It’s like the first day of school, only better.


Pitchers and catchers began slowly trickling into the Astros’ spring complex as far back as last week, but Saturday was the big day — everyone had to be accounted for, in uniform and ready for the first official workout of 2010.

It really is, in some ways, reminiscent of the first day of school: you see some people you know, a few who you don’t, and it’s always nice to reconnect with those who you haven’t seen in many months.

Astros pitchers and catchers took physicals, unpacked their lockers and spent 2 1/2 hours on the backfields Saturday morning to begin the 41-day process to get ready for the regular season. New bullpen coach Jamie Quirk began to get acquainted with the catchers, new pitching coach Brad Arnsberg met his full staff for the first time and first base coach Bobby Meacham gave several tutorials about the importance of successfully bunting.

Manager Brad Mills (pictured above) looked at ease through the process, although I have to assume he was (understandably) feeling a little jittery. While addressing the media, he worked hard to deflect the attention away from himself and toward the business on the field, but seeing he’s a first-year manager taking over a team that desperately needed a clean start, Mills had no choice but to talk briefly about what appears to be his least favorite topic — himself.

Asked when it finally hit him that he was solely in charge of this club, Mills, who spent the last six seasons as Boston’s bench coach, admitted he felt it when he arrived to Kissimmee more than a week ago.

“The first day, I felt it, that’s when it set in,” Mills said. “When I got down here, they gave me a tour of the facility, we had five or six players already here…and that’s when it first hit me.”

A look at Day One, through the camera lens:

Mills, with Oswalt standing to his right, addresses one group of pitchers.


Mills conducts his daily meeting (the first of two, actually) with the media on the field, while the team stretches. This beats sitting in a stuffy office.  


Three members of the Spring Training coaching staff: Jose Cruuuuz, Eric Young, Dave Clark.


Oswalt looks pretty relaxed at the beginning of Spring Training. Wondering how he’ll feel after the 500th “how’s your back?” question.  


Wandy Rodriguez insisted he had no hard feelings about losing his arbitration hearing a few days ago. “It’s reasonable,” he said. “At the end of the day it’s about the team trying to make its case and me making my case.” Wandy added that his goal is to work hard, do well this year and receive a multi-year deal next year.


Brad Arnsberg and Brad Mills talk to the pitchers.  


Running wind sprints following the work out.


Bud Norris, Brett Myers, Chris Sampson, Tim Byrdak. 


Jamie Quirk and the catchers.


Ed Wade and Ricky Bennett. Wade was recently given a two-year contract extension through 2012. Bennett and asst. GMs Dave Gottfried and Bobby Heck were extended through 2011.


Wade and Drayton talk with the media about Wade’s extension.


JR Towles signs autographs after the workout.


 Pre-workout laugh: Mills, Meacham, Al Pedrique.

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1 Comment

Man, it’s great to see players back in uniform in the flesh. Even when you hear “pitchers and catchers report,” it takes a minute to hit you that the offseason is all but finished. Quirk certainly is a very tall man, isn’t he?

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