Fien looking forward to Astros spring training

Casey Fien is hoping he quickly makes a good impression on the

Houston Astros during spring training this year.

He sure doesn’t want to have to go on another wild journey to

find a place to pitch.

Last spring, the 27-year-old right-hander went from the Detroit

Tigers to the Boston Red Sox to the Toronto Blue Jays and back to

the Tigers again, all within three weeks.

”They called me the Traveling Man, which I felt like,” Fien

said Thursday before his first throwing session with the Astros.

”Going from team to team, I got to meet a bunch of new guys and

coaches, but I just wanted to play, get on the mound and compete.

By the time I got (back) to Detroit I hadn’t even pitched in a game

yet and there was like 10 days left.”

He spent most of the season with Toledo, the Triple-A affiliate

of the Tigers, who released him after the season. He was 3-3 with a

2.60 ERA and eight saves for Toledo in 44 outings

With the help of a recommendation from Astros starter Bud

Norris, his roommate at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo, Fien signed with

Houston in November.

”I told my agent whatever team comes after me, that’s the team

I want,” Fien said. ”They obviously want me so I’m going to go to

that team.”

Manager Brad Mills said it’s impossible to assess Fien’s chances

at this point. Fien is a non-roster invitee on a team with 30

pitchers in camp.

”We’ve heard a lot of good things about the command of his

pitches and how he throws the ball, so we’re just going to wait and

see,” Mills said. ”Let him go through camp a few days and then

start throwing in the games. Let’s keep an open mind on

everything.”

If he sticks around a few more days, Fien will be doing better

than last year.

After appearing in nine big league games for the Tigers in 2009,

he started the spring on Detroit’s roster, but was designated for

assignment Feb. 23. Six days later, Fien was claimed on waivers by

Boston, but he never even worked out for the Red Sox. On March 4,

the Blue Jays claimed him on waivers, only to release him March

17.

”They got my medical report, which they didn’t have before they

signed me, and they were just afraid that I was going to blow out.

I felt fine,” Fien said. ”I had an MRI done and some doctors said

I was fine and others said I wasn’t, so some teams took one

doctor’s opinion over the other.”

By the time the Traveling Man rejoined the Tigers, spring

training was almost over.

”It was just frustrating, feeling like you weren’t wanted,” he

said. ”You think that you’re going to get a chance somewhere and

then all of a sudden you don’t even get a chance to pitch.

”I was in Boston for three days and then Toronto for two weeks

and they didn’t even let me get on the mound,” Fien said. ”I was

questioning them and they never answered me, but then I got my

release and went back to Detroit.”

The Tigers called him up twice, each time for one game.

”They actually told me I was going down before I pitched,”

Fien recalled. ”They were like: ‘Listen, just go out there and try

to get some outs. You won’t be here long.”’

He was never anywhere for long last year. Maybe this year will

be different.

”They just told me to go out and compete for a job,” Fien

said. ”I’m just going to do the best I can and let the pieces fall

where they may.”