Lee could see time at first base in near future
Mills not concerned with potential pressure for Wallace
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Carlos Lee has yet to play first base in any games this spring, but Astros manager Brad Mills said Thursday there was a "very good possibility" that Lee could see some time there when rosters get trimmed down in the next week or so.
Lee has only taken ground balls at first base during drills, but considering the Astros could have him at first on Opening Day if they don't like what they see from Brett Wallace this spring, it would make sense for Lee to see some time there.
Mills said he's not worried that having Lee at first base would put pressure on Wallace.
2010 Spring Training - Houston Astros
News & Features
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Sights & Sounds
Spring Training Info
"We've talked to Brett about that," Mills said. "He's aware of it. He's a confident kid. He's confident in his ability and he knows the whole situation. If he goes out and plays like he's capable of playing, he doesn't have to worry about anything else. Just do what you can do and you'll be fine."
When asked what he wants to see in order for Wallace to win the job, Mills said it would be more than what's in the stats.
"We just have to see him play well and get more experience against Major League pitching, see how he swings the bat and go from there," Mills said. "He's hit everywhere he's been, and there's no reason to think he's not going to hit here, especially the way he came into camp.
"He's got confidence in his ability, and quite frankly, so do we."
Michaels flourishing as DH in Spring Training
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Jason Michaels went 2-for-3 with two runs scored in Thursday night's 6-5 win over the Nationals, raising his Spring Training average to .421.
Michaels doesn't put too much stock, however, in his good start at the plate.
"I think guys come into Spring Training in shape, and they can adjust quicker to get into baseball shape," Michaels said. "We've got six, seven weeks down here. Just getting in the flow of things takes a couple of weeks."
After being scratched from Tuesday's game in Fort Myers with back spasms, Michaels has yet to appear in a game in the outfield. He had a sore arm, and manager Brad Mills was hesitant to put him in the outfield because of his ailing back.
Michaels returns to his role as Houston's fourth outfielder this year after hitting .253 with 14 doubles, a triple, eight home runs and 26 RBIs in 106 games last season. He made 32 starts -- 18 in left field, eight in center, four in right and two as the designated hitter in Interleague Play.
Outfielder Locke relishing fresh start with Astros
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Outfielder Drew Locke, a non-roster invitee acquired in the Minor League phase of the Rule 5 Draft in 2008, is grateful for his chance with the Astros after spending the first four years of his career in the Dodgers' system.
"It's been great," he said. "It's been a new life in baseball. I was kind of stuck in the Dodgers' system and was kind of stagnant a little bit. To get this new opportunity, it's been great. They've given me an opportunity to play, and I've made the most of it."
Locke, 28, has posted some gaudy numbers in his Minor League career. He's a career .303 hitter with 83 homers and 418 RBIs in 638 games. He was named Most Valuable Player at Double-A Corpus Christi in 2009, hitting .338 with 20 home runs and 109 RBIs.
Locke spent last season at Triple-A Round Rock, hitting .279 with 17 homers and 74 RBIs, but he is in a crowded outfield situation with J.D. Martinez, Jon Gaston, J.B. Shuck and T.J. Steele likely pushing for playing time in Triple-A this year.
"I just have to keep doing my thing," Locke said. "I have to be ready to produce, and if I get an opportunity or something happens, I want to jump in. I need to make sure I'm ready for it. That's all I can do, I guess."
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.