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03/13/12 9:07 AM ET
Astros trim roster with first cuts of spring
First-rounder Springer sent to Minor League camp after big game
By Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Mere hours after George Springer helped the Astros beat the Yankees with a dazzling late-inning display in Tampa, he was one of the casualties of the club's first round of Spring Training cuts.
Six players were reassigned on Tuesday -- right-handed pitchers Jorge De Leon and Arcenio Leon, both of whom are on the 40-man roster, second baseman Delino DeShields Jr., right-hander Henry Villar, shortstop Jonathan Villar and Springer.
None of the moves affected any of the Astros' spring position battles.
"It was the right time to do it," general manager Jeff Luhnow said. "Our staff has gotten a really good look at all the players. We have an opportunity now with Minor League games starting [Thursday] for them to take a day off and then come here and really take the at-bats and innings pitched that they need to get ready for the season to start."
Among the pitchers cut, De Leon worked two innings in the Grapefruit League, giving up a run on two hits, Villar worked two scoreless innings and Leon gave up a run in one inning. Among the position players, DeShields went 0-for-2 in three games and Villar was 0-for-2 in four games.
Springer, though, might have made the best impression. The Astros' No. 1 pick (No. 11 overall) from the 2011 Draft went 3-for-8 with a double in eight games. In two innings Monday night, he made an acrobatic catch in center field, hit the go-ahead RBI double and then swiped third base to set up what turned out to be the winning run in a 4-3 victory.
"He has all the tools to be an impact big leaguer," Luhnow said of Springer, who will likely begin the season at the Class A level. "Not only making the catch but then hitting that double, stealing third base and then making an incredible slide at home plate for that run, it felt to me like he was playing that game to win, and that's what we've stressed from the beginning.
"Even though it's only Spring Training and we're not expected to win that many games this year, you have to have an attitude that we want to win every game, no matter what's going on. That was exemplified by Springer. He definitely demonstrated to us the mindset and the tool set to be an impact big leaguer."
The Astros have 57 players in camp, so they have a lot of whittling to do to get down to 25 by Opening Day.