Minor League Report: Bagwell to help
Longtime Astros All-Star to tutor team's Minor League stars
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Jeff Bagwell will be in Kissimmee for approximately 10 days, and while he plans to spend a little time on the Major League side, most of his focus will center on the Minor Leaguers.
Bagwell, a special assistant to general manager Ed Wade, plans to continue what was started during the Elite Camp at Minute Maid Park in late January, during which the former first baseman had plenty of one-on-one time to work with the club's top prospects.
"This is a continuation, which is good," Bagwell said following morning workouts on Wednesday at the Osceola County Stadium complex. "I've already built a relationship with them, so that is good. It's good for me, too. It makes it easier for me because I've already met them and talked to them."
With 150 Minor Leaguers due to begin full-squad workouts later this week, Bagwell and the rest of the staff will have less time to spend with players on an individual basis. Still, Bagwell plans to quietly lend his advice and past experiences to the young players, while offering his evaluations to the coaches who will be working daily with the prospects throughout the season.
"I'll watch them hit, watch them do all their drills and give them my advice, but not too much," Bagwell said. "Then I'll also watch the big league games. But I know what these guys [on the Major League side] can do. I need to see over there, with [the Minor Leaguers].
"There might be something that I think might help them, and I'll talk to some of the coaches that are going to have these guys this year. Just to say, 'This is what I think he needs to work on,' so they can take it to the season, because I'm not going to be there all the time."
On the move: Koby Clemens, one of 41 mini-campers who arrived 10 days ago, has been making good progress as he transitions from third base to catcher, according to Minor League field coordinator Tom Wiedenbauer.
"He's gaining every day," Wiedenbauer said. "There are many challenges with that position. I would imagine the biggest challenge is the patience that it's going to take, because it's such an intricate position. It's not going to happen overnight.
Class of '07: Outfielder Marques Williams, who was signed out of the MLB Urban Youth Academy in Compton, Calif., last year, has drawn considerable praise for his skills on both sides of the game.
"He's a little bit older (22) for his playing experience, but he's shown a lot of ability," Wiedenbauer said. "It looks like he can run them down in center field, and he's got some bat speed and some strength."
On the pine: Right-handed pitcher Chad Wagler, the club's 22nd pick in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft, has a toe injury that will require surgery. He's scheduled to undergo a procedure later this week to repair a damaged ligament to his left big toe, an injury that he suffered during a sliding drill. Wagler will be sidelined for at least two to three months.
He said it: "I'm looking forward to it. We're going through a transition period right now. The mini-campers have been here long enough, and they're ready to start playing games, which they'll do on Friday. Pitchers and catchers have been here for a couple days, so they're starting to settle in, and position players are on their way. We'll be in full swing by the weekend. -- Wiedenbauer, on the influx of Minor League players arriving to Spring Training this week
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.