KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Astros catcher J.R. Towles took ground balls at first base Friday afternoon, and he will be getting some reps at third base and in the outfield this spring in an effort to increase his versatility.
"A couple of days ago he came in and we had a little talk, and he said he had played some first before," Astros manager Brad Mills said. "He does a good job behind the plate, but this does nothing but increase his value to be able to do those things."
Towles, the club's former top prospect who's battling for a spot on the roster following an injury-shortened 2010, played some first base, third base and outfield in college. Cracking the Major League club at catcher any time soon will be difficult, with Jason Castro and Humberto Quintero entrenched.