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Spring facility begins welcoming players, staff

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HOUSTON -- With only nine days until pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to the Astros' Spring Training facility in Kissimmee, Fla., several members of the team's front office and some players will begin heading for Florida over the next few days.

Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said a few players have been at Osceola County Stadium rehabbing and working out, and there should be an influx beginning early next week. Players who have been working out at Minute Maid Park this winter will travel to Florida on Monday to begin working out Tuesday.

"We obviously have a big [front office] crew here, but some of the guys are starting to peel off and head there," Luhnow said. "Every day, from now until next Saturday, we're going to see an increase in the numbers down there. Some other staff are going to start to arrive early next week, and Saturday [Feb. 15] we'll be ready to go."

The team's equipment truck will be packed Monday to begin the 900-mile drive to Kissimmee, where the Astros are holding Spring Training for the 30th consecutive season.

Astros manager Bo Porter, entering his second year, will leave for Florida on Tuesday. He plans to spend time at the home of Hall of Fame football coach Bill Parcells in Hobe Sound, Fla. Porter befriended Parcells a few years ago when the football coach paid visits to Marlins camp in nearby Jupiter. Porter will arrive at Osceola County Stadium on Wednesday.

"I'm extremely anxious to get going," Porter said. "You go through the whole course of the offseason and you really try to look forward to the roster taking shape and the additions in which we've made. You want to see the progress these guys have made, and it gets you excited."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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