Morning news and notes: Pitching schedules, Twitter Tuesday, Focus Friday, and today’s links.

The Astros announced on Tuesday that Wandy Rodriguez will start the Grapefruit League opener on Feb. 28 at Atlanta, while Brett Myers will pitch the next day when the Astros host the Braves in their first spring game of the season.

The Braves have Derek Lowe scheduled for the first game and Tommy Hanson for the second.

While Wandy is opening the spring season, I would not assume that translates into the same order when the regular season begins. The Spring Training pitching order is mapped out so that pitchers throw every fifth day and wind up making their first start of the season on that same schedule. If you count out the days from Myers first Grapefruit start, it would put him on schedule to start April 1 in Philadelphia. Not a coincidence.

As for the rest of the rotation order, that has yet to be announced. Stay tuned.

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Thanks to everyone who participated in #TwitterTuesday. The contest didn’t last long thanks to @austincory ‘s very prompt correct answer, but we still had a nice flow of guesses come in and I appreciate the interaction.

For those who missed it, every Tuesday at noon CT throughout Spring Training, I’ll post a Google-free, can’t-find-it-on-the-internet, won’t-be-able-to-look-it-up-on-baseballreference.com trivia question on my Twitter, and the first correct answer tweeted back to me
wins two free tickets to any Astros home game this season, with the exception of Opening Day, the Red Sox series and the final homestand of the season.

Yesterday’s question was: What is Chris Johnson’s favorite can’t-miss television show? The answer, which we first posted here in video form, was Entourage.

Next Tuesday, we’ll ask a different question of a different player and you can guess as many times as you want. The only requirement is you have to be following me on Twitter to participate.

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In addition to Twitter Tuesday, we’ve also added another new feature — Focus Friday. For this, we’ll ask an Astros player a handful off-the-field, non-baseball related questions that give some insight to him away from the game.

We’ll video the interview and post it on Twitter, and we’ll also provide a transcript on this blog. This is where the fun part comes in — the questions asked will come from you. I received some really good ones on Twitter yesterday for Hunter Pence, and we’ll sift through those, pick the best five or 10, and post them on Friday.

I’ll send out another alert next week when we’ve determined who we’ll be featuring in Focus Friday.

Miscellany:

* The Astros have teamed up with the Florida Blood Centers to host a blood drive prior to the March 3 game vs. the Florida Marlins at Osceola County Stadium. The blood drive will take place from 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., and donors will receive a free Astros special edition t-shirt, as well as a voucher for a free ticket to one of two pre-selected Spring Training games (while supplies last)…donors must be at least 16 years old and weigh 102 pounds to be eligible to donate and a photo ID is required.

* Two Astros Spring games will be broadcast on FS Houston: March 18 at the Marlins and March 19 vs. the Cardinals.

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On to the links…

MLB.com:

Clint Barmes knew only the Colorado Rockies until he was traded to Houston last year. The shortstop welcomes a new beginning, he tells Brian McTaggart.

Lots of interesting information in this notebook, including who the Astros’ player representatives are this year, Fernando Abad’s role as he competes for a spot on the roster and Nelson Figueroa’s loss of his grandfather.

Chronicle:

The Astros find plenty of talent on the waiver wire. Zachary Levine gives a brief history of the club’s recent wire acquisitions.

1 Comment

Alyson,

Where is the countdown chart on the Astros Home page? I liked the one from last year. Not that I need it, but it does provide some relief in anticipation from long days at work waiting for the season or grapefruit league to start.

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