WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Astros third baseman Alex Bregman continues to progress from the arthroscopic elbow surgery he had a month ago to remove bone chips. Bregman has been hitting in the cage and fielding ground balls at third base, and on Saturday he progressed to throwing a baseball
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Astros third baseman Alex Bregman continues to progress from the arthroscopic elbow surgery he had a month ago to remove bone chips. Bregman has been hitting in the cage and fielding ground balls at third base, and on Saturday he progressed to throwing a baseball past 90 feet.
"I was throwing 90, 95 percent," Bregman said. "I put a little crow hop shuffle into it. Overall, a really, really good day."
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Bregman, who had a breakout 2018 season in which he finished fifth in the American League MVP Award voting, will continue to move back farther with his throws and is expected to be ready to play in Grapefruit League games in early March.
For now, throwing at just beyond 90 feet and doing it without pain was a win.
"That's a good milestone to hit today for sure," he said. "That's going to propel us forward here in the next week to start doing some other stuff."
Coaches coming together
The early days of camp have helped mesh the Astros' coaching staff, which includes three new members this year: first-base coach Don Kelly, bullpen coach Josh Miller and hitting coach Troy Snitker. Also, Alex Cintron has moved to hitting coach from first-base coach.
Astros manager AJ Hinch brought his coaches together in Houston prior to the start of Spring Training, but there are a handful of Minor League coaches in camp that Hinch is getting to know. Hinch holds a morning meeting with his coaches to try to learn as much about them as he can before they head to Minor League camp in a couple of weeks.
"It's good to get to know them. They're very smart, they're very eager to learn," Hinch said. "There's a common bond among all of them. I can see how the organization has shifted towards a certain style of coach, maybe even a little more analytically driven coach. That brings a ton of value and I think our guys can learn from them as they learn what it's like being up in the big leagues for a short time."
Harris recalls Saints' heartbreak
Astros pitcher Will Harris, who grew up in Louisiana and is a fan of the Saints, had a clear view of the controversial no-call pass interference play in question late in the NFC Championship Game between the Saints and Rams that cost the Saints a trip to the Super Bowl.
Harris was in New Orleans for a wedding and bought tickets 30 minutes before the game, and he was seated about 20 rows up on the five-yard line -- just above where the play took play. With less than two minutes remaining and the game tied at 20, the Saints had the ball at the Rams' 13 yard line. Quarterback Drew Brees threw a pass to receiver Tommylee Lewis, who was hit by Rams defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman well before the arrival of the ball. No flag was thrown.
The Saints kicked a field goal on the next play and wound up losing, 26-23, in overtime. The NFL admitted the officials blew the call.
"It was heartbreaking," Harris said. "You just saw it and you were like, 'We won. Game's over. We're going to run it out and kick a field goal.' No flag. [Saints coach] Sean Payton was running down the sideline right there. I saw the whole thing unfold. Tough one to swallow."
Harris said the raucous atmosphere at the Superdome suddenly turned solemn.
"The beginning of the game was unbelievable," he said. "I was there a few weeks earlier against the Steelers and that was one of the better atmospheres I'd ever been in for a football game, and the playoff game blew it out of the water. For as loud as it was, it was equally as quiet after. I was kind of worried leaving the stadium, like, 'Man, it could be rough outside.' You could hear a pin drop. There was just a lot of sadness and the anger set in as the days went on. That initial reaction was a lot of sorrow for everybody."
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.