KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) - Their jerseys read "Cruz" and "Niekro" -- conjuring up images of two Houston Astros all-time greats.
But these are the sons of Jose Cruz and Joe Niekro - Jose Junior
and Lance - and they're at spring training in Florida as non-roster
The 33-year-old Cruz Junior is among a half-dozen players vying
for one backup outfielding spot.
Niekro, who's 29, is trying to nab a reserve role at first or
Cruz Junior remembers countless pickup games in the tunnels and
the batting cages at the Astrodome, where his father used to lob
pitches to the kids.
The elder Cruz played for Houston from 1975-87. He's the
first-base coach now.
But manager Cecil Cooper says the sons won't get any special
Joe Niekro, who died in October 2006 from a brain aneurysm,
played for Houston from 1975-85.