Astros hit the field on first day of practice
Astros manager Bo Porter pointed out what this Spring Training is all about to his players as they arrived at the team’s spring training complex in Kissimmee, opportunity.
“We talked about the opportunity that presents itself in this organization,” Porter told reporters Tuesday. “Like I explained to them, embrace both of them. Embrace the change and embrace the opportunity and we’re looking for guys to take the bull by the horns and run with the opportunity and become a Houston Astro.”
One of the biggest things that Porter wanted to emphasize to help his players get their best results is to change the culture.
“We talk about the culture, we talk about winning," Porter said. "We’re going to be doing things that symbolizes winning and get these guys mindset and get used to shaking hands.”
Bedard starts making his case
Starting pitcher Erik Bedard is by far the longest tenured pitcher in the Major Leagues among the pitchers in Kissimmee but he’s in the same boat as the rookies at Spring Training, competing for one of the five spots in the starting rotation.
“I’m going to come here and compete,” Bedard said. “Do the best I can and at the end of the day that’s all I can do. If I make the team I make the team and if not I move on. But I’d love to stay here and contribute.”
“There’s lot of opportunities, yes, but a good young group of guys,” Bedard said. “That’s what you want sometimes. Being eager to go out and play hard every day and they give their 100 percent.”
Ankiel seeks playing time, finds chemistry
Outfielder Rick Ankiel had several ties to the Astros organization from manager Bo Porter, who was in Washington with him the last two seasons, to General Manager Jeff Luhnow from his days with the Cardinals, but it was something else that swayed him to pick Houston this offseason.
“For me it was about playing time and I felt like I had the most playing time here,” Ankiel said. “I’m a competitor and I wanted to play so it made sense.”
When Ankiel got here, he figured he’d see a clubhouse filled with players who haven’t spent much, if any, time in the Major Leagues. He was right, though he found a close knit clubhouse because many of the players have already spent plenty of time with each other.
“I haven’t checked but I’m sure they’ve played together coming all the way up and they get to build bonds and you get to jump in with them at the same time,” Ankiel said.