*The previously-announced February 14 report date for pitchers & catchers is actually the first workout date for pitchers & catchers. The first full-squad workout is actually February 19, not February 20.
*After catching 17 of the 18 postseason games (Gattis was behind the plate for ALCS Game 3) of the postseason, Brian McCann took an extra month of rest in order to get his body ready for 2018. McCann:
I'm big on making sure that my body is healed up before I start wearing and tearing and doing weights...Playing that extra month, I feel like I just got done. And I look up and six weeks from now we'll be in camp.
*Carlos Correa hit Tilman Fertitta's "First Shot" before the Rockets/Warriors game last night, earning $5,000 for charity. He's the first Astro to make the shot, besting Springer, Bregman, and McCullers. Correa then proposed to his girlfriend on the court following the shot.
*Apparently the Astros have joined the Giants and Padres as the teams who have made an offer for CarGo and, before your brain does what my brain did and melted upon thinking of a Carlos Gomez reunion, that means Carlos Gonzalez.
*Alex Bregman is out here doing Spanish language informative videos on Instagram.
*On a show that is apparently called "First Take," boxing guy Max Kellerman and shouting guy Stephen A. Smith took shots at the Astros for accepting the White House's invitation to visit. The phrase "wrong side of history" was used before saying that it wasn't a partisan issue.
Ah hell here we go. Okay. I follow politics, I follow world events. I do not get my news from Facebook. I do, however, spend too much time on Twitter. I have thoughts on what is happening in the United States today and I am willing to share those thoughts. However, I do realize that I'm not the reason you visit Astros County dot com. The Astros are. For me, there's a sense of escapism in putting together the Hot Links. I get to spend some quiet time in the mornings not thinking about the size of anyone's Button, and perhaps you feel that this is a (weird) corner of the internet where you can do the same. There would be some whiplash in reading a post making a joke about Jordan Jankowski's wife Jordan and then - BOOM - political commentary.
There's a certain "stick to sports" element in play. I don't always like it, I don't always subscribe to it, but there it is. It's not as though I'm scared to alienate some of you with my political beliefs - I certainly wouldn't be risking any revenue stream - but I retain the right to respect that you and I may disagree on some things. Silently.
Oh, and The Floridian Golf Club (Crane's baby) is 30 miles from Trump National Golf Club. In November the TC Palm noted Crane's "political neutrality" and his "close relationship with" Obama.
A couple of days after the Astros won the World Series Lance McCullers summarized the internal struggle people in this position - being invited by the president to visit the White House - may feel in our current political climate:
There's obviously a lot of things that this country is going through and things that people need to deal with, but it's the White House. It's hard to say you're not going to see the most historic building in our country...The White House stands for a lot, and I would be crazy not to want to see that firsthand.
To be an athlete invited to the White House generally means that you won a world championship, which is an honor.