Orie trying to nab final roster spot
Non-roster invitee, 33, excelling for Astros this spring
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Kevin Orie, a 33-year-old non-roster invitee who spent all of last year at Triple-A, is doing his best to land a utility job with the Astros.
Entering Sunday's game, Orie was hitting .296 this spring, and he was tied with Jason Lane for the team lead with 10 RBIs.
Orie has been working out at first base, third base and the outfield. If he doesn't land the 25th spot on the Opening Day roster, look for Orie to start for Triple-A Round Rock.
On the pine: Knock on wood. The Astros have no injuries of note to any of their Minor Leaguers in camp.
Names in the game: It wouldn't be Spring Training without Matt Galante hitting ground balls to the organization's infielders for hours on end. Galante, a longtime coach and current special assistant to the general manager, recently returned from managing Italy in the World Baseball Classic.
They're No. 1: Brian Bogusevic, the only first-round draft pick the Astros have had in the last three years, is going through his initial Minor League camp after the club selected him in last June's First-Year Player Draft. The Astros intend to bring Bogusevic, a lefty from Tulane University, along slowly after he went 0-2 with a 7.59 ERA in 13 games at Class A Tri-City last summer.
Class of '05: Outfielder Josh Flores, a fourth-round pick from Chicago and the MVP of Class A Greeneville last season, continues to impress Astros officials with his tools, particularly his speed. Flores was rated as the fastest baserunner in the Astros' system by Baseball America. Keep an eye on Ralph Henriquez, a catcher taken in the third round last year as part of Houston's compensation from the New York Mets for signing Carlos Beltran. Henriquez is a switch-hitter with a strong arm, good size (6-foot-1, 200 pounds), and while he didn't have a good year offensively in the Rookie League, the Astros like his potential.
Stat machine: Right-handed pitchers Matt Albers and Felipe Paulino, optioned to Triple-A Round Rock on Sunday, had impressed the Astros with their arms, especially Paulino. Paulino, 22, allowed just two hits, two walks and no runs to the 19 batters he faced. ... Jason Hirsh is 0-1 with a 10.13 ERA, and he will start the season at Round Rock.
What they're saying: "We seem to have more good young arms around here than we did last year, and you like to see that." -- Astros manager Phil Garner, when asked his impression of young pitchers Hirsh, Jimmy Barthmaier, Paul Estrada and Paulino
Jim Molony is a writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.