February 2008

I know what I did last winter

Captbc159e01f1fe457c9e1abe5b665f0765astrFirst of all, I want to thank you so much for being here. If you’re reading us, it’s because you’ve been keeping an eye on us and on astrosdehouston.com. I cannot feel anything else other than thankful and honored. I know this blog has been quite very silent these days, but we’ll do something about it. We’ll post sporadically right until this season starts, when our posting frequency will certainly increase.

It wasn’t for a lack of topics during the offseason. But there were personal reasons which didn’t allow us to keep our regular conversation with you going, the way we want to. We did our job of covering the Venezuelan Winter League for astrosdehouston.com and lasmayores.com. We hope you liked it as much as we loved writing those.

We spent the Holidays with our loved ones. We even started to write our blog posts and articles on a different OS, Ubuntu Linux. We saw how the Roger Clemens steroid claims unfolded. We regret the situation, and quite frankly, we want to wait to find out how it all ends to talk about it. It’s a bit hard, trust me.

But there are no reasons for keeping silent anymore. You see, it’s that time of the year again. Spring Training has begun and, as usual at this time of the year, all 30 MLB teams feel with a right to dream big things once again.

The Astros are no exception to that, despite last year’s dismal finish. With a new manager in his first full season, a roster for which the word "overhaul" is an understatement, with a new GM, new position players, new pitchers, new closers, new you-name-it-and-it’s-most-probably-new. The face of the Astros organization is a different one.

Cecil Cooper has been optimist all along. He likes seeing Hunter Pence swinging and sending the ball a bit further in every hit. An emotional, wild and committed Jose Valverde. And Cooper has told us he just wants him to stay that way on the mound.

J.R. Towles now is responsible for the starting catching position. He has to soak in as much knowledge as possible from Brad Ausmus. Fernando Nieve wants to show us his arm is totally healthy. Felipe Paulino wants to stay on the Show.

And all of this is going on without Lance Berkman and Miguel Tejada arriving yet.

?We have a lot to accomplish this season", Cooper said. "We have a new team with new guys and a new attitude. Last season was unacceptable, and we have to come out here and get ready to play the way we know how to play this season.?

Wow. This new guy list is huge.

OF Reggie Abercrombie, IF Geoff Blum, OF Michael Bourn, RHP Doug Brocail, RHP Jack Cassel, C Alberto Castillo, OF Jose Cruz, Jr., RHP Mike DeJean, OF Victor Diaz, OF Darin Erstad, RHP Geoff Geary, OF Nick Gorneault, RHP Runelvys Hernandez, RHP Carlos Hines, C J.R. House, RHP Ryan Houston, C Josh Johnson, IF Kazuo Matsui, OF David Newhan, IF Lance Niekro, RHP Chad Paronto, IF Tomas Perez, OF Yordany Ramirez, IF Miguel Tejada, RHP Jose Valverde, RHP Oscar Villarreal and LHP Wesley Wright

From 52 players present this Spring, 27 are new to the Organization. That number stayed with us.