Crane pleased with improvements in Minors

Crane pleased with improvements in Minors

HOUSTON -- Having recently returned from a trip to the Olympic Games in London, Astros owner Jim Crane took time Thursday to address reporters at Minute Maid Park about the state of the club. Crane remains steadfast that the club is on the right track despite its on-field struggles.

Crane believes players are feeling some pressure and simply need to relax.

"We're just looking for a spark to get over the edge," he said. "It's been very tough for everybody. We'd like to get a couple of wins under our belts, but we made a lot of trades and once we made that decision [to trade veterans] and get started moving in that direction, we knew we might slide back a little bit, but we weren't hoping it would be this bad."

The Astros have made six trades since the start of July, dealing players like Carlos Lee, Brett Myers, Wandy Rodriguez, J.A. Happ and Chris Johnson in exchange for prospects. Crane is pleased with how much the Minor League system has improved.

"I think we did the best we could in trying to shore up with the trades," he said. "We got about 15 players and hopefully some of our prospects look very good. We're sticking with the plan. We told you we were going to work that way, build up the Minor League system. Some of the reports I've seen said the system's gone from last to somewhere around 10th, so hopefully we'll see that continue to improve."

Crane said no decisions have been regarding any changes in the coaching staff for next season, saying general manager Jeff Luhnow will assess the situation at the end of the season. The owner said there will be upgrades to the Diamond Club seats next year, and he said fans will have a say in whether Tal's Hill and the locomotive above left field return for 2013 -- Houston's first season in the American League.