KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- As the Astros gathered to stretch Friday for the first time this spring on the stadium field at the Osceola County Stadium complex, manager Brad Mills singled out outfielder Brandon Barnes during his morning address to this team.
Earlier in the day, Barnes gave Mills a Transformers watch to replace the watch the manager had shattered when a foul ball came through the back of the batting cage Wednesday. The ball destroyed Mills' watch and then struck him in the face, causing a black eye. Mills wore the watch during Friday's workout.
"That's pretty good for a young kid to do that," Mills said. "I told the guys if we screw up on the time today, it's Brandon's fault, because of the Transformers watch."
Barnes, who split last year between Double-A Corpus Christi and Triple-A Oklahoma City, felt bad about hitting the manager.
"I thought I would buy it as a little joke," Barnes said. "He took it pretty well. He had no hard feelings about it. I'm young and coming to camp for the first time, and when you hit the manager, it's hard to get out of your mind. I tried to have a little fun with it."
How much did the watch set Barnes back?
"About $6.99," he joked.