Tommy Manzella was the Astros starting shortstop last season and spent all but 11 games with Houston. The Astros signed Clint Barmes in the offseason, making things difficult for Manzella to make the club. Manzella was briefly recalled to major-league camp after Barmes went down with an injury but Angel Sanchez started the season as the Astros' shortstop. Manzella will start the season as the RedHawks' shortstop. Manzella spoke to The Oklahoman's Ryan Aber before their season starts Thursday in Memphis.
What was it like bouncing back from major-league camp to minors and back to the majors again?
It was just a situation where you're trying to make the club and guys kind of get hurt or shuffle around. You get opportunities. Unfortunately, the last time I came up, I didn't get too much of an opportunity. I was, I guess, more there as an insurance policy. But in either regard, you've just got to do what you've got to do to get ready for the season.
What did you learn from that experience and being in the big leagues last year to help you get back?
It's everybody's goal. We've got a lot of guys on the team that have experience at that level. I think the more experience you have there, the more you understand what type of adjustments you have to make in your game to stick at that level and not bounce back and forth. The more time you spend up there, the more information you gather and the more you know about the little adjustments you have to make in your game to stick at that level. While you're down here, you make the most of your time here to implement those little adjustments so when that next opportunity does come, you can take advantage of it.
How much do you know about the kind of team the RedHawks are going to be?
It's in the first couple days so it's kind of tough because you never know what you're going to get when they turn the lights on. There are a couple guys I have played with before but the majority of the team I haven't played with in the regular season. Spring training's a lot different. You get to that regular season sometimes either guys are a little more tentative or try to do too much. It's kind of hard to figure out which guys are going to do better when the regular games start. Once we get those first couple weeks, we'll get a better idea of what kind of team we're going to have.
The team has spent a week in Oklahoma City, something not a whole lot of minor-league teams get to do. What's this week been like before going on the road to start the season?
We've been spending a lot of time here. I've been here for about five or six days now and I really haven't been away from the complex when it's light out so we've been spending some good amount of time here trying to get set up with living and other things. It's nice to get settled at least into the city and not have to worry about rolling in and, especially starting on the road, just leaving stuff here and packing to go on the road.