Lancaster honored for championship season

Lancaster honored for championship season

HOUSTON -- The field staff of the Astros' Class A affiliate in Lancaster, Calif., was honored during Wednesday's game for winning the California League championship. The JetHawks went 8-2 in the playoffs, winning their final five games and sweeping the championship series.

Rodney Linares managed the club to the title in his first year in Lancaster, having spent the previous two years at Class A Lexington and the three years prior to that at rookie-league Greeneville. Also honored were pitching coach Don Alexander, hitting coach Darryl Robinson and athletic trainer Bryan Baca.

"At any level, winning is special, especially after playing 140 games and making it in and seeing the guys progress during the year and having a great run," Linares said. "It was really special for me. During the last couple of years, our Minor League system hasn't been productive and it's turning around and it's a testament to what happened this year, especially with us and [Double-A] Corpus [Christi] and [short-season] Tri-City. You could see it."

Center fielder George Springer, the Astros' first-round pick in 2011, tore through the California League in his first full season of pro ball, hitting .318 with 101 runs, 18 doubles, 10 triples, 22 homers, 82 RBIs and 28 stolen bases in 106 games.

Outfielder Domingo Santana, the youngest player in the league at 19, hit .302 with 87 runs, 26 doubles, six triples, 23 homers and 97 RBIs.

"I believe Springer will be a productive big league player for a long time," Linares said. "He's a special player. He's got all the tools. He's probably the best player I've ever coached, and I've coached a lot of guys in my career. ... The other kid, Santana, is one of the best young players I've seen for his age. We've got to work with him a little bit, but they're both going to be fun to watch up here."