02/22/12 3:20 PM EST
Paredes practicing caution with left wrist
By Brian McTaggart / MLB.com
"It feels better now," said Paredes, who went to Houston to be examined before coming to spring camp.
Paredes, 23, played in 39 games for Gigantes del Cibao in the Dominican, hitting .306 with one homer, 18 RBIs and five steals in 124 at-bats. The Astros plucked him from Double-A Corpus Christi last August, and he started 44 games and batted .286 with two homers and 18 RBIs.
The Dominican native comes to camp competing for the starting job at third base with Chris Johnson and Brett Wallace. Because he's so athletic, there has been some talk about Paredes possibly switching positions again, but for now he remains at third base.
Mills glad to see position players' early arrival
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- More than two dozen position players were already in camp by Wednesday and working out together on the back fields at Osceola County Stadium. They took batting practice when the pitchers and catchers were done and even ran defensive drills.
That was a welcomed sight for manager Brad Mills.
"It's nice to see them here and ready to go, and now they're able to get some work done and enjoy themselves," Mills said. "It's good to get it done."
Some of the players, such as infielders Brett Wallace, Chris Johnson and Angel Sanchez, were working out in Houston prior to coming to spring camp. Non-roster invitee Travis Buck got to Kissimmee at the start of February to familiarize himself with the new surroundings.
The position players aren't required to report until early Sunday -- prior to the first workout -- but Mills said all of them should be on site by Saturday.
"There's no doubt this [early work] is going to help them," he said.
Catching Livan an experience for Wallace
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Chris Wallace, a non-roster catcher who attended the University of Houston, couldn't help but smile when he got done catching soft-throwing pitcher Livan Hernandez during Tuesday's bullpen sessions.
"That was the easiest bullpen I've caught in my life," he said. "Where you set up, he hits the spot. I could have probably closed my eyes and he hits the target every time. It was a cool experience. We don't get that on the [Minor League] side."
Wallace, who got a hug from Hernandez when they were done, was 8 years old when the pitcher made his Major League debut in 1996, and he has a world of respect for the veteran who has started 474 career games, pitched 3,121 innings and struck out 1,928 batters.
"How long has he been in the league? Sixteen years?" Wallace said. "It's good catching guys like that. You can ask them a question and they'll tell you what they like. You can ask a lot of questions that will help you out along the way. It's a good experience."
Back to normal: Snyder in 'great shape'
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Three days into spring camp, veteran catcher and Houston native Chris Snyder couldn't be feeling better. Snyder is coming off back surgery that forced him to miss the final 3 1/2 months of the season, but he said his back feels great.
"It's constant maintenance, but it feels good to get back out there," said Snyder, who signed with Houston after playing last year in Pittsburgh. "It's a relief. The first days have gone well with my swing, throwing and getting down and squatting and everything. There's no complaints."
Snyder did more this offseason to get himself in shape considering he was coming off an injury, and the extra work has paid off.
"I feel like I'm in great shape," he said. "I'm moving around and the flexibility is good. It's a normal spring for me."
After consulting with his staff, manager Brad Mills said Wednesday the team wasn't going to have an intra-squad game, which has routinely been played a day or two prior to the start of Grapefruit League play. "We decided that wouldn't really benefit us that much," he said. "We're going to have that be a full day [of workouts] the day before we start playing games. The main thing is that our pitchers really weren't getting out of it what we'd like them to get out of it."
Astros catcher Jason Castro, who's being brought along slowly after missing all of 2011 following knee surgery and injuring his foot in December, ramped up his workload Wednesday by catching two bullpens. "He said he felt great and was thrilled to death," Mills said.