Note to self: More pictures of Pence in plaid pastels.

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Plenty of reactions poured in after we posted this picture on Twitter of Hunter Pence and his stylish sport coat he wore to the Pink in the Park Brunch and Bazaar on Thursday:

Many of you liked it, many did not. But I was struck by the number of comments that arrived in the form of “So-and-so called. He wants his blazer back.”

The complete listing of so-and-so’s:

Milo.
Craig Sager.
Tim Meadows (so he has something to wear in The Ladies Man 2).
Walt Frazier.
Buddy Holly.
The 1970s
Jim Deshaies (who has a similar eyesore called the “Guaranteed Win Jacket”).
Deion Sanders.

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Braves closer Billy Wagner has been gone from the Astros for seven years, but he still has close ties to several in the organization. As he made his rounds through Astros territory during batting practice Friday, he said to former teammate and current hitting coach Sean Berry, “I announced my retirement today. I’m done.”

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I thought he was kidding, and I’m pretty sure Sean did too, initially. Apparently, Billy’s serious. He told Bobby Cox he’s done after this year, regardless of whether he reaches his goal of 400 saves (he’s currently sitting on 387).

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While I’ve been all over the country throughout my years working for or covering the Astros, I haven’t done a whole lot of international travel. In fact, most of my times crossing any  borders have been work-related, and very sporadic — a few roadies to Montreal in the late 1990s and Spring Training exhibition trips to Venezuela (2001) and Mexico City (2004).

I’m about to add the Dominican Republic to the list and even though it’ll be a really quick trip, I’m looking forward to finally seeing it for myself.

The Astros are officially opening their brand new Dominican Academy in Boca Chica on May 10, and I’ll be tagging along with the front office contingent for the ribbon-cutting ceremony and celebration. The Academy has been up and running for a while, with approximately 35 players currently preparing for their season, which is scheduled to begin at the end of May.

At the opener, the Astros will play the Phillies’ Dominican Summer League club in a five-inning exhibition game following the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Not sure how much live Tweeting I’ll be able to do down there from my cell phone, but we’ll post plenty of pictures and videos in the blog soon after our return later that evening.

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Injury update:

Chris Johnson (strained rib cage) has been hitting off a tee and hopes to start hitting in the cage in the near future. He still feels the pull in his midsection but says he’s making decent progress. Johnson is eligible to come off the DL on May 4.

Lance Berkman was held out of Friday’s game after tweaking his groin during his last at-bat on Thursday. Manager Brad Mills is hopeful Puma will be able to play Saturday. With two day games scheduled for this road trip, Mills opted to give Berkman the night game off with hopes he can finish out the series in Atlanta.

Wandy Rodriguez tested out his sore back with a short throwing session with pitching coach Brad Arnsberg before batting practice and appears to be on track to start Saturday. Wandy was scratched from the opener in Atlanta when he came down with back spasms before the final game of the homestand.

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Sights from a beautiful spring evening at Turner Field:

Michael Bourn, Hunter Pence

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Pedro Feliz, Tommy Manzella

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The gigantic JumboTron in the outfield

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Lee leans.

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Pitchers stretch.

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Humberto Quintero.  

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2 Comments

such a gorgeous night for baseball tonight, and such a disappointing loss for the astros. i’ll be back for tomorrows game. any chance i can get a tour of the press box? @asswell

Nice pics of my boys, but I really would like a picture of a win. Can we make that happen.

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