Day 18: Astros pitchers take a beating

With the wind blowing out at Osceola County Stadium and pitchers struggling to find their spots, the Astros were pounded 16-4 by the Florida Marlins on Wednesday. There’s not much to say about this one, other than nobody got hurt.

Here’s the breakdown:

The good: Right-hander Henry Villar, who struck out 109 batters in 90 innings at Class A Lexington last year, pitched his second scoreless inning of the spring and struck out one batter. He was the only pitcher not to give up any runs on a difficult day on the mound.

Kaz Matsui, Oswaldo Navarro, Lance Berkman, Pedro Feliz, Edwin Maysonet, Drew Locke and Chris Johnson had the only hits for the Astros. Locked, called up from Minor League camp, doubled as a pinch-hitter, and Johnson socked his second homer of the spring to tie Hunter Pence for the team lead.

The bad: It was an ugly day for the pitchers.

Wandy Rodriguez made his second start of the spring and gave up six hits, six runs (four earned) and struck out one batter in three innings. He allowed back-to-back home runs in the first to Mike Stanton and Dan Uggla. He seemed to struggle with his control, but he has about four starts left to iron things out.

Felipe Paulino followed and was supposed to pitch three innings, but he threw nearly 40 pitches in the fourth and didn’t come back out.

Paulino, vying for a rotation spot, allowed three hits, two runs and two walks in his one inning. He struck out Ronny Paulino looking on a nasty breaking ball to strand the bases loaded in the fourth. Gary Majewski was roughed up for three hits and four runs in one inning, and Wesley Wright allowed three runs and three hits in one inning.

What they said: “The thing was they didn’t miss too many balls. Is it a cause for concern? You never like it. You just don’t like it, but Wandy is a guy that might not have been hitting his spots and they didn’t miss them. The ball was coming out of his hands fine and he looks good and feels good. It’s not a cause for concern. The guys stayed aggressive with the bats. The conditions aren’t the best, but they [the Marlins] didn’t miss too many balls offensively.” - manager Brad Mills.

What’s next: The Astros hit the road again, making the short trip to Viera, Fla., to face the Washington Nationals at 12:05 CT on Thursday. Roy Oswalt will make his second start of the spring and is expected to go three innings. Also on the roster to pitch are Matt Lindstrom, Tim Byrdak, Jeff Fulchino, Polin Trinidad, Shane Loux, Chia-Jen Lo and Yorman Bazardo.

John Lannan will start for the Nats.

Astro-notes: Right-hander Brandon Lyon will face live hitters Friday for the first time this spring after throwing 30 pitches in a side session Wednesday. He hasn’t faced a hitter this spring after having a cyst drained in his right shoulder in January. “He threw outstanding today,” Mills said. “He picked it up a notch. It was a very positive day, and he’s happy about that, we’re happy about that.” …  Catcher Jason Castro was sent home from Wednesday’s workout with a case of the stomach flu. He’s scheduled to start behind the plate Thursday. … Right-hander Alberto Arias, who strained a muscle in his upper back/shoulder/neck area, will not throw until he’s examined Friday by team doctors in Kissimmee.

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