02/26/2013 1:16 PM ET
Astros' top Minors players join big league camp
By Brian McTaggart / MLB.com
KISSIMMEE, Fla. - A handful of the Astros' top Minor League players were in uniform for the Major League club on Tuesday, including pitcher Mike Foltynewicz, infielder Nolan Fontana, catcher Roberto Pena and outfielder Michael Burgess, who was taken in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 Draft.
"Any time you have a new manager come in, new staff come in and you have players that are not in camp and they have an opportunity to come over here and show what they can do, it's always a good opportunity for them," manager Bo Porter said.
Foltynewicz, 20, was named the 2012 South Atlantic League Most Outstanding Pitcher after going 14-4 with a 3.14 ERA and 125 strikeouts in 27 starts for Class A Lexington. The 6-foot-4, 209-pound right-hander ranked tied for first in the league in wins, second in innings pitched, fourth in ERA and sixth in strikeouts.
"There's a lot of doubters out there about me, people that don't have faith in me," Foltynewicz said. "It's a big opportunity for me to show what I have and go out there and show what I can do."
Fontana, drafted 61st overall last year, was sent directly to Class A Lexington and proved to be an on-base machine. He hit .225 in 49 games, but he had a .464 on-base percentage because he had 65 walks in 49 games.
"I'm looking forward to this," Fontana said. "This is a day you work to get to and now there's a chance. We'll see what happens."
Stassi to have MRI; Ambriz closer to return
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Astros catcher Max Stassi was scheduled to fly to Philadelphia on Tuesday to be examined by Dr. William Meyers and undergo an MRI exam on Wednesday.
Stassi, who was acquired from the Oakland A's in the Jed Lowrie trade on Feb. 4, has been bothered by an oblique injury for quite a while, and the Astros fear he has a sports hernia.
"I'll hopefully get some good news," Stassi said. "Worst-case, a sports hernia puts me out four to six weeks. That will set me back a little bit, but I can move forward from there. I'm in good spirits. I just want to clear up what's been nagging me."
Meanwhile, right-hander Hector Ambriz, who sprained his left ankle two weeks ago, was set to play catch Tuesday and throw live batting practice in the next few days. That will be his final hurdle before getting into a game.
"I can't wait, especially now that the games have started and watching everybody out there and compete," Ambriz said. "It's baseball season and I want to get out there and pitch. I feel like I'm healthy enough to pitch. They know that, but they're taking it slow, which is smart. I'll be ready in a couple of days."
Wallace comfortable manning hot corner
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Brett Wallace was in the Astros' lineup at third base on Tuesday, and he says he's grown so comfortable at the position that it's second nature.
"Honestly, I'm as comfortable at third as I am at first," Wallace said. "It doesn't affect the way I go about my business. I played third my whole life growing up. Even though I took a year and a half off, once I get in the rhythm of it, it came back and now I feel pretty comfortable."
Wallace played third base in college, but he was moved to first base early in his professional career. He played exclusively first base for the Astros in 2010-11, and appeared in eight games at third base last year with Houston. He'll get time at first and third this spring.
"It's a surprise to everybody if I'm over here, because they think it's a big deal, but I think once I get ready to go at it again now, I can go back and forth," he said. "I don't really think twice when I come in. I see where I'm playing and go from there. It's not really a big deal for me anymore."
MLB, Astros to host diversity summit
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Major League Baseball and the Astros will co-host the second annual MLB Diversity Business Summit, which will provide attendees with unprecedented access to human resource and procurement executives from all 30 MLB clubs, MLB Network, MLB Advanced Media, Minor League Baseball clubs and MLB's central office.
The MLB Diversity Business Summit will be held at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston on June 19. This sports employment and business opportunity career and trade fair will provide job seekers and entrepreneurs with a unique opportunity to network directly with decision-makers for employment and business opportunities at Major and Minor clubs, as well as well those from MLB media entities.
The agenda for the event will include a keynote speech by Commissioner Bud Selig, league-wide networking, exhibit floor access, workshops and executive roundtable discussions.
"Diversity is essential to our sport and remains a core priority of Major League Baseball," Selig said in a statement. "Major League and Minor League rosters reflect players of many different backgrounds throughout our game. Away from the field, the MLB Diversity Business Summit is a key platform, allowing us to offer unprecedented networking access to talented individuals who are interested in baseball careers and business opportunities. We thank the Houston Astros for co-hosting this event and exemplifying the depth of the commitment shared by all of our clubs."
Astros owner Jim Crane said in a statement: "Diversity is vital for MLB, the Astros and the city of Houston to thrive. We are proud to co-host this year's MLB Diversity Business Summit."
• Astros manager Bo Porter said Chris Carter will soon get some time in left field. Carter has been limited to first-base duties in spring games, but the team wants to give him an opportunity to win the starting job in left field.
"It's a progression that will take place soon," Porter said.
• Former Astros catcher Alan Ashby, who returns to Houston's TV broadcast booth after spending the previous five years calling Blue Jays games, arrived in camp Tuesday. Ashby managed the Kissimmee Cobras of the Florida State League in 1996.