Mills leads Astros into spring games

Mills leads Astros into spring games

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- The Astros will get their first look at what Brad Mills is capable of doing as a manager in a game situation when Houston opens Grapefruit League play Thursday at 12:05 p.m. CT against the Washington Nationals in Viera, Fla.

Mills, hired in October to replaced Cecil Cooper as manager, will send fellow newcomer Brett Myers to the mound to face the Nationals. The Astros started last spring with one win in their first 20 games, but Mills says wins and losses aren't important. He wants the players to be aggressive.

"We want guys, if they're going to make mistakes, we want them to do it down here in Spring Training, no doubt," Mills said. "We want guys to be aggressive because it's much easier to pull guys back. The evaluation comes when they make the mistakes, and why they made them and so on."

Following Myers, the Astros will throw Wandy Rodriguez on Friday at 12:05 p.m. in Lakeland against Detroit and ace Roy Oswalt will make his spring debut Saturday at 12:05 p.m. at Osceola County Stadium against Atlanta. Mills is keeping his lineup for Thursday's opener under wraps, but first baseman Lance Berkman won't play after an MRI revealed a left knee bruise on Tuesday.

"It will be fun to get everything squared away and get moving," Mills said "The players are tired of taking the ground balls and doing the fundamentals and those types of things. They can't wait to get out there and see somebody else wear another uniform."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.