2/15/2013 1:15 P.M. ET
Reliever Demel feels at home with Astros
By Brian McTaggart / MLB.com
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Like teammate Robbie Grossman, Astros pitcher Sam Demel is a Houston-area native who grew up cheering for the team he's now playing for. Demel graduated for Spring High School, just north of Houston, and played collegiately at TCU.
"I grew up watching the Astros and going to the games, so it's kind of a homecoming," said Demel, claimed off waivers from Arizona on Nov. 1. "It's a nice feeling. You always want to play for your hometown team."
Demel grew up in the same neighborhood as Dodgers pitcher Josh Beckett, who was a phenom at Spring High. In fact, Demel lived in the house behind Beckett's and later went on to break his high school strikeout record.
"It was a good breeding ground for athletes down there," he said. "I haven't been back there for a while, so I don't know what it looks like."
Demel, a reliever competing for a spot in the bullpen, has made 72 career relief appearances, all for the D-backs. He spent most of last year with Triple-A Reno, but knows the Astros present a chance to get some innings.
"I was in a logjam in Arizona, so it's nice to get to play where you get an opportunity," he said. "It was a great day for me [getting claimed by Houston]. It was my anniversary when I got claimed, so it was even better."
Carter arrives at camp eager for regular at-bats
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Chris Carter, who was acquired from the A's in a Feb. 4 trade, arrived in camp Friday morning and said he's ready to take on the challenge of playing left field.
Carter came up as an outfielder in 2010 with Oakland, but he has been limited to playing mostly first base and designated hitter recently. He played 39 games in the outfield during his Minor League career, also getting time at right field and third base.
"It's a good opportunity for me to play every day and help the team win and have a better season than we did last year," he said.
The soft-spoken Carter, who has been traded three times since he was drafted by the White Sox in 2005, was in his hometown of Las Vegas working out when he found out he was traded. He had to get his car shipped to Florida and wrap his mind around his first Spring Training in Florida.
"It was nice to come over here," said Carter, who hit .239 with 16 homers and 39 RBIs in only 67 games for the A's last year. "They're in a rebuilding stage, and it's good to be a part of that."
Expect the Astros to give Carter as many at-bats as he can handle, regardless of position.
"We're expecting great things out of Chris," manager Bo Porter said. "He put together some really good power numbers in Oakland in a limited amout of at-bats, and he was a huge part of the trade. We expect him to come in and produce in the middle of the lineup."
Crane, Postolos to join team before full workout
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Astros owner Jim Crane and president and CEO George Postolos will be arriving in camp for Saturday's first official full-squad workout of the spring, manager Bo Porter said. The position players who have been in camp for days will finally be able to put on a uniform and work out with the pitchers and catchers on Saturday.
Porter said he plans to address the team before it takes the field, and Crane spoke to the club as a whole prior to last year's first full-squad workout and will likely do so again.
"It will be the first time I will address the entire team," Porter said. "We'll have a meeting at 9 o'clock tomorrow morning prior to coming to work out, and I'm looking forward to meeting the guys, and the guys are looking forward to it as well."
Friday marked the official reporting date for position players, and outfielder Chris Carter -- acquired in a Feb. 4 trade with Oakland -- shortstop Jonathan Villar, catcher Carlos Perez and outfielder Che-Hsuan Lin were among those showing their faces for the first time.
Porter said the position players will go through a throwing program as well as do defensive drills and team fundamentals on a daily basis. And yes, the post-workout shaking of hands isn't about to go anywhere.
"We're going to do everything we can to add excitement to the camp," he said.
Ambriz not worried about sprained ankle
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Despite needing a protective boot on his left foot and a pair of crutches, relief pitcher Hector Ambriz said Friday afternoon he doesn't expect the sprained left ankle he sustained stepping on first base Thursday to keep him out too long.
Ambriz said team doctors are taking a cautious approach with the injury. The right-hander was scheduled to get an X-ray on Friday afternoon.
"I rolled the inside of my ankle," he said. "Right before I was about to touch the bag to check the runner at third base, I slightly rolled."
It's early enough in camp where missing a bullpen session or two won't be a big setback for Ambriz, who was 1-1 with a 4.19 ERA in 18 games after being signed by the Astros in June.
"That's frustrating for me because I came in here with my arm in good shape, and I don't want to miss many days," he said. "Hopefully, I can play catch tomorrow or the next day. If I get the swelling [down], I'll be ready to go."