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Top prospects report early to camp

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Second baseman Delino DeShields Jr. and outfielder George Springer, a pair of former first-round picks who are at their second Major League camp, reported to Osceola County Stadium on Thursday, one day ahead of the reporting date for players.

"It was a long winter," DeShields said after signing autographs for fans. "I'm excited to see the new environment and meet the new people. There's been a lot of changes. It's different, but I like it."

DeShields Jr. will get the chance this spring to work with legendary basestealer Vince Coleman, who's joined the Astros' staff.

Coleman stole 752 bases in 13 seasons in the Major Leagues, and became the only player in history to steal more than 100 bases in three consecutive seasons when he was with St. Louis (1985-87). He will be an outfield/baserunning developmental specialist assigned to Class A Quad Cities.

DeShields Jr.'s eyes lit up when he found out Coleman would be in camp; the prospect stole 101 bases last year en route to being named Astros Minor League Player of the Year.

"He's here? That's cool," DeShields Jr. said. "I'll be excited to talk to him and meet him and stuff, and see what he's got under his sleeves."