‘‘With young players come growing pains,’’ he said. ‘‘Some of these guys may be dealing with failure for the first time. I think one of the biggest challenges for us as a staff is to be able to give them the confidence that’s needed to go out and continue to fight even though there may be some adversity that comes their way because they’re playing at the highest level.’’
Luhnow was encouraged the Astros went 15-15 at the end of last season, beating some clubs still in the postseason hunt. He hopes players who made their big league debuts last year will use that experience to help make this year’s squad better.
‘‘The way we ended last season was a step in the right direction, and I'd like to pick up where we left off and begin the year surprising people, winning some series that we’re not supposed to win and being competitive,’’ he said. ‘‘I'd also like to see some players take a step forward.’’