Astros manager Brad Mills and pitcher Bud Norris spent quality time with fans at this year's FanFest and answered questions live from the audience and from online users. Mills and Norris shared tips on staying healthy, how to get great autographs during Spring Training and the recent CAREavan trip many players participated in.
frankayres82: Hi Brad -- what has changed the most since you played Major League ball in the early '80s?
Brad Mills: Players now, it just seems like they're getting so much faster. They're bigger, stronger but they are faster. Very athletic.
1fanofsports: How was the Astros CAREavan last week? I think what you guys do for the fans is great.
Bud Norris: We went to Chick-Fil-A, handed out fast food meals. It was fun, I was in the drive thru, that was fun. Talked to high school students...we love doing that, as far as giving back.
johnny14k: Bud -- what's the trick to staying healthy and uninjured?
Bud Norris: I just need to be in overall shape and make sure the whole unit is good to go. In order to stay healthy, it's about good mechanics and a good core. I have to make sure my arm is strong, that my legs are strong, and so on. I think it's just about overall fitness, and knowing that your body is a temple.
FanFest live audience: What makes being a Major League pitcher fun?
Bud Norris: I love being a pitcher and it's great being a pitcher here in Houston. Pitching definitely wears on you mentally and physically. You're going to have your successes and your failures, but you just go out and try to get your work done, day by day. And after that, it's pretty rewarding and it's a lot of fun for me.
kurtM: When is the best time to get autographs at Spring Training?
Bud Norris: Games start at 1:05 p.m. so usually the pitchers who aren't pitching that day will be outside until about 12:50. Before the game is usually your best bet because we have to be there by the start of the National Anthem. Sometimes, people can catch us afterward while we are walking to our cars. The biggest thing is we just don't want to stop play of game.
johnny14k: Bud - what is your primary goal this season?
Bud Norris: A lot of this for me goes back to last seasons. I'm pretty happy with the strides I made last year and I'm continuing to move forward. The main goal for me is to play 10 years in the big leagues and hopefully get that World Series win. That's what it's all about. Another thing Roy taught me before he left was to try to get to 200 innings. If you get to 200 innings, you're giving your team the best opportunity to win and I hope that I can get out there and do that.
terryrhoades: What is the team spirit like this season? Is everyone prepared for Spring Training?
Brad Mills: The spirit of the team seems pretty good. I got a chance to talk to several of the guys and was able to get in touch with almost everybody and it seems really good. We're bringnig 61 guys into Spring Training camp this year and that's going to provide a lot of great competition across the board at several positions. That's going to bring out the best in each guy and really help with the enthusiasm entering this Spring.
FanFest live audience: Brad -- will you ever get on Twitter?
Brad Mills: I think that I'm techie enough... I mean, I have an iPhone and all that stuff. But I still haven't found where I think it's an advantage to help this ballclub by saying anything on there. But who knows, maybe someday I might do that.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.