KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Astros owner Drayton McLane said on Sunday that he was surprised the team lost its arbitration case against right fielder Hunter Pence. The hearing was heard on Friday in Phoenix, with a three-person panel ruling on Saturday that Pence would be paid $6.9 million this year. The Astros offered $5.15 million.
"From all the evidence we have gotten, the work [general manager] Ed [Wade] and his staff and [president of baseball operations] Tal Smith did and Major League Baseball and their player relations and how they worked on it, we thought we had a really, really great case and should have won," McLane said. "That was the decision and we said to Hunter we need to move forward."
Pence, 27, was named the Astros' Most Valuable Player last year by the Houston chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America after hitting .282 with 25 home runs and 91 RBIs. The loss was the first in arbitration for the Astros since 1996.
McLane walked up to Pence on the field Sunday, shook his hand and told him congratulations.
"His attitude is superb," McLane said. "When he was drafted, they said he's going to be a young man who could be really, really good. He's proven to be so far in his attitude."
McLane addresses club before workout
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Astros owner Drayton McLane, as he has done for the last 19 years, addressed the team before it hit the field on Sunday for the first full-squad workout of Spring Training. General manager Ed Wade and manager Brad Mills also spoke to the group.
"I talked to them about the opportunity we have here," McLane said.
Wade reminded the players they have a veteran core nucleus who know what their responsibilities are from the standpoint of leadership, but he also reminded the many young players on the roster they also carry some responsibilities.
"The young guys don't have to act like young guys," Wade said. "They can step up and hold themselves and their teammates accountable and hold that measure of trust between themselves and their teammates and the staff and believe in themselves."
McLane announced in November that he was putting the team up for sale.
Arias concerned about his shoulder
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Reliever Alberto Arias, who underwent surgery on his right shoulder on April 22, 2010, and missed the entire season, said on Sunday that he was feeling some tightness in his shoulder and admitted to reporters he was worried. Arias hit Spring Training with no throwing restrictions.
"Sometimes it feels good, sometimes it feels bad," he said. "Sometimes I feel 95 percent and sometimes 85 percent. When I was in the Dominican this winter, I threw very good. I went to Houston two weeks ago and threw in the bullpen and felt 100 percent. Now, I don't feel the same."
Even though pitchers weren't scheduled to throw Sunday, Arias threw off the mound with team medical physician Dr. David Lintner, who performed the surgery, and head athletic trainer Nate Lucero watching close by. General manager Ed Wade said the session was more about pitching coach Brad Arnsberg getting a better look at Arias. Arnsberg caught the pitcher's session.
"[Arnsberg] wasn't able to grasp what was going on by just watching him from behind, so he got down in the crouch and handled him," Wade said. "Alberto still has a ways to go. We just have to have progress him at the proper pace. He'll dictate physically want he can or can't do."
Astros' full squad hits the field
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- The clubhouse was buzzing and full of excitement on Sunday morning as 62 players -- everyone except veteran infielder Bill Hall -- dressed and took the field for the first full-squad workout of Spring Training. The position players took physicals before hitting the field.
The players worked on infield and outfield drills and took batting practice on the field. On Monday, they will face live pitching for the first time this spring.
"I thought it went real well," manager Brad Mills said of the first day of full-squad workouts. "You don't want to put too much emphasis on the first day. We got the guys out there, got them moving around with hitting, running and all those things."
Hall, who signed with the Astros in December, isn't expected to be with the club until Wednesday after his fiancee gave birth to a child last week. Among the players who arrived Sunday for the first time in camp were Carlos Lee and Michael Bourn.
"It's time to get going," Mills said. "It's really kind of hard to ease into those types of things because we start playing games in a week. Most of the guys are ready to go, they've at least been playing catch. We're going to introduce a lot of the things they'll get it done. We'll be fine."
Infielder Angel Sanchez was limited to hitting off a tee in the batting cage because of a strained left oblique muscle.
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.