Scott- might win the starting job in LF over Orlando Palmeiro
Burke- utility man
Biggio- starting at 2B
That what I see going on right now. I am trying to decide if Scott deserves a roster spot yet. I already have Burke on my bench. Burke is hitting well this spring (310) and can flat out run but it looks like the Stros want Biggio at second.
Thing is once Berkman comes back and provided Lane plays well, out of Biggio, Burke, Taveras and Scott only two will have a job. My guess is Biggio for sure and then Burke, Taveras and Scott in that order.
The first month of the season may see a dozen different combinations. If you have a place to stash Taveras or Scott for next year if/when they lose playing time they are worth a chance.
Astros general manager Tim Purpura estimates that half of the people he consults with in the coaching staff and front office believe one day that Biggio should start at second yet change their minds the next.
Some scouts lean toward Biggio because of his proven track record on offense. Others lean toward Burke because of his upside and superior range and arm, especially considering the ease with which runners test Biggio when he is the cut-off man. Purpura has heard both those arguments, which is why he has an open mind.
Has Burke's decent spring been enough to win the starting nod at second if Biggio is his competition for the position?
"The short answer is probably no," Garner said. "In other words to put Biggio on the bench probably not, and Burke will some day be in that same position. It's a difficult position for a young player to be in when you come in to put a guy like Biggio on the bench. Biggio shows no signs of slowing.
"He had a good year last year. Are we better with Burke? That remains to be seen, but Biggio has earned the right to have the opportunity first. Now the decision won't be that Burke has unseated Biggio as much as it is, 'Is the ballclub better with Burke in the lineup at second and Biggio in the lineup at left?' That's the decision."
That's where Scott comes in. He has been the Astros' hottest hitter this spring. Even many of his outs have been line shots.
Scott is hitting .395 (17-for-43) while leading the team in slugging percentage (.884), on-base percentage (.422), total bases (38), home runs (five) and RBIs (15).
When asked if it's fair to speculate that Scott has an edge over Biggio or Burke for left field, Garner doesn't hesitate.
"That'd be right now," Garner said. "You can speculate that and be right. Just look at the spring he's had. Holy mollie. He's having a spring to die for; to live for would be better."