Michael Bourn was born in Houston, played at Nimitz High School in Houston and then at the University of Houston, so it shouldn't take too long for him to get comfortable with his new team -- the Houston Astros.

"It was the last thing I expected," Bourn told the Houston Chronicle. "I wasn't paying attention to all the acquisitions that were going on. I was just enjoying my offseason. I couldn't sleep last night, and now I'm happy here and am going to try to make the most of it."

After settling down, Bourn talked to manager Cecil Cooper about his role with his new team.

"He told me he was happy to have me here and happy I would be playing center field and leading off and trying to make a spark for the team," he said.

Bourn hit .277 and swiped 18 bases in 105 games last season, getting 119 at-bats in the process. His speed and defensive ability is a big reason why the team traded for him.

"He told me he was going to let (left fielder) Carlos (Lee) stand in one place and he'll take everything from right-center all the way over to the left-field corner," Astros general manager Ed Wade said.

Red, white and blue next for Clemens? Roger Clemens may pitch in 2008, but it may not necessarily be with a Major League team. The veteran pitcher may don the uniform of the United States and pitch for the team in the 2008 Olympics in China, according to one of his agents.

"I think, if things fell into place and he felt good, he would be interested," agent Randy Hendricks told yankees.com about the 45-year-old Clemens, who has won 354 Major League games and pitched part of the 2007 season for the Yankees. "He loves the idea of representing his country."

Clemens was a member of Team USA in the first World Baseball Classic in 2006. He started against South Africa and earned the win, a victory that sent the team into the second round before it was eventually eliminated by Mexico.

Pena first from Rays to win position production award: Carlos Pena became the first player in Tampa Bay history to win the Louisville Silver Slugger Award. Voted on by Major League coaches and managers, the Silver Slugger Awards are given to the players deemed the top offensive producers at their positions for their respective leagues.

Pena, who missed most of the 2005 and 2006 seasons, rebounded in 2007 to hit 46 home runs, drive in 121 runs, walk 103 times and post a .627 slugging percentage and .411 on-base percentage. His home run, RBI and walk totals set new club records and he became the 11th player in AL history to have 100 walks, 45 homers and 120 RBIs in a single season.

"This is the most fun I've had playing baseball," Pena told Raysbaseball.com in October. "It was a lot of fun going out there every day."

Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said Pena's approach at the plate helped lead to his monster season.

"You know what I love -- how he took every at-bat," Maddon said. "He does not waste an at-bat. ... I think Carlos, as this season went on, really became involved with his at-bats. Every at-bat became a new adventure. I think as the season wore on ... his pitch selection got even better."

Re-signed Vizquel joins Appling in elite club: The Giants signed Omar Vizquel to a one-year contract with an option for a second season. Vizquel can automatically trigger the option by appearing in 140 games. He played 145 games last season, but no 40-year-old shortstop has played that many since Luke Appling turned the feat in 1949.

"If you start slipping, I don't think they will reward me," Vizquel told the San Jose Mercury News. "Everybody knows I love playing the game. I don't like taking days off. I'll try to be on the field every day."

Giants general manager Brian Sabean indicated that Vizquel would help tutor young shortstops Emmanuel Burriss and Brian Bocock.

"There's nobody better to learn from because he still has the passion of a rookie and plays every game like it's his last," Sabean said.

First year with Astros a gem for Lee: The Houston Astros couldn't have asked for more from Carlos Lee this season, his first with the club after signing a contract with the team before the 2007 season. Lee, who was an All-Star this year, won his second Louisville Silver Slugger Award.

Voted on by Major League coaches and managers, the Silver Slugger Awards are given to the players deemed the top offensive producers at their positions for their respective leagues.

"To get this honor is great," Lee, who also won the award in 2005 with the Milwaukee Brewers, told the Houston Chronicle via telephone from Panama. "You always want to play hard to get the respect of the fans, and it's great to be honored by the coaches and managers."

Lee hit .303 with 32 home runs and a career-high 119 RBIs this season and played in every game as well. He led the team in hits (190), doubles (43), RBIs and games played. His RBI total ranked third in the National League while he ranked seventh in hits, eighth in doubles, tied for 10th in home runs, tied for seventh in multi-hit games (56), sixth in total bases (331) and eighth in extra-base hits (76).

"I am really excited," Astros owner Drayton McLane said from Temple, Texas. "I remember this time last year when we were trying to sign him. It showed that he really, really lived up to our expectations. That just shows the best is yet to come."

-- Red Line Editorial