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Bagwell arrives as instructor at Astros camp

Special to MLB.com

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Astros Hall of Fame first baseman Jeff Bagwell arrived in camp on Saturday as a guest instructor.

A regular in the Astros camp, the four-time All-Star and former National League Most Valuable Player met with the media before imparting his wisdom and knowledge of the game onto today's Astros team.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Astros Hall of Fame first baseman Jeff Bagwell arrived in camp on Saturday as a guest instructor.

A regular in the Astros camp, the four-time All-Star and former National League Most Valuable Player met with the media before imparting his wisdom and knowledge of the game onto today's Astros team.

He said he likes what he's seen from the players in camp so far and that he looks forward to a big season.

"We're going to hit a ton," Bagwell said. "We can run, we have power, we have a great bench. If our starters stay healthy, we're going to be in good shape."

A point of emphasis for Bagwell will be in working with Yulieski Gurriel as he transitions from third to first base.

"The biggest thing with him is being comfortable to where it becomes second nature," Bagwell said. "Right now he's trying to figure it out. You've got to do different things at third base than you do at first base. It's a totally different move. It's more backhand on first base, where at third base it's more of your glove side."

Footwork is also an area Bagwell said he would try to help as well.

"It's just going to take time," Bagwell said. "The more he plays, the better he'll get."

A converted third baseman himself, Bagwell knows full well the necessary adjustments that must be made to make a successful switch. As a 1994 Gold Glove Award winner, Bagwell said that the biggest adjustment is a simple one.

"It sounds stupid, but the biggest thing about first is you've got to catch the ball," he said. "It sounds easy, but there's nothing worse than taking a chest-high throw and dropping it. And it can happen if you're not there in time. Carlos Correa has got a great arm. Alex Bregman's got a great arm. So you've got to get ready."

Bagwell hit 449 career homers, which ranks 38th on the all-time list. He could be considered an old-school kind of guy given the technology and metrics available today.

"I think there's too much information in baseball," he said. "We've got to keep it a little bit simpler. You can look at all the stuff you want, video and all that, but once you get in the batter's box, you've just got to see the ball and hit it. It sounds easy, but that's the truth."

Bagwell said he is blown away by the new Spring Training facility at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.

"It's better than a big league clubhouse," said Bagwell, who added that he is quite impressed by the ease of access to all the amenities."

Now that the anxiety of the Hall of Fame voting is over, Bagwell is happy to get back to the actual game itself.

"January was a busy month, lot of stress, but it all worked out well and it's good to get back here and watch these kids play," said Bagwell, who added that he hasn't yet written his Hall of Fame acceptance speech, although he admits to losing some sleep over what to say.

"I'm not going to talk that much about myself. It'll be about the people who have helped me throughout the way."

Bagwell joins long-time teammate Craig Biggio in the Hall of Fame. He said that it was a special moment in his life when Biggio was voted in. He was also in attendance for Biggio's 3,000th hit.

"I'd come back from a family trip just to see him," said Bagwell, who was Biggio's teammate for 15 years with the Astros. "Just the emotion that I got for him, knowing how special it was for him, to be an Astro his entire career; I thought it was very, very special."

Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Astros on Saturday.

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