A very different camp is completely underway for the Astros...well sort of. All of our coverage this week from West Palm Beach is brought to you by Karbach Brewing. Nothing goes better with Astros baseball than an ice cold Crawford Bock.
Not every player is in camp so far and the Astros cannot really tell us who until later today. It is all safe to assume that it is due to COVID protocols and that those guys that are not there now, should be shortly. Now to some observations from today.
1. Altuve at 2nd Watch
Infield drills took place today and the thing we of course will be watching is how Jose Altuve looks throwing the baseball after his struggles in the postseason. He, like every infielder, probably took 50 grounders or so and everything looked solid outside one airmailed throw and missed one short hop grounder. He looked fine, which is a great thing.
2. Kyle Tucker looks bigger...in a good way.
It appeared, from a distance of course, that Kyle Tucker has packed on some serious muscle over the winter, something that should be great for him. The Astros are obviously counting on him to backup that stellar breakout he had last season and added strength should only be a boost to his game.
3. Uncle Mike is Back
Michael Brantley looked like he was gone, but then he came back to us. Seeing his sweet swing out there again today was a wonderful sight. This team could have been in a really bad spot without him and his presence means so much to this club.
4. No Springer = Weird
It is just going to be so odd not having George out there all year and we got our first glimpse of it today. He was always the loudest, happiest guy out there, bringing so much to these workouts that can become boring for a bunch of rich young dudes. Music still played during batting practice, but it was still completely weird not seeing George out there getting the guys worked up.
5. Relaxed Dusty
Dusty Baker really has been a wonderful transition for this club. He was and still is exactly what they needed and it looks like things will be the same. All of the previous staff is still basically here and just like last spring, Dusty is letting his guys do their thing while making sure work is getting done. Joe Espada is going to be a manager eventually and it could very well be here one day and Dusty continues to give him some great work experience as he basically runs the show out there on the field.
That's it for day one...for now. We're about to hop on a zoom with Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman and Myles Straw. Keep it with us all week for our updates, brought you by Karbach Brewing and the Crawford Bock.