What offseason? Players are working out now, and we have the pictures to prove it.
Remember when ballplayers used to show up to Spring Training fat and out of shape after spending the offseason either working a part-time job or sitting on the couch eating potato chips?
Yea, me either.
That routine died out generations ago. Once players started making enough money to support themselves year-round, they were able to concentrate on staying in shape, and some — maybe even most — actually do just that.
The Astros have always had a large number of players who work out in Houston during offseason, for two reasons: a) the team’s strength and conditioning coach, Dr. Gene Coleman, makes himself available throughout the winter to conduct workouts in the home clubhouse, and b) Houston’s mild climate in the winter makes the city a destination spot for many players looking to establish year-round roots. With so many players living in Houston or spending a healthy portion of the offseason here, it’s easy to utilize the Minute Maid Park facilities to get in the daily workouts.
Some players have been here the entire offseason. Others started coming by after Thanksgiving, and a few began their Minute Maid Park workouts when the calendar flipped to 2012. In total, anywhere from 12-15 players have had a presence here this winter.
MLB.com reporter Brian McTaggart recently dropped by the weight room to check it out for himself and gave a rundown of players, which includes Wandy Rodriguez, Humberto Quintero, Bud Norris, Chris Johnson, Brett Wallace, Brian Bogusevic, Angel Sanchez and Fernando Rodriguez. Jarred Cosart, one of the club’s top pitching prospects after arriving in the trade with the Phillies last year, has been working out with Coleman most of the offseason. Catcher Carlos Corporan and catching prospect Chris Wallace have been spotted there as well.
“We had workouts starting the last week in October up until about a week before Christmas,” Coleman told McTaggart. “We had nine weeks of workouts there, and we developed a base to start with, and we started developing strength the second time through. And now we’re trying to maximize strength and develop some power and get them ready for Spring Training.”
Reliever Fernando Rodriguez will appear with Milo Hamilton on Astroline Thursday at 7 CT at Buffalo Wild Wings in Midtown. Astroline can be heard on 740 KTRH and will be streamed live on Astros.com. As always, you can tweet me your questions for Rodriguez and we’ll read them on the air.
The schedule for Astroline shows through February is as follows (guests TBD):
Wed. January 25
Thurs. February 2
Wed. February 8
Wed. February 15
Thurs. February 23
Wed. February 29
On April 28, athletes from all over the country will come together at Minute Maid Park to honor Joe Niekro at the 3rd Annual Knuckle Ball…A Pitch for Life.
At the peak of his Major League Baseball pitching career, Niekro was famous for his command of the knuckleball, a baseball pitch with an erratic, unpredictable motion. Like a knuckleball, Niekro’s life took an unpredictable path on October 27, 2006, when he died suddenly from a ruptured brain aneurysm. In honor of his memory, his daughter, Natalie Niekro, created The Joe Niekro Foundation, with a mission to raise funds for brain aneurysm research, and treatment, and help bring public awareness to this devastating condition affecting as many as 1 in 15 people.
A number of former players from the Astros, Major League Baseball, NFL and NBA will be on hand at the black-tie gala. The event will feature a reception, formal dinner, silent and live auction. Joe’s brother and Hall of Fame pitcher Phil Niekro will serve as the evening’s Master of Ceremonies, with a special presentation of The 2012 Joe Niekro Humanitarian Award to Haynes and Boone, LLP Partner and current Chairman of the Board of the Harris County -Houston Sports Authority, J. Kent Friedman.
To kick things off, special performances from country music superstars Chuck Wicks and Trailer Choir will take place at Dan Electro’s Guitar Bar on April 27.
Proceeds from the musical concert will also benefit The Joe Niekro Foundation and brain aneurysm awareness. The two hit acts will also make a special appearance at The Knuckle Ball gala.
For tickets and more information on both events and The Joe Niekro Foundation, visit http://www.joeniekrofoundation.org/knuckleball.
The Astros have several part-time positions available, including jobs in Guest Services, Tour Guides and the Box Office.
You can find a complete list of job opportunities available here, or an application can be filled out simply by dropping by Union Station during business hours.