PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Astros manager Bo Porter gave most of his regular players the day off Wednesday after the team arrived home late Tuesday following a game in Tampa. That also allowed Porter to bring several of the team's top prospects to Tradition Field to face the Mets.
Eighteen-year-old shortstop Carlos Correa, last year's No. 1 overall pick in the First-Year Player Draft, and first baseman Jonathan Singleton, the team's No. 1 prospect according to MLB.com, joined outfielder George Springer in the lineup against the Mets. Correa singled in his first at-bat and stole second base.
"It's always a big thrill and a special opportunity to not only start, but to just go out and play," Springer said.
Springer, the team's first-round pick in 2011, is likely headed to Double-A Corpus Christi to start the season. He played most of last year at Class A Lancaster and got his feet wet at Corpus Christi at the end of the season.
"From the at-bats I got, I know how it's going to be," he said. "I got to face the same stuff out in the [Arizona] Fall League, and I know what I'm getting myself into. Being here and being in camp with the Triple-A guys has prepared me for it."
Second baseman Delino DeShields, who was named the club's Minor League Player of the Year after stealing 101 bases last year, is likely headed to Lancaster after nearly two full seasons at Class A Lexington.
"I've been working my butt off trying to make a team," he said. "It's not where you start, it's where you finish. I'm going to do what I did last year and see where I end up."
DeShields and Singleton will leave on the charter with the Major League club on Thursday and will play in this weekend's exhibition games at Minute Maid Park against the Cubs.
"I'm pretty excited to travel with the team and get a good feeling for what that's going to be like," DeShields said. "Getting to play in that stadium, it's going to be a really good feeling. It just means they're looking at us, they're watching us and they're excited for the future. I'm just happy to be out there."
Gonzalez has strong chance to be long man
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Edgar Gonzalez drove more than 2,200 miles to Kissimmee from Hermosillo, Mexico, for Spring Training, and he hopes to be able to be in Houston when the season begins on Sunday night.
The veteran right-hander, signed out of the Mexican League last year, allowed three runs and four hits while throwing 45 pitches over three innings in the Astros' 6-2 loss to the Mets on Wednesday in his final spring audition for a spot in the bullpen as long reliever.
He's got a good shot to make the club, which must trim one more relief pitcher. In 13 innings this spring, Gonzalez allowed five runs, 11 hits, two walks and struck out 10.
"I feel great," he said. "I'm so happy, because so far it's my best spring in my whole career. I just say thank you to the Houston Astros because they gave me the chance, the opportunity to be here the whole way. I feel like I'm ready for the season."
Gonzalez has been on an Opening Day roster only twice before - 2007-08 with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He's still waiting to hear from the Astros if he's on the club, but teammate Bud Norris has been firmly in his corner.
"I talked to Norris like two or three days ago and he told me, 'You know what, Gonzo? You've got a good chance to make the long reliever,'" he said. "'Last year at this point you were home in Monterrey, and right now you're here to try to make the team and I think you're going to make it.' I was so excited when he told me. It's Norris; it's not the big guys. I'm so happy to be here and all the things happening right now. I can't wait for the season to start."
Prospect Correa happy with first spring as pro
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Davenport, Iowa, is a long way from Puerto Rico, but that appears to be where 2012 No. 1 overall Draft pick Carlos Correa will begin the season with the Astros' Class A team in Quad Cities.
The 18-year-old Correa, who went 1-for-4 with an RBI and a stolen base as starting shortstop for the Astros in their 6-2 loss to the Mets on Wednesday night, said the Minor League roster assignments were posted earlier in the day, but he didn't see them because he was traveling with the big club.
"I think I'm going to Quad Cities, Iowa, and I'm pretty excited about being there and doing my best," he said.
Correa joined fellow top prospects Jonathan Singleton, George Springer and Delino DeShields Jr. in traveling with the Astros so manager Bo Porter could give some of his regulars the day off.
"Being here and playing with the big league club is an amazing experience, and you're here with the big league manager and all that you learned, all that you worked for, you try to show it here," he said. "It's pretty fun."
Correa said his first spring in professional baseball went well, and he focused on improvement in all facets of his game.
"Spring was really good," he said. "So far, there's new coaches, so they have been helping us a lot and they know a lot. I'm very excited about starting the season this year. We've prepared ourselves really good this spring, so we're really excited."