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Former Astros player Cruz visits camp

KISSIMMEE, Fla. - A familiar face was in camp Friday as part of the Major League Baseball Players' Association contingent that came to Osceola County Stadium for its meeting with the Astros.

Jose Cruz Jr., the son of Astros legend Jose Cruz and 12-year Major League veteran, earlier this month joined the MLBPA as a service agent. He was recruited to the organization by director of player relations Tony Clark, who was looking for a bilingual presence.

"This is my second meeting so far," said Cruz, who ended his career with the Astros in 2008. "It turns out I know a lot of guys in here. It's fun. Anything you can do to help out and make an impact on the game behind the scenes is great. It was enticing, so I took it."

Cruz, who had done some TV work for ESPN since he retired, enjoys helping former players.

"It's something I'm interested in, and something I hope to do for a long time," he said.

A Houston native who played at Bellaire High School and Rice University, Cruz grew up around the Astros and the Astrodome. He said he loves the team's new color scheme.

"The new look is outstanding," he said. "The moment they did the unveiling, it was awesome. It brings back a lot of memories for me as a kid growing up."