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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Baseball notebook: Astros break ground on renovations to remove Tal’s Hill

Ta’s Hill, which has made center field in Houston’s Minute Maid Park an adventure on deep fly balls, will be gone by next season as the Astros bring baseball’s deepest center field about 25 in to 409 feet. (Melissa Phillip / Associated Press)
Associated Press

The Houston Astros began work on renovations to center field at Minute Maid Park on Monday that will remove Tal’s Hill and add field level seating.

The renovations were supposed to be done last offseason but were postponed. The project, which will eliminate the hill and bring in the center field fence from 436 to 409 feet, will be completed by opening day in 2017.

The change will make Houston’s ballpark the sixth-deepest center field after the old configuration made it the deepest in the majors.

The renovations will also add three bars and four new concession stands as well as the only field-level seating in the ballpark.

Swisher spending this week as Yankees minor league coach

Nick Swisher is spending one week of the offseason as a New York Yankees coach.

Swisher was a guest instructor with the Yankees instructional league team in Tampa, Florida. He worked with players in the new indoor facility at the team’s minor league complex and watched part of an intrasquad game from the dugout.

Swisher is expected to be with team until the season concludes at the end of the week.

Slowed by knee injuries the past several years, Swisher appeared in 76 games with Atlanta and Cleveland in 2014. The 35-year old slugger played in 55 games last season for the Yankees’ Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre team, then ended his season in July when his second child was born.

Alex Rodriguez, Orlando Hernandez and Tino Martinez have also been instructional league coaches this year.

Yankees special adviser Reggie Jackson also arrived and talked extensively with outfield prospect Clint Frazier during and after batting practice. Jackson watched the intrasquad game with vice president of player development Gary Denbo and special assignment scout Jim Hendry.