Spring Training 2013: Final Wrap-Up

So like I expected, my yearly spring training trip flew by! I was able to catch up with many former ValleyCats, current Astros and my friends within the front office. They treated me extremely well and it is much appreciated. A big thank you to Allen Rowin, Jay Edmiston, Pete Putila, Steve Grande, Paulie Burgess and the rest of the Astros staff for dealing with me these past six days.

Following the storms on Sunday, a cold front moved through the Orlando area and brought with it very windy and cool conditions (my inner meteorlogist at work again!), as evidence by Jorge De Leon all bundled up.


On Monday the Astros were hosting the Washington Nationals in a night game, a rare occurrence during spring training. Before the game I was able to catch up with Bud Norris and Brandon Barnes, two former ‘Cats looking to make an impact with the big league club this upcoming season. Norris has been named the Astros number one starter, and Barnes just found out that he has made the team. I’ll be posting my interviews with both of them before the end of the week. Bud is excited to get the nod in the Astros home opener, a nationally televised game on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball to open the Major League season. Barnes attributed his success to hard work, resilience and his faith.

ValleyCats fans should know that Bud is a huge ‘Cats fan, and even went so far as to call them “my ValleyCats!”. So be proud when you all watch him throw the biggest game of his short career, and remember that he began his professional career at “The Joe!”

For Bud’s final tune-up, he threw in a minor league game on Tuesday. Jason Castro caught him during the outing. Norris gave up some hits and a couple of runs, but you can’t read much into it. I’m sure he wasn’t throwing at 100%, as he wants to save his stuff for when it really matters.


Right after Norris threw, 2012 ‘Cats pitcher Brady Rodgers took the hill with ’12 teammate M.P. Cokinos behind the plate.


On the other field, Erik Bedard was getting his work in. Bedard has just been named the Astros number five starter.


I mentioned the weather became much cooler, and by that I mean MUCH cooler. It was actually downright freezing! Wind gusts of 50mph and temps in the 50’s created tough playing conditions, and viewing conditions.


Astros Manager Bo Porter and Director of Player Development Quinton McCracken watch Bud Norris make his final tune-up before Opening Night.

The Astros are traveling to Tampa to face the Yankees in another night game on Tuesday, so Porter was one of many from the big league club who stopped over to watch the minor league action.

Former 'Cats, David Martinez and Jose Altuve.

Former ‘Cats, David Martinez and Jose Altuve.

As my trip wraps up and I prepare to head home to get ready for the ValleyCats 2013 season, let me leave you with a few more photos from my last day, some great photos of your former ValleyCats!


Catfish Elkins


Carlos Correa


Jason Castro


Joel Chimelis instructing Carlos Correa



Dan Gulbransen, M.P. Cokinos and Catfish Elkins.


Mark Bailey, Morgan Ensberg and Tony DeFrancesco.


Gulbransen, Cokinos, Elkins


Joel Chimelis and Justin Gominsky.


Excellent photos and commentary. Thanks Chris.

It was my pleasure! Thank you for being such an avid blog follower and loyal fan!!

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