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Astros trim four from spring roster

Astros trim four from spring roster

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- The Astros made more roster cuts on Wednesday, sending four players to Minor League camp -- left-hander Mark McLemore and outfielders Josh Anderson and Mike Rodriguez were optioned to Triple-A Round Rock, while catcher Kevin Davidson was reassigned.

This round of cuts carried no surprises. All four knew they were not going to make the 25-man Opening Day roster, and while they hoped to spend more time in big-league camp, they weren't shocked to be packing up their lockers while the rest of the squad convened for a 9 a.m. ET meeting with Major League Baseball securities representatives.

"I'm clogging up the at-bats up here, because I can't yet play the field," said Rodriguez, who is still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery and probably is a week away from returning to the outfield. "It will be good for me [to go to Minor League camp]. I learned a lot up here and had a lot of fun, too. Now, I've got to go down, get my work done and keep going."

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Anderson, who is likely headed for Round Rock this year, has been through roster cuts before and therefore was not caught off guard when he was called into manager Phil Garner's office.

"Hopefully, next year, I'll be here a little longer," Anderson said. "I'm not disappointed. I'm thankful for the opportunity. I understand there are a lot of decisions they've got to make this year. There are a lot of outfielders.

"You hate to leave, because it's awesome over here. Then again, it comes down to getting ready for the season, and realistically, I'm going to hopefully be in Triple-A, and I need to get ready. I'm going to get my at-bats down there and get comfortable."

Davidson, who received only three Spring Training at-bats but worked overtime warming up pitchers in the bullpen, said that the learning experience from spending even a few weeks in Major League camp is something he'll take with him to Minor League camp.

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"To me, baseball is a game of learning," he said. "Just being around the veterans and [learning] how they carry themselves and what they think in difficult situations, to me, is what separates the big leaguers from the Minor Leaguers. Obviously, the talent is there, but the mind game of it is what separates you."

The players communicated similar sentiments while receiving their demotions from Garner and general manager Tim Purpura.

"They thanked us for the opportunity," Purpura said. "They were all very appreciative for the opportunity to come to camp, especially Kevin Davidson, who was not on the roster. He feels like he learned a lot here. He said, 'I learned just watching Brad Ausmus, how he goes about his business.' It's great when you can give a young player that opportunity."

Purpura praised McLemore for his efforts in coming back from surgery to repair the labrum in his left shoulder after the 2005 season. McLemore pitched two scoreless innings for the Astros this month.

"I think he opened a lot of eyes this year, as far as this spring, with what he brings to the table," Purpura said.

Anderson, the speedy center fielder who's just behind Hunter Pence on the depth chart, had three hits in 13 spring at-bats.

"Josh, every year, he gets stronger and more mature and he shows you what he's capable of doing," Purpura said. "He's got a great attitude. He says, 'I know the only thing I can control is my attitude and my work habits."

The Astros have 43 players remaining in camp, including 34 roster players and nine non-roster invitees.

Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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