John McClain: After a healthy season, Bregman’s goal is to win back-to-back World Series

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Chris O’Meara/AP/Shutterstock (13403685l) Houston Astros’ Alex Bregman holds his broken bat as he follows his two-run double off Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Drew Rasmussen during the sixth inning of a baseball game, in St. Petersburg, Fla Astros Rays Baseball, St. Petersburg, United States – 19 Sep 2022

John McClain: After a healthy season, Bregman’s goal is to win back-to-back World Series

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Alex Bregman didn’t try to mask his excitement about reporting to spring training and jump-starting the Astros’ goal of winning a second consecutive World Series and their third in seven seasons.

As soon as Bregman came through the door of the clubhouse and started greeting his teammates, you could see his enthusiasm was genuine and contagious. Bregman and his teammates know they have a target on their backs, and even though they won’t use the D word for dynasty, they also know they’re good and determined to become the first team to repeat as champions since the Yankees won their third consecutive World Series in 2000.

“We’re trying to accomplish something that hasn’t been done in a very long time,” Bregman said about winning back-to-back World Series. “There’s a lot of work that goes into getting back to where we want to go. It drives all of us. I think everyone is showing up ready to compete and ready to try and accomplish our goals again.”

Bregman spoke to the media on Monday, the day before the first full-squad workout. He’s coming off his first healthy season since 2019. He knows no team has been able to repeat as champion in 23 years. Bregman also knows what other American League teams fear: The Astros are talented and confident enough to reach a seventh consecutive American League Championship Series and a fifth World Series.

“Spring training is an exciting time (but) every year’s different,” he said. “It feels great to be back. Every year in spring training there’s a lot of excitement with the guys. Everyone’s ready to compete.

“We’ve got a really good division. A lot of teams got very good. I feel like we’ve had a tough division for a long time now. Goal No. 1 is to win the division.”

Bregman could be getting a contract extension. He makes a base salary of $28.5 million this season, and he’s under contract through 2024. New general manager Dana Brown hasn’t tried to hide his intentions of getting some key players extended, including Bregman, who’s represented by Scott Boras.

“It means a lot,” Bregman said. “He (Brown) said him and Scott are going to talk. I don’t have any update on that. We’re all ears, and we’ll see what happens.”

Like his teammate, Jose Altuve, Bregman has no interest in leaving the Astros and Houston, but, ultimately, that’ll be up to owner Jim Crane.

“This means a lot to me and my family,” Bregman said about Brown wanting to sign him to an extension. “I love Houston. I love the people. I love my teammates. I feel like the last few years have been great playing for this team and this city. I have great teammates, and we play in front of great fans in Houston.

“My job right now is to try and prepare as much as I can to play for this team and let all that stuff take care of itself (but) it’s always nice to feel wanted.”

After the Astros blew through the playoffs, sweeping the Mariners and Yankees and defeating the Phillies in six games to win the World Series, they had a short vacation, which is something they would welcome every year, of course. Bregman, who’s one of the most popular players in the history of Houston sports, spent some time being a husband and father to Reagan and Knox.

“We got back in the gym maybe a few days after (World Series),” he said. “I took a little time off to be a dad, too. That was fun, but for the most part, I focused on trying to compete again and win another one.

“Last year I was healthy all year long. I was super thankful for that. I look forward to making that a point of emphasis the rest of my career.”

Bregman played in 155 games in 2022. He hit 23 home runs and drove in 93 runs, recording a slash line of .259/.366/.454 with an .820 OPS. He had three homers, 11 RBIs, and a .294 average in the playoffs, including a .948 OPS. In his six full seasons, which coincide with the Astros’ current run of six consecutive outstanding seasons, he has more playoff home runs (15) and RBIs (47) than any third baseman in Major League history.

But Bregman is far from satisfied. He wants to accomplish more this season and in subsequent seasons. He was fanatical in the offseason about being even better in 2023.

“My focus has been to improve in all phases of the game,” he said, “continuing to work on the swing changes that were made last year and try to repeat those patterns and hitting through the baseball. Always staying healthy for a full season is a focus as well. I mostly focused on my body and the swing. I’m feeling good and ready to compete.”

For the first time since 2016, when he made his debut with the Astros in July of that season, Bregman won’t look across the field and see Yuli Gurriel at first base. Gurriel has been replaced by Jose Abreu, signed as a free agent from the White Sox.

“Both guys are incredible players,” Bregman said. “Playing against (Abreu) for so many years, he’s a tough out at the plate. He plays good defense. He’s a former MVP. I look forward to playing with him.

“Every time you add a new player whether it’s free agency or a trade in the middle of the year, you want to make him feel welcome and that he’s a part of the team.”

Like just about every player at spring training, Bregman was asked about the new rules, particularly the banning of the shift. He’ll have to stay on his side of the field with shortstop Jeremy Pena.

“I think we’re well-equipped,” he said about dealing with the shift. “Pena has incredible range. If I can’t get to it, hopefully, he can.”

As far as hitting without a shift, he said, “I don’t know. We’ll see what happens. I hope it’s good.”

Bregman is 28, and when asked about his career, he turned philosophical.

“I hope to play this game another 10, 12, or 13 years,” he said. “My goal is to play for as long as I possibly can. I love my teammates and the team aspect. I don’t have a number (but) I want to play as long as I can play at the highest level.”

(John McClain writes four columns a week for He can be heard Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday on Sports Radio 610 and Thursday on Texans Radio. He does three weekly Houtopia podcasts for 610. He also can be read three times a week on

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1 Comment

  • With this group of guys I feel that we have a great chance to see a repeat .the players are ready now it’s time for us fans to get ready .Let’s go astros

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