Athletic Springer Ready For Instructs





HOUSTON—The Astros laid out their plans for  outfielder George Springer, the latest premium talent addition in a season full of them.

They sent Springer, 21, to short-season Tri-City for his pro debut, where he got off to a 3-for-13 start with a home run. His next stop will be instructional league, where the staff can get a first look at the 11th overall pick out of Connecticut.

The concrete plans stop there.

In an organization that gutted the major league club in commiting to a rebuilding process, Springer could get a green light for rapid advancement. The Astros hope they jump-started the process with a solid draft and a 10-player haul at the trade deadline.

"I would say that with a brand new core of guys who are new and young, that presents plenty of opportunities for guys not only like myself, but guys who are here now already out there playing," said Springer, who signed at the Aug. 15 deadline for $2,525,000.

"I guess the best way to describe him is freakishly athletic," said John Kosciak, the scout who signed Springer after watching him since he was a high schooler in Connecticut. "We always talk about five-tool players. They're very rare. This kid is a five-tool player. And they're five plus tools."

Springer hit .343 while helping Connecticut to super regionals last spring. He had one of the highest ceiings in the draft and will have the opportunity to move quickly after the trades of outfielders Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn.

Meanwhile, the Astros shut down their third-round pick, righthander Jack Armstrong out of Vanderbilt, early after signing him for $750,000.

Armstrong had an eventful year that saw him serve as a reliever for the Commodores after some early season injury problems. He then went to the Cape Cod League, where he pitched as a starter.

SPACE SHOTS

• Righthander Paul Clemens, acquired from the Braves in the Bourn trade, tossed 20 scoreless innings over three starts after joining Double-A Corpus Christi.

• Rookie-level Greeneville second baseman Josh Magee, an 18th-round pick in 2010 and son of former big leaguer Wendell Magee, had hits in 12 consecutive at-bats—the most in the minors since such records were first kept in 2005. He was hitting .283/.346/.364 in 184 at-bats with 16 steals.