CLEVELAND -- His first year in the Major Leagues has been a season of growing pains for Astros reliever Josh Fields, who was taken by the club with the No. 1 overall selection in the 2012 Rule 5 Draft in December from the Red Sox.
Fields has had his ups and downs, entering Saturday's game with a 1-3 record, five saves and a 5.56 ERA while splitting the closer's role with Chia-Jen Lo for a portion of the second half of the season.
"I learned quite a bit," Fields said. "I definitely had some ups and downs this year, but I'm trying to pull from it all and learn about what it takes to be here. I've had a great time with my teammates. This team has gotten to be pretty close throughout the course of the year, and we have a lot of new faces."
Fields is one of seven Astros pitchers to make their Major League debut this year, including six in the bullpen alone. They're all trying to compete for spots next year and open some eyes, which could lead to some players trying to do too much.
"I feel like sometimes I tend to try to push it too hard," Fields said. "I want to continue to work hard like I've been doing, but make sure I'm feeling good and ready for next year. The biggest thing for me is just stay focused and stay to the grind."
Fields understands the Astros are rebuilding. And while watching the losses pile up has been tough, he can't help but be enthused for the future.
"We all know it's going to be a process," he said. "We weren't expected to win and the hopes for the team, as far as the fans, wasn't very high this year, and it was kind of a year to give some guys an opportunity to help this club out in the future. I think that some of the guys realized that, and you have to keep a big-picture mindset and say, 'You know what, everybody's young and we're going to continue to get better and hopefully make a push in the year to come.'"
Gonzalez to give outfield a shot in winter ball
CLEVELAND -- Astros backup shortstop Marwin Gonzalez said Saturday he plans to get some work in the outfield during winter ball this year in Venezuela. Gonzalez said Astros manager Bo Porter asked him when he got called up on Aug. 14 if he wanted to try the outfield.
Gonzalez, an infielder by trade, has been taking fly balls in the outfield during batting practice and believes adding the outfield to his resume could bolster his chances of making the team next year.
"I kind of like the idea," Gonzalez said. "If I can play the infield and the outfield, it's a plus for me. I've been practicing. He didn't tell me, but I guess it's going to be for next year."
Gonzalez, acquired by the Astros in the Rule 5 Draft after the 2011 season, appeared in 15 games in center field and 33 games in left field in the Minor Leagues while coming up with the Cubs.
"I played with Starlin Castro of the Cubs when he was at shortstop and I played some games in center field," Gonzalez said. "They might try me in Spring Training because the games don't count."
When asked how his strong arm plays in the outfield, Gonzalez wasn't shy.
"I can throw a little bit," he said with a smile.