Spring Training 2013: Day 3

With the big league club on the road in Disney, it gave me a chance to spend time roaming the backfields of Osceola County Park. The Oklahoma City and Corpus Christi clubs were hosting the Tigers affiliates. I should point out that the only teams the Astros minor leaguers scrimmage are the Tigers, Nationals or Braves (The three closest spring homes to Kissimmee).

Pitchers that threw at the complex today included Jorge De Leon, Jonas Dufek, Carlos Quevedo and Jake Buchanan. Also in action was George Springer, Jake Goebbert, Austin Wates, Ben Orloff, Enrique “Kike” Hernandez, Erik Castro, Mike Kvasnicka, Drew Muren, Tyler Heineman, Chris Epps, Rafael Valenzuela and Andrew Aplin.

I mentioned yesterday the fact that walking through the halls of the minor league clubhouse, I’m constantly saying hello to dozens of old familiar faces. Something that’s hard to miss are the new motivational wall decorations. The major league clubhouse features these same signs.

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Today I was able to catch up with Murilo Gouvea to talk about what it was like growing up in Brazil, playing for his country in the World Baseball Classic, and his success last season at Lexington. I also spoke with Jesse Wierzbicki and Andrew Aplin about the ‘Cats memorable 2012 season and more. I’ll be posting those interviews upon my return north.

One thing that I’ve learned over these past two days is that Carlos Correa and George Springer are very entertaining individuals with outgoing personalities. For example, while I was watching the first four minutes of the UAlbany/Duke game during lunch, he asked who I liked, then how to pronounce “Albany” and he immediately said “Go Duke!” He later asked me what the final score was and said he doesn’t really pay attention to college basketball, but just wanted to root for the opposite team.

Then while walking through the clubhouse, I was trying to move out of the way for a group of players to pass by, but Springer kept pushing me into the wall as if I wouldn’t budge. I’ve also noticed that they are always joking around with their teammates. It’s attitudes like that, that get these guys through the grind of spring training. At this point, they are all ready to begin the season.

How many times have you been to a baseball game and seen batted balls come close to hitting the lights? You’ve probably never witnessed it actually happen, but it did today. A foul ball hit a light bulb on the top of the light tower, sending a loud popping noise throughout the complex and glass falling onto the field of play. Play was halted while the the grounds crew made sure all the pieces had been picked up.

Tomorrow the Astros major league club will host the Miami Marlins. Giancarlo Stanton, Juan Pierre and Justin Ruggiano will be making the trip. One guy who will not is Troy native Joe Mahoney. He is out with an oblique strain.

Below are photos recapping my day in Kissimmee. Tomorrow’s post will feature bits from the Astros vs. Marlins, and camp day on the minor league side (intersquad scrimmages).

-CC

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Tyler Heineman behind the dish

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Lancaster hitting coach Darryl Robinson speaks with Drew Muren.

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Field Coordinator Paul Runge talking to Quad Cities Outfield/Baserunning Coach and two time MLB All-Star, Vince Coleman.

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Fans line the outside of the clubhouse.

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Corpus Christi catching coach/2012 ‘Cats hitting coach Mark Bailey alongside Lancaster infield coach/former Astro, Morgan Ensberg.

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Jake Buchanan on the hill.

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Carlos Quevedo and Roberto Pena.

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Andrew Aplin.

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Chris Wallace.

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Tom Lawless, Adam Everett and Mark Bailey.

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Aplin awaiting his at-bat.

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All former major leaguers: Lawless, Everett, Ensberg, Bailey.

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