Bud Norris: First off, [Jose] Altuve. For his size and stature, he will play the game hard and the right way. He truly is athletically talented. He will be a true bright spot for us in 2012 and beyond.
Jimmy Paredes is another one. Switch-hitting middle infielder and corner infielder. Has a huge upside as long as he mentally develops the way he should.
jermster: What are the difference between Brad Arnsberg and Doug Brocail?
Bud Norris: The first biggest difference is the fact that Doug Brocail, I had an opportunity to see more of him as a pitcher. I came up with him in 2009 and got to see him pitch. Arnsberg, I didn't know his type of pitcher. But they have more similarities than differences. They're very vocal to us and instill a lot of confidence in all of us as pitchers and baseball players. And they are extremely supportive all the way around.
aliceanna: What plans do you have for tormenting Greg Lucas this season?
Bud Norris: Nothing off the top of my head yet. But stay tuned. More to come, indeed.
Oh, and don't tell Greg.
scout01: What was your favorite moment last season?
Bud Norris: My almost no-hitter against the Cardinals. I had a no-hitter through seven innings and gave up a solo home run to Lance Berkman on 3-2 fastball. Hunter [Pence] missed it by that much over the right-field wall. The support and ovation I got from the fans leaving the field is something I won't forget. I hope to have more going forward.
jermster: What do you think the direction of the Astros is ... with the new owners and GM?
Bud Norris: First off and foremost, thank you to Drayton McLane for his tenure as our owner. He did bring this city the first World Series. He'll ride off into the sunset as a really good owner. We are excited with Jim Crane and his group. They see a lot of us as potential pieces for this puzzle going forward, and they have proven that they are indeed excited about winning.
scout01: What are you most looking forward to about Spring Training?
Bud Norris: Getting down there, getting back out on the field. Seeing the guys and hearing about their offseasons. Also, you get the itch to get out there and really get going again for baseball season. Oh, and the golf, too!
mitchsolby: Are you married? Any children? Sorry, just like to know my favorite Astros pitcher!
Bud Norris: Not married. No children. But I do love my puppy, Bailey. Everyone thinks he's a girl dog. He's a boy dog, just for the record.
scout01: Will you be at Astros Fan Fest this year?
Bud Norris: Yes.
scout01: If you weren't playing baseball, what do you think you'd be doing?
Bud Norris: I would be in the golf industry, for sure. Maybe as a player or in some other capacity. I'd be a great caddy.
aliceanna: Your new teammate Fernando Martinez only hit one home run last year -- off of you. Are you glad to have him on your side?
Bud Norris: Yes. It was a bad hanging slider. He has a lot of upside at such a young age.
scout01: Do you have any pregame rituals or superstitions?
Bud Norris: The biggest one for me is, I start my routine exactly one hour and five minutes before first pitch. If the game is at 7:05, I am in the shower at 6. I shower, change, stretch, headphones, bullpen mound at 6:45-ish. I also put my baseball pants on two legs at a time instead of one. Try it sometime.
mitchsolby: What is your diet and workout regimen like during the offseason compared to regular season?
Bud Norris: Monday through Friday, I am at the gym from 9:30 to 11:30 or noon with the boys, working out with our amazing strength coach, Dr. Gene Coleman. From there I will go have a healthy lunch at home, and recently I have been getting some cooking lessons from Chef Rey, and I am extremely happy with the progress I've made. He makes one crazy healthy fried chicken.
jermster: Are you looking forward to facing nine hitters when you head to the AL in 2013?
Bud Norris: On a lighter note, no. But on a serious note, there's not much I can do. We have to take the transition in stride, and we will compete as hard as we can. At the end of the day, getting to the World Series is what it's all about, in any league.
aliceanna: Is it true that your nickname in certain circles is "Cudly Studly Budly?"
Bud Norris: Yes, and we can thank Alyson Footer for that one. A good buddy of mine from the Minor Leagues named Evan Englebrook somehow, some way, gave me that nickname. Alyson got wind of it, and it's been tweeted about ever since.
johnny14k_2: Outside baseball, what is the one sport you respect as much?
Bud Norris: Football. NFL, they are the best of the best of the best athletes, and it's proven every year. My favorite team is the 49ers. They have a big test this weekend at home against the New Orleans Saints. Go Niners! And Texans, of course.
zobrist18: Bud, greetings from Western Mass. Hope your offseason is going well. What are your personal goals for the upcoming season?
Bud Norris: One thing Roy [Oswalt] taught me before he left was, it's your job to get to 200 innings. I was close last year, but my ultimate goal is to get to 200 innings this year. If I get to 200 innings, it means I'm doing my job pitching deep into the game, giving my team the best opportunity to win, and numbers should coincide with that.
johnny14k_2: What has developed the most for you individually since joining in '09? As a team?
Bud Norris: Consistency is something I always strive for. Making 30 starts last year was a step in the right direction. I want to pitch deeper into ballgames, giving my team an opportunity to win, and staying healthy is a big part of that. As a team, by the changes we made, we have come together more as a group instead of individuals.
Thanks, everybody, had some fun! Really hope to get some more wins for you this year. And hope to see you at the ballpark! Thanks!