Some links surrounding the team that will jump ship from the NL Central into the AL West for the 2013 season…
- The Astros have begun doing their homework for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 draft, and a familiar name could be in play once again, according to Brian McTaggart and Clark Goble of MLB.com. Stanford right-hander and Houston native Mark Appel will once again be among the team's candidates at 1-1, but he is just one of several players the team is considering, says scouting director Mike Elias. Appel, of course, was favored by many to be the No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft, but fell to the Pirates at No. 8 and did not sign. Houston instead selected Puerto Rican shortstop Carlos Correa.
- General manager Jeff Luhnow told reporters, including McTaggart and Goble, that the team is narrowing its search for a manager. The 'Stros started with a list of 45 candidates, narrowed that to nine, and have since whittled the list down even further.
- Marty Noble of MLB.com writes that Red Sox bench coach Tim Bogar is the right man for the managerial job in Houston. Bogar served as a minor league manager in the Houston organization from 2004-05, and Noble feels that he is a "bright, motivated, dedicated, sincere, balanced, [and] personable" candidate who can generate "tangible improvement."
- The Astros signed a two-year player development contract with the Class A Quad Cities River Bandits, McTaggart reports. Luhnow worked with the River Bandits when they were affiliated with the Cardinals, and a number of current Houston players have previously played there, including Brett Wallace and Tyler Greene.
- Lastly, McTaggart tweets that the Astros will not renew the contract of catching instructor Danny Sheaffer, who has been with Houston as a minor league instructor since 2009.