Astros' Spring Training truck has new destination

Astros' Spring Training truck has new destination

HOUSTON -- The destination has changed, but the equipment the Astros need to conduct six weeks of Spring Training remains the same.

All kinds of gear, ranging from batting helmets and caps to laundry detergent and bubblegum, was loaded onto a pair of 18-wheelers inside Minute Maid Park on Monday morning prior to beginning the 1,117-mile journey to the team's new Spring Training home in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Forklifts navigated the loading dock, taking pallets of equipment on the trucks, while clubhouse manager Carl Schneider and his crew made sure everything was ready to be shipped out. There's no bigger sign Spring Training is around the corner than the loading of the equipment truck.

"It doesn't really change that much, just going to a different place really," said Schneider, who was scheduled to fly to Florida late Monday to get the team's new spring facility ready for the trucks' arrival. The trucks are scheduled to roll into the Ballpark at the Palm Beaches on Wednesday.

After more than 30 years of holding spring camp at Osceola County Stadium, the Astros and Nationals are moving to West Palm Beach to share a facility. The teams will open the new 7,500-seat ballpark on Feb. 28 in a game in which the Astros are the visiting team.

Houston and Washington will share a stadium, but they will have separate clubhouses and practice fields. Construction is still ongoing as crews put the finishing touches on the site, but Schneider -- who recently toured the area -- said the players will notice an upgrade.

"Everything is going to be better," he said. "It's really, really nice. It's going to be a lot better than we what had before. There's going to be a lot more room everywhere. The setup is really good."

Among the items loaded on the trucks on Monday were four treadmills/elliptical machines, 30 pounds of rosin, 150 batting helmets and belts, 200 cases of sunflower seeds, 250 jerseys, 300 caps, 300 cartons of gum, 1,000 pairs of baseball pants, 2,000 pounds of laundry detergent and 8,400 baseballs.

"Everything that we need to operate gets moved from here, down there," Schneider said.

Astros pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report on Feb. 14, with the full squad scheduled to report Feb. 18.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.