Astros have lots of former A's on board
HOUSTON -- For as unfamiliar as the Astros are to the A's, they do happen to employ more than a few familiar faces.
The American League West's newest team is home to several ex-A's players, including Friday's starting pitcher Brad Peacock, outfielder Chris Carter and southpaw Travis Blackley.
Blackley, traded by the A's to Houston just Thursday, looked very much at ease in his new colors while holding court with a large group of reporters in Houston's clubhouse on Friday afternoon, sharing stories about his time spent in Oakland's stands last weekend, not too long after being designated for assignment.
"I was there with my girlfriend and her family because they were doing the whole pregame thing," Blackley said. "I wasn't going to go to the game, but they had an extra ticket so I thought, 'Why not?' Then I got invited to go hang out in the right-field bleachers. They're always yelling, 'Aussie! Aussie! Aussie!' out to me while I'm pitching, so I might as well go say hello.
"That was really cool. I had never seen that view before. I think if I was a fan at the ballpark, I'd go out there and sit there every time."
Though nothing is certain, Blackley likely won't face his former team this weekend, since he's building back arm strength after not pitching for nearly a week. Houston plans on using him in a long-relief role, as the A's would've done had they kept him.
Blackley's one regret from his time spent in the Bay Area?
"I missed Alcatraz," he said. "Never got there."
Carter, meanwhile, sat just a few feet away from Blackley. He's stationed in left field these days, and says he hasn't taken grounders at first base, where he played for the A's, in nearly a month.
"I was excited to get an everyday opportunity," he said. "Last year I was in a platoon situation, so I'm glad to be here."
Carter's teammates were scouted heavily by A's personnel in advance of the three-game series.
"This is obviously the most difficult team to prepare for, based on the fact we didn't see them in spring, they're new in the league and they have a lot of new players," manager Bob Melvin said. "This can be an uneasy feeling knowing there are a lot of players you know nothing about, and we will down the road, but it's almost like Interleague for now, until you go out and play against them."