Thanks for your reports. I wish I could say it’s the next best thing to being there, but since it’s snowing up here, I’ll just add that I envy you.

It’s a great gesture including “O Canada” on opening day when Stubby’s family will be there.

Good luck on the rest of your trip.


Excellent articles! Any chance you can catch up to Koby Clemens and ask him about the BP homer he hit off his Dad off the top of the scoreboard at The Joe?
Keep up the good work.
Maybe we will also hear “O Canada” if the 2011 ValleyCats make the playoffs?

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