Day 9: Pick-offs and rundowns rule the morning

Sunday was the final day Astros pitchers threw living batting practice as right-handers Roy Corcoran, Brian Moehler, Chris Sampson, Gary Majewski, Felipe Paulino, Sammy Gervacio, Alberto Arias, Josh Banks, Bud Norris, Casey Daigle, Matt Nevarez, Chia-Jen Lo and Jose Valdez and left-hander Gustavo Chacin got their work in.

The pitchers will throw lightly in the bullpen over the next three days before Wednesday’s intra-squad game. The Astros open Grapefruit League play Thursday against the Atlanta Braves with right-hander Brett Myers getting the start.

Astros manager Brad Mills came away impressed Sunday with how Bud Norris and Felipe Paulino threw the ball.

Prior to live batting practice, the Astros worked on pick-offs and rundowns with 2010 first-round Draft pick Jiovanni Mier and prospect Jay Austin among those who came over from Minor League mini camp to serve as one of the runners.

“The thing that stood out today is the intensity which we did our pick-offs and rundowns with,” Mills said. “If you don’t have the intensity it’s tough to get anything out of it, and they did a real good job. I was happy that the kids from our mini camp came over and were the base runners, and that helps out a little bit because we’ve got some guys that know how to run the bases a little bit so the guys have to have that intensity.”

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Here the pitching lineups for Wednesday’s seven-inning intrasquad game:

Home team: Brian Moehler, Matt Lindstrom, Shane Loux, Wilton Lopez, Henry Villar, Polin Trinidad, Chia-Jen Lo and Jose Valdez.

Visiting team: Bud Norris, Tim Byrdak, Jeff Fulchino, Yorman Bazardo, Josh Banks, Matt Nevarez, Evan Englebrook and Fernando Abad.

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