02/27/11 3:56 PM ET
Clemens shines again in intrasquad game
By Brian McTaggart / MLB.com
Clemens homered off Jorge De Leon in his first at-bat, marking the second consecutive year he homered in his first intrasquad at-bat. Last year, he was pulled over from Minor League camp for the game and homered off Matt Lindstrom.
"I'm starting a good trend and hopefully I can relate it over to the other side when I get a couple of chances to play," Clemens said. "I felt good. I was a little aggressive on a couple of pitches up, but I saw a few pitches. I felt comfortable and got a quality pitch I could handle and drove it out."
Outfielder J.B. Shuck went 3-for-3 with a triple for Meacham's team. Jordan Lyles threw one scoreless inning, striking out one. Fernando Abad gave up two hits and struck out one batter in his one inning. David Carpenter allowed three runs in one inning, and De Leon gave up two runs.
"We were able to get out of it what we wanted," manager Brad Mills said. "We were able to see some guys throw in competition we haven't seen yet. We were able to see some enthusiasm and guys get into the game a little bit."
Pence hoping to see more pitches in spring
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Astros right fielder Hunter Pence, who's known for his aggressive approach at the plate, said one of his goals during the Grapefruit League schedule will be seeing more pitches.
"There's a couple of things I want to accomplish," said Pence, who hit .373 with three homers and 18 RBIs last spring. "First of all, you want to get your timing back. I want to see more pitches this Spring Training than I have in the past, maybe take until I get two strikes and see what happens.
"Just to track pitches and not be out there to see the first thing that gets pitched. That's not necessarily the approach I want in the regular season, but I want to see more pitches this spring."
Teammate Chris Johnson parlayed a strong spring last year -- he led the team with eight homers -- into an Opening Day roster spot. He hopes to get in a similar rhythm this year.
"I'm going to stick with what I usually work on every year," he said. "The first week will be getting my timing down and getting the bat where I want it to be."
Hall, Barmes work on developing chemistry
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Astros second baseman Bill Hall and shortstop Clint Barmes -- both of whom played with different teams last year -- will be on similar traveling and playing schedules this spring in an effort for them to get as much time on the same field as possible and build chemistry.
Neither Hall nor Barmes will make the trip with the Astros to Lake Buena Vista, Fla., for Monday's Grapefruit League opener against the Braves, but they will be in the lineup Tuesday at home.
"As far as me and Barmes, we have to figure this out fast and figure out where each other is going to be and where we like the ball turning the double play and things like that," Hall said. "It's a short period of time, so we have to make sure we do the early work and get it done fast. Once April comes, like I said, there's no excuses. We have to know what each other is thinking at all times."
Barmes says he and Hall are off to a good start when it comes to chemistry.
"It's talking stuff out and figuring out what's going to be best for all of us to be able to communicate and be on the same page," Barmes said. "So far, it's been real good and I'm anxious to take it into a game and test it out there."
The Astros agreed to terms on a one-year contract renewals with infielder Angel Sanchez ($432,500) and pitcher J.A. Happ ($474,000), meaning all of their players now have contracts. "As has been the case for the past few years, we conclude all negotiations prior to the first Grapefruit League game so that everyone can focus on baseball," general manager Ed Wade said. "The renewal process is simply part of the salary process." ... J.D. Martinez was originally scheduled to play the outfield in Sunday's intrasquad game, but a sore leg forced the Astros to put him at designated hitter instead. He went 1-for-2 with a walk and a run.
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.