KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Before Astros pitchers and catchers take the field together Friday for the first official day of Spring Training at Osceola County Stadium, members of the front office and Major League field staff, as well as some Minor League personnel, will spend most of Thursday going over all 61 players who are scheduled to be in camp.
Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said the meeting will offer the staff a chance to get an update on what players have been up to in the offseason, including winter ball participation and health, as well as talk about where they fit on the team entering 2016. The staff also talks through a plan for camp.
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For example, Tony DeFrancesco, the manager at Triple-A Fresno, might hear from Double-A Corpus Christi manager Rodney Linares about first baseman A.J. Reed, who's likely to be the starter for the Grizzlies when the season starts. Reed finished last year with the Hooks. Information will be exchanged methodically as they go down the roster.
"It's a long work day for us, but it's a great way for us to get organized, and some of the staff members have been in different parts of the country and world this offseason, so a lot of them didn't get a chance to come through Houston," Luhnow said. "So to get everybody together in the room and talk through the plan and go through updates on each player, that's probably a very beneficial way to kick it off."
Luhnow said anybody involved with the Major League club on a day-to-day basis will be there, along with key members of the Minor League coaching staff and other front-office personnel, such as director of pro scouting Kevin Goldstein.
"We have information on each player that we present in a standard format, but it gives an opportunity for [someone like assistant coach] Alonzo Powell, who's new to us, to hear different coaches' opinions about different players, whether it's from Tony D. or Omar [Lopez, manager at Class A Advanced Lancaster] or Rodney [or] our hitting coaches from various levels. ... The coaches that know the players the most are the ones that are going to be doing the most talking."
Luhnow said he expected all players to be in camp on time and didn't foresee any issues as far as travel or visa problems that occasionally arise with some international players.
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.