HOUSTON -- Rookie J.B. Shuck has been splitting time with Jason Bourgeois in center field in the past week as manager Brad Mills tries to get both as many at-bats as he can. Shuck entered Friday with multiple hits in back-to-back games for the first time in his brief career, as well as showing good range on defense.
"He's a guy that we really hadn't seen a whole lot of until Spring Training this year," Mills said. "He showed us in Spring Training what his capabilities were and what kind of spark he could give a ballclub. He showed that all the way through the last day of Spring Training."
With Jordan Schafer, acquired from the Braves in the Michael Bourn deal last month, set to return from the disabled list Monday, Mills isn't saying how he might divvy playing time in center.
"[Schafer] is going to get some starts," Mills said. "That will be a fun problem to have."
Springer has 'unbelievable' day with Astros
HOUSTON -- Astros first round pick George Springer, a center fielder, took batting practice on the Minute Maid Park field after being introduced to the media Friday. Springer, drafted No. 11 overall out of the University of Connecticut, signed for a bonus of $2.525 million.
Springer, wearing an Astros jersey with the No. 4 on the back, took swings in the final hitting group, which included Matt Downs, Jose Altuve and Jason Bourgeois. Springer's parents, grandmother and sister and a handful of Astros brass watched from behind the cage.
"It's one of those things where you try not to miss the first one, and then after that it sort of calms down," Springer said. "This has just been an unbelievable experience. It's inexplicable to me. As a kid, it's something you dream of, and now you're here on the field and it's something special."
Springer will fly to the Astros' Spring Training facility Saturday to work out for a few days at Kissimmee, Fla., before finishing out the season with short-season Tri-City of the New York-Penn League. John Kosciak, the scout that signed Springer, gave a glowing recommendation.
"The best way to describe him is he's freakishly athletic," Kosciak said. "He comes from a very athletic family. His father played football and baseball at UConn and played in the Little League World Series, and his mother was a gymnast at UConn. At a young age, the whole family was in gymnastics, and that's why he's got great agility."
Springer said he always plays the game hard and said he'd be willing to run through a wall or up a wall to make a catch. When asked if he's willing to run up a hill -- namely, Tal's Hill in center field -- Springer was game.
"I guess I'll have to find out," he said.
Astros' waiver-list placements standard practice
HOUSTON -- Astros general manager Ed Wade reiterated Friday that he will put every one of his players on the Major League roster on waivers at some point this month. There was an SI.com report earlier in the day that pitchers Wandy Rodriguez and Brett Myers had been placed on waivers.
Placing players on waivers this time of year is a formality. Teams usually pull back players that are claimed on waivers as a way to gauge their interest on the trade market. Players must clear waivers in August before being traded.
"We don't talk about the waiver process other than I've made this statement over the last couple of years that this time of year we ask waivers on everybody on the roster," Wade said. "There's no downside to doing that. Nobody should read anything into it other than it's something we do every year at this time."
In August, trades involving players on the 40-man roster cannot be made unless the players already have cleared waivers. In other words, the player must be offered to the other teams in reverse order of the standings, and if he is claimed by one of the teams, he cannot be traded. The club that placed the player on waivers can either withdraw the request and keep the player, or let the player go to the claiming team, which would then have the rights to the player.
Myers and Rodriguez both signed contract extensions last year, which has made trading them difficult. Myers has $14 million guaranteed left on his contract after this year, and Rodriguez has a $23 million option, plus a $13 million option that becomes a player option if he changes teams.
The Astros on Thursday released veteran pitcher Nelson Figueroa, who had spent most of the season at Triple-A Oklahoma City after opening the year in the Astros' rotation. Figueroa was 6-7 with a 6.50 ERA in 16 games (15 starts) for the RedHawks.
The Astros optioned right-hander Jeff Fulchino to Triple-A Oklahoma City after he threw a perfect ninth inning with two strikeouts Friday against the Giants. They recalled left-hander Wesley Wright for his third stint with the club. "With the teams we're going to be playing coming up, we felt it would be good to have another lefty, and Wesley has thrown the ball extremely well down there," Mills said.
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.