Thursday, February 28, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 103



Astros' spring training opens with high hopes

By Stuart H. Clements
Daily Cougar Staff

The Houston Astros began spring training with a new manager. Jimmy Williams, a former Red Sox manager, takes the place of Larry
Dierker and was reportedly hired because of his administrative strengths and great teaching skills.

The Astros have a talented minor league to build their future on, and team management said they felt it was important for this reason to
fill the position with a person who liked to teach and was good at it.

Williams has already managed to impress General Manager Gerry Hunsicker with the potential of this year's pitching staff.

Hunsicker commented that the pitching staff has "the potential to be the best staff we've ever had since I've been in Houston."

Wade Miller has scored the opportunity to be the opening-day pitcher when the Astros take on the Milwaukee Brewers on April 2. 

Miller had a 16-8 record last season with a 3.40 ERA.

The top four slots in this season's pitching rotation have already been determined.

Roy Oswalt, Shane Reynolds and Dave Mlicki will follow Miller.

Carlos Hernandez and Tim Redding are battling for the fifth spot in the rotation during spring exhibition games.

Williams' expertise will be valuable when dealing with younger players like Oswalt and Miller, and his business-like style of
management should be well-received by veterans Jeff Bagwell, Shane Reynolds and Craig Biggio.

Many players are excited about this season's potential with the younger players in starting positions.

"It's going to be a challenge, but it's going to be fun, and I think we're going to have a great team this year," Bagwell said.

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