February is almost coming to a close, which means America’s Pastime is beginning to dawn on the hearts and minds of fans, players and coaches alike.
For the Houston Astros, they enter 2010 Spring Training with many questions and a new-look squad; along with a new skipper by the name of Brad Mills.
“I think one of the best sounds in all of the world is to hear that ball hitting a leather glove,” Houston owner Drayton McLane told MLB.com Astros beat writer Brian McTaggart. “We’re very pleased with Brad Mills. Ed and I had an opportunity to sit in on his opening meeting with the pitchers and catchers and saw his leadership, the energy he had and the respect the players had for him, so that was really good.”
So what do the players think of new manager Mills?
“Camp Mills was very well organized, and it was everything he said it was going to be,” pitcher Brian Moehler told McTaggart regarding the start of Spring Training. “It was organized, it was smaller groups, it was quick and it was good. It was very efficient and we got a lot of work in a short amount of time.”
Thus far, it may only be pitchers and catchers reporting, but Mills is liking what he’s seeing as the Astros aim to turn things around in 2010.
“I loved the energy level and how they went about their business,” Mills told McTaggart upon splitting up the pitching workout into groups. “I only saw this side of camp. I didn’t get a chance to see the other side of the camp, but from what I understand, it went real well. That’s what we’re tying to get accomplished.”
With the first Spring Training game just nine days away, the Astros will be putting things into high gear over the next week or so as Houston prepares for a new MLB season.
“I couldn’t think of a better day,” Houston newcomer pitcher Brett Myers told McTaggart after the first meeting of the Spring. “Brad is very energetic and hands-on with the players, which I respect a lot. We had fun today, and I couldn’t tell you that my first day of Spring Training in the past seven, eight years was fun for me. It always felt like hard work. We worked hard today, but they made it fun doing the hard work.
“When I go home tonight and sit back and realize how much we did, I’ll go, ‘You know, we did work hard today,’ but they made it go by so fast and made it so much fun, you had to have that extra step. Instead of standing around all the time, we were moving all day today, so it was good.”
For preview pieces on individuals positions entering the 2010 campaign, be sure to check out the archives below detailing the past and future of the Houston Astros franchise…
Houston Astros Seven-Part Series: Archives
1. Starting Pitching (published Dec. 22, 2009 )
2. Bullpen (published Dec. 24, 2009 )
3. Infield (published Dec. 26, 2009 )
4. Outfield (published Dec. 28, 2009 )
5. Catchers (published Dec. 30, 2009 )
6. Bench (published Jan. 1, 2010 )
7. Coaching/Management (published Jan. 4, 2010 )
Denton Ramsey may be reached via email at email@example.com