Houstonians have been woefully devoid of the Astros all summer thanks to the pandemic. Back in March, Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred announced that opening day would be pushed until at least mid-May, but May came and went ... and no "Play Ball."
But now it appears we're getting a baseball season after all, with a reduced 60-game schedule set for the 2020 season. The new opening day is set for July 24, with the Astros coming up to bat against the Seattle Mariners.
"I mean I think we're as ready as you can get at this point," declared veteran manager Dusty Baker, who was hired after the suspension and subsequent dismissal of A.J. Hinch. "These guys have really been working."
Team spirits were high Wednesday afternoon as the Astros continued their summer camp workouts at Minute Maid Park. The three-hour training yesterday included traditional batting practice, fielding, and live pitching. Several hitters made noise by hitting long homers into and past the Crawford Boxes, with at least a couple going over the train tracks in left field.
After throwing a bullpen session on Tuesday, pitcher Justin Verlander was all smiles as he roamed around the field during Wednesday's workout. George Springer, Carlos Correa, and José Altuve competed with each other during batting practice, each attempting to drive the ball past the fence, succeeding on multiple occasions.
Having still not received his COVID-19 test, third baseman Alex Bregman was not as Wednesday's training session. However, one of his teammates called him on the field through FaceTime, and several players took a few moments to say hello. Bregman is expected to rejoin the team Thursday.
The first intra-squad game of this summer camp will take place Thursday afternoon, with pitcher Lance McCullers designated as the captain of the visitors team, and Verlander taking lead of the home team.