Lions and tigers and bears — oh my! An Astro honeymoons in Africa.

In the early stages of Spring Training every year, you’ll hear the same lines of conversation between players, staff and those who cover the team: how was your offseason? Where are you staying down here? Did you do anything fun over the winter?

Ask Jed Lowrie that last question, and you’re not going to get the typical, “Yea, hung out with the family, went to Cabo over Christmas” response. The new Astros shortstop got married last November and took a honeymoon that some of us could only dream of, and others of us wouldn’t touch with the proverbial 10-foot pole (and by “others,” I mean, me).

Lowrie and his wife, Milessa Muchmore-Lowrie, honeymooned in Tanzania, where they went on a two-week African safari. Lowrie, who took over 7,000 photos, called it the experience of a lifetime.

Brian McTaggart has the complete rundown in a fantastic write up on Astros.com, complete with a slate of breathtaking photos of wild animals living in their natural habitat. Speaking as a less adventurous person, if someone handed me an air horn and said, “Blow this if there’s a lion in your tent,” I’d be on the first flight back to whatever city prefers to keep its animals in zoos (preferably, Houston).

Lowrie is not your garden-variety ballplayer. He’s a graduate of Stanford University and an avid photographer, and his wife a foreign service officer for the U.S. State Department who will soon be relocated to Mexico.

When you have a spare moment, check out the story. The photos are amazing.
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For several years, we’ve been running Spring Training video reports on Astros.com, and we’ll continue to produce the same twice-a-week shows this spring. Our first one is posted now, and it features right-hander Jordan Lyles.

The plan is to run a player feature mid-week every week and one with general manager Jeff Luhnow every Monday.

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Today’s slate of photos captures players not only working out, but seemingly enjoying the process (remember, friends, this is baseball — it’s supposed to be fun). Also in the mix are a couple of photos that harken back to our past, 50th anniversary-style.

Enjoy.

Bud Norris watches with amusement as his pitching mates practice bunting.

Infielder Joe Thurston, a non-roster invitee, and outfielder Jason Bourgeois greet each other during BP.

Pitchers practicing comebackers is always an amusing drill to watch. The premise: Brad Mills hits balls back to the pitchers, at a high speed, one after another after another, with no break. Probably not the most pleasant experience when you're the pitcher fielding those comebackers, but it's fun to watch nonetheless, as you can see in this shot of two Rodriguezes -- Fernando and Aneury.

Chris Snyder watches pitchers throw bullpens and waits for his turn to crouch behind the painted plate.

Are there two more popular outfielders in Astros history than Jose Cruuuuuuz and Cesar Cedeno? Probably not. Here they are together, watching a round of BP on Field 4.

Cedeno watches from behind the cage with another former Astro, Enos Cabell.

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