Spring games = meaningless games? Don’t tell that to Brett Wallace.

While reading this Brian McTaggart feature on Brett Wallace, it occurred to me that this year’s slate of spring games carry enough intrigue to hold even my attention.

Oh, sure, spring games are interesting, at times, and wholly entertaining for the fans, all of the time. But with more than 30 games on the schedule, suffice it to say that after a while, they become, well, varying degrees of dull.

However, I don’t think I’m going to get that restless feeling again this year. We’ve got some pretty interesting story lines running through Astros camp, beginning with Wallace, the player everyone hopes will be the Opening Day first baseman.

But he still has to win the job.

I’ve gone on the record as saying that Wallace will have to be a complete spring flop to not make the team. I still believe that to be true, so if he shows he can hit a little bit this spring and hold his own against big league pitching (which is a bit watered down during the Grapefruit season), mark him down for first base on April 1.

The projected 2011 Astros’ lineup is peppered with players with tremendous upsides and no track records. I am looking forward to seeing Jason Castro come into his own and Chris Johnson build on his tremendous rookie season in ’10. But most of my attention is directed toward Wallace, whom the Astros hope is here to stay.

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Most of the coaching staff picked Meach’s Mashers to win the Intrasquad game on Sunday, but Clarkie’s Crushers pulled off the upset, taking the six-inning matchup by a score of 5-1. Koby Clemens, who knocked a moon shot off Matt Lindstrom during last year’s Intrasquad game, hit another homer this time around, capping a 3-for-3 day while being named Intrasquad MVP.

“He has this intrasquad day circled on his calendar probably on New Year’s Day,” manager Brad Mills quipped.

On the other side of the diamond, J.B. Shuck also was 3-for-3, with a triple. Other notables: Tommy Manzella was 1-for-3 and made a fantastic diving stop while playing third base; Jay Austin was 3-for-3, Carlos Corporan was 2-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI.

The Astros open the Grapefruit League season on Monday at Disney, and expect a lot of the projected Opening Day starting lineup to be there, for no other reason than Disney’s a 20-minute drive away, and thus, a favorite spot for the veteran players.

Every Astros Spring Training game in 2011 will be broadcast on either flagship station KTRH 740 AM, or KBME 790 AM. Hall of Famer Milo Hamilton and the dashing and delightful Brett Dolan and Dave Raymond bring the action at all Spring home games while Dolan and Raymond handle the Spring road broadcasts.
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As we gear up for a brand new week, here are some images from a full slate of weekend activities at Osceola County Stadium:

Milo was dressed to the nines the day he reported to Spring Training….

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…but he was considerably cooler the next day, with temps reaching the upper 80s.

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McTaggart stages his own photo shoot for a story he’s working on about three young prospects: J.B. Shuck, T.J. Steele and Jon Gaston.

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Players take a water break after running drills on the back fields.

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Outfielders enjoy a little comic relief after practice.

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Images from the Intrasquad game:

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Dave Clark, manager of the winning Clarkie’s Crushers, gets a water cooler shower from Javier Bracamonte.

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2 Comments

I’m also interested in seeing how Castro “The Astro” does. I’m hoping that CJ has an even better season this year. He raked last year. And finally, like you, I’m ready to see if Brett Wallace has what it takes. I’m really sold on him and hopes he comes through for me.

Alyson…..you have NO idea how very much we appreciate
what you do! We ALL want these young kids to get
going! I just hope they get a running chance to get there
before Ed Wade takes them out of the line up. Few people
realize Lance Berkman started out slow, and look what HE
was able to accomplish! I’m soooo excited to see this team
on the field……I’m giddy! We can NEVER get too many
photos, or stories! Again, THANK YOU!!!! Becky:) :) :)

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