Tuesday morning has been filled with spring-training debuts for the Astros. On the same day pitchers and catchers will hold their first official workout, starter Erik Bedard, reliever Jose Veras and veteran outfielder Rick Ankiel arrived in camp. Bedard acknowledged he doesn’t know anyone on the Astros and is competing for a major-league spot or he’ll move on. Veras wouldn’t commit to being the club’s closer, saying he’ll simply do what he’s always done in his career and let the Astros make a decision. Ankiel arrived in Kissimmee after working out at the St. Louis Cardinals’ complex in Jupiter, Fla., saying he’s in excellent shape and looking forward to restarting his career again. Bedard was in talks with Toronto, among other teams, before joining the Astros. Ankiel intentionally chose the Astros over Cincinnati and San Francisco because of the everyday playing time and right-field opportunity his new club presents. “For me, I’m a competitor. I think we all are. But I want to go out there and certainly here this seemed like it was the best opportunity for me to get out there and do that day-in and day-out,” Ankiel said. “So we’re going to see how it plays out and I’m excited.” Veras is familiar with some of the Astros’ Latin America-based players, but joked he was still trying to get used to the team’s clubhouse – he’d only been to his locker twice, was still unopening boxes filled with new gear and wanted to eat breakfast before workouts began Tuesday. Veras also acknowledged the unpredictable life that is being a pro ball player. Despite putting up solid numbers the last four seasons, he’s been on five teams. Now, he’s the lead candidate to become the Astros’ 2013 closer, even though he’s only saved five games in his career.
Astros’ Rick Ankiel, Erik Bedard, Jose Veras arrive in Kissimmee
Houston Chronicle | Feb 12