The Houston Chronicle’s Jose De Jesus Ortiz is reporting the Astros have signed OF Preston Wilson to a one-year contract.

Though the addition of Wilson gives Houston some badly needed power in the middle of their punchless lineup (and with his strikeout prowess, the most powerful wind generator seen since the one used in Kingdom Come’s “Do You Like It” video), I’m wondering if he’s meant to play center or right field. Willie Tavares isn’t a Gold Glove candidate in center, but he’s hardly inconsequential in the Astros’ plans (particularly if those plans include sending him to Chicago for Jose Contreras).

I heard on the radio today that Willie Harris was close to signing with the Rockies, but the same voice was telling me to kill Hugh Downs a few minutes later, so perhaps you’ll want to investigate for yourself.

The Oakland Tribune’s Paul T. Rosynsky has some gloomy, if not unexpected news to impart concerning the A’s hopes for a new stadium.

The Oakland A’s ambitious plan to redevelop a swath of industrial Oakland into a residential ballpark village appears to remain just that: a plan.

In recent weeks, team representatives and officials in Oakland and Alameda County have spoken more about the plan’s difficulties than ways to make it work.

And with team owner Lewis Wolff making April the deadline for having a plan and location in place, it is beginning to look like the ballpark village will not happen.

“Discussions on that site have not gotten very far,” A’s spokesman Jim Young said last week. “Right now, we are asking what Plan B is.”

The lack of movement on the site, which the A’s chose last year as its ideal location for a new park in Oakland, appears to have frustrated the team.

Wolff asked city officials four months ago for help in acquiring the more than 100 properties between 66th Avenue and High Street in East Oakland.

He promised to pay for construction of a 35,000-seat park but said he needs room to build housing and retail stores to generate the $300 million to $400 million in expected construction costs.

The plan calls for a stadium near the corner of San Leandro Street and 66th Avenue, with retail stores and a plaza stretching from the ballpark to Interstate 880. It includes housing units in high-rises and midrises stretching from the edge of the ballpark to High Street.

But standing in the way are the 100 or so property owners with businesses in the area. Their land is appraised at more than $100 million, though it is likely higher on the real estate market.

They did not appear willing to move, and the city and the A’s do not appear willing to use eminent domain to take the land.

“It is not that simple,” saidCity Council President Ignacio De Fuente (Glenview-Fruitvale). “Any site they are looking at requires an assembly of land. When you have land that you don’t own … it is not that easy.”

Neither side has publicly said the 66th Avenue to High Street site is out of the running for a new ballpark, but some have said Wolff appears to have written it off.