Bagwell due in camp after winter of debate over health

Updated: February 22, 2006, 8:04 PM ET
Associated Press

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Jeff Bagwell is to make his much-anticipated arrival at Houston Astros' training camp on Friday, the day of the team's first full-squad workout.

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The 37-year-old Bagwell has put himself through a rigorous training regimen this offseason trying to rehabilitate his surgically repaired right shoulder. The four-time All-Star first baseman wants to play at least one more season, but the Astros argue that he's too hurt to play and filed an insurance claim in January.

Bagwell is guaranteed $17 million this season. By filing the claim, the Astros can recoup $15.6 million if he retires or is deemed disabled.

Astros manager Phil Garner said Wednesday he wasn't looking to see any immediate proof that Bagwell was ready.

"Just get the uniform on, come out, take a few ground balls, swing the bat, just like anybody else," Garner said. "I don't, for the first four or five days, look for guys to be going full-bore."

Bagwell missed 115 games last season after surgery on his right shoulder, which has bothered him for four years. He returned late in the season and could bat, but he couldn't throw. He went 1-for-8 with an RBI and a run scored in the World Series.

Garner assumes, but isn't sure, that Bagwell will be able to participate in Friday's drills.

"I reserve the right to say that might change as we see what program the doctor wants to have him on," Garner said. "But I am under the assumption and I believe that's what we'll be able to do -- he'll be on the field, he'll be taking batting practice. When he starts throwing or how he's going to do that, I don't know that yet. I think everything else is A-OK."

Garner said Bagwell's arrival won't turn into a sideshow.

"It's not a distraction, nor is it a negative factor," Garner said.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press