Villar debuts in center during scrimmage vs. Braves

Gattis also sees time in left field and Dominguez plays first base

Villar debuts in center during scrimmage vs. Braves

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- The Astros gave Jonathan Villar, who came up through the Minors and broke into the Majors as a shortstop, a look in center field in a scrimmage against the Braves on Wednesday afternoon at Osceola County Stadium.

Villar, who was the team's Opening Day shortstop last year, is vying for a utility spot after Houston signed Jed Lowrie, so Villar will have to prove he can play other positions to make the club. Villar had a few balls hit to him in center Wednesday and appeared to be comfortable.

"He looks the part out there," manager A.J. Hinch said. "Athletes can move around the field pretty easily."

In the scrimmage against the Braves, the Astros also got a look at Matt Dominguez at first base and Evan Gattis in left field. They are still trying to figure out where to play Gattis, and Wednesday marked his second game in left field this spring. Alas, he's yet to have a ball hit to him.

"I'm going to get Gattis in left until he gets a ball," Hinch said. "He'll be in left field the next couple of days."

Gattis did homer off Braves pitcher Andrew Thurman, who Atlanta acquired in the trade that sent Gattis to Houston.

"He did show why he needs to play somewhere," Hinch said.

Dominguez is also trying to expand his versatility by playing first base. He's been the starting third baseman the past two years, but the Astros traded for Luis Valbuena, who will get the lion's share of the time at third base.

"The key with Dominguez at first is there's a little more responsibility than people think, whether it's trailing runners or being the cutoff man or playing in, playing back, holding runners -- stuff like that," Hinch said. "It's an adjustment for him, so he needs as many reps as we can get him over there. He's certainly not spooked by the position."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for 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.