Friday, February 24, 2006

Bagwell Reports To Astros Training Camp

By Robert H. Kelly

Jeff Bagwell reported to Astros Training Camp in Kissimmee, Florida today and the first person he ran into was owner Drayton McLane.

The 15-year veteran half-joked he felt he was at a tryout camp attempting to show Astros management that he is worthy of a spot on the squad.

Bagwell took grounders at first bases along with Lance Berkman and during the session threw about 15 times back to home plate and third base.

Bagwell hopes he will be one of the 25 players on the roster when the team breaks camp in April and was quoted in saying,

I believe if I can get out there and play. I will be one of the best 25 players, there's not a doubt in my mind. It's whether or not I can do that, whether I can actually get out there and play. If I can get in the batter's box for 500 at-bats, I promise you I'll be one of the best 25 guys out there.

In January, the Astros filed an insurance claim, stating that Bagwell was a disabled player who can no longer field his position.

Bagwell wants a chance to prove himself. To prove to himself, the Astros and other that he can perform at the level that is necessary to continue to play in the professional ranks.

I understand the business side of baseball. If I cannot play baseball this year and I am physically unable to play with the Houston Astros, trust me, I want them to collect as much insurance as they can. I'll write the letter. That's not an issue for me. But I just want the chance to see if I can play.

I say give him a chance. He has been a loyal Astro for 15 years and loyalty is important in sports. I know this is professional sport, but what could it hurt?

One never knows. He may surprise a large number of people.

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