Baseball back in full swing!

Freshly painted Astros dugout (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Freshly painted Astros dugout in Kissimmee, FL. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Can you believe that two weeks of spring training is in the books? There is just over a month left until Major League Baseball begins their season, starting with the Astros vs. Rangers on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball, March 31.  It’s a rare national television appearance for the ‘stros, but it comes with one of the more interesting story lines for the new season.

Since the Houston Astros inception in 1962, they have played in the National League. This season they will compete in the American League west division, one of the most competitive in baseball. When Astros owner Drayton McLane sold the franchise to Jim Crane and his group of investors, Major League Baseball required that the Astros move to the AL in 2013. The reason behind this was to balance the leagues, with each now having fifteen. Due to this change, more interleague games will be played each season. You can read more about the Astros switch to the AL and it’s consequences in this article.

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While we’re on the subject of spring training, as the Major League team wraps up their second week, a select number of Astros prospects are reporting for the start of a Minor League mini-camp. The list includes many former ValleyCats including pitchers David Martinez, Brady Rodgers, Nick Tropeano, Vincent Velasquez, Aaron West and Brian Holmes. Catchers include Tyler Heineman and Jobduan Morales, and infielders include former ‘Cat Chase Davidson. Although no outfielders have officially been invited, 2010 ‘Cat Telvin Nash will be involved in some capacity.

Full Minor League camp for pitchers begins on March 3 and position players on March 7. Minor League games begin on March 14.

Be sure to follow Houston Astros MLB.com beat writer Brian McTaggart as he chronicles Astros spring training in his Tag’s Lines MLBlog.

ValleyCats Media Relations Manager Chris Chenes will be making his annual trip to Kissimmee from March 22-26 wandering the back fields of Osceola County Stadium. He will be talking with some former ‘Cats, taking lots of photos and will post daily recaps right here on ‘Cats Corner.

Here’s the ValleyCats 2013 calendar for the month of March featuring Brady Rodgers:

Roders March 2013

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Meanwhile, here at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium in chilly Troy, NY, the entire ‘Cats front office is working diligently to put together a very exciting promotional schedule for the 2013 season. We’re still putting the final touches on a few things, and are now expecting to release the full schedule in the beginning of March.

Prior to that, we have a two special announcements that we’ll be making. One involves a bobblehead, and the other is in regards to high school baseball at “The Joe!”

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Cats Care Logo Low Res

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This past Wednesday, SouthPaw spent the morning at Crossgates Mall for the B95 Kids Club. SouthPaw helped lead kids of all ages in music, dancing and games. They spun the ‘Cats prize wheel for cool prizes and took part in crafts, facepainting and more!

Here are more photos from the event:

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We’ll conclude the blog by mentioning our continued partnership with American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life.

Almost all of us have been touched by cancer in some way, so we’ve decided to make a difference by walking and raising money in the American Cancer Society Relay For Life event at “The Joe” on September 20-21.

Click here to visit the ‘Cats team page and see how you can help in the fight against cancer!

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