Huge snake pays visit to Astros clubhouse

Not everyone happy to see Sunshine, 11-foot Burmese python

Huge snake pays visit to Astros clubhouse

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- The Astros welcomed a guest into the clubhouse at Osceola County Stadium on Thursday morning that more than a few players hoped would have just stayed away.

Before taking the field for the morning work, some players posed for photos with Sunshine, an 11-foot albino Burmese python from nearby attraction Gatorland. Dallas Keuchel, Chad Qualls and Jed Lowrie were among those to pose with the reptile

• See photos of the Astros hanging out with Sunshine the python

"I think a lot of the guys in the clubhouse were pretty freaked out by it," Keuchel said. "It was definitely pretty cool. I'm not the biggest fan of snakes, but I definitely had to hold it. It was the first python I've seen in person. That being said, I put it on my shoulders and tried to not freak out. It was fun."

Astros longtime bullpen catcher Javier Bracamonte, whose phobia of snakes stems from his childhood and is well known in the clubhouse, saw the snake and jumped into the air between Carlos Correa and Jon Singleton as quickly as he could.

"I feel like I want to cry," he said. "It sounds funny, but when you're really scared you feel you want to cry."

Qualls said Bracamonte will be on high alert for the rest of camp.

"I wish he could have gotten closer, but as soon as he saw it, he was gone," he said. "I've never seen him move that fast. I told him maybe that's how we could get him over his fear of snakes, and he was still trembling an hour later."

Two years ago, some players put a remote-control snake in Bracamonte's locker. He took his phone and destroyed the snake.

"I hit it so many times I don't remember," he said.

Manager A.J. Hinch sympathized with Bracamonte.

"He gets picked on every now and then, but he's a terrific human being and hard worker as our bullpen catcher," he said.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.