2009 – After winning their first spring game of the year, the Astros fail to win their next 19 Grapefruit League contests until beating the Reds, 4-2, behind six shutout innings from Russ Ortiz. It comes the same day that the Astros sign catcher Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez to a one-year deal. The 37-year-old Rodriguez is a 14-time All-Star with 13 Gold Gloves and fills a need as none of the other catchers in camp were hitting above .200 in spring action.
1994 – Both teams train in Florida, yet the Astros and Rangers spar in a two-game series at the Astrodome as part of their in-state rivalry. Tony Eusebio is the hero in a 6-5 victory, driving in Luis Gonzalez with an eighth-inning double. Astro nemesis Will Clark delivers the game-winner for the Rangers the following day. It’s the first Dome visit for new Houston manager Terry Collins. Afterwards, both teams fly back to Florida.