HOUSTON -- The field staff of the Astros' Class A affiliate in Lancaster, Calif., was honored during Wednesday's game for winning the California League championship. The JetHawks went 8-2 in the playoffs, winning their final five games and sweeping the championship series.
Rodney Linares managed the club to the title in his first year in Lancaster, having spent the previous two years at Class A Lexington and the three years prior to that at rookie-league Greeneville. Also honored were pitching coach Don Alexander, hitting coach Darryl Robinson and athletic trainer Bryan Baca.
"At any level, winning is special, especially after playing 140 games and making it in and seeing the guys progress during the year and having a great run," Linares said. "It was really special for me. During the last couple of years, our Minor League system hasn't been productive and it's turning around and it's a testament to what happened this year, especially with us and [Double-A] Corpus [Christi] and [short-season] Tri-City. You could see it."
Center fielder George Springer, the Astros' first-round pick in 2011, tore through the California League in his first full season of pro ball, hitting .318 with 101 runs, 18 doubles, 10 triples, 22 homers, 82 RBIs and 28 stolen bases in 106 games.
Outfielder Domingo Santana, the youngest player in the league at 19, hit .302 with 87 runs, 26 doubles, six triples, 23 homers and 97 RBIs.
"I believe Springer will be a productive big league player for a long time," Linares said. "He's a special player. He's got all the tools. He's probably the best player I've ever coached, and I've coached a lot of guys in my career. ... The other kid, Santana, is one of the best young players I've seen for his age. We've got to work with him a little bit, but they're both going to be fun to watch up here."
Injured Astros on the mend as season winds down
HOUSTON -- Astros interim manager Tony DeFrancesco started his pregame media session on Wednesday with the lengthy list of players dealing with minor injuries.
Nearly all of them were either available to play on Wednesday or, in the case of the injured starting pitchers, in better shape to make starts before the end of the season.
Edgar Gonzalez, set to start Friday in Milwaukee, came through his bullpen session without any major issues with his hamstring. Fernando Abad, who left Monday's game with a right oblique strain, felt better on Wednesday and could be in line to pitch in the Astros' final series in Chicago.
The injured position players are also getting better.
Third baseman Matt Dominguez was back in the clubhouse after missing the last two games with flu-like symptoms. He took some early hitting before Wednesday's game and could be available to pinch-hit.
Infielder Marwin Gonzalez sprained his left ankle in Monday's game, but took full batting practice on Wednesday and was available off the bench.
Outfielder J.D. Martinez had surgery on Wednesday to remove the hook of the hamate bone in his left hand, a fairly common procedure among baseball players.
The procedure was performed by Dr. Tom Mehlhoff at the Texas Orthopedic Hospital. Martinez is expected to be unable to perform baseball activities for four to six weeks.
"I haven't found out how it came out but we're assuming everything went well," DeFrancesco said. "It should be four to six weeks before he can get back out swinging again."
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. Clark Goble is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.