Pitchers get the best of the hitters

It only took Brett Myers two pitches to saw off the bat of infielder Jimmy Paredes.

“That’s it, I’m good,” Myers yelled.

The first day of live batting practice is always an interesting one for the hitters, who are generally a few days behind the pitchers. The Astros’ batters faced live pitching for the first time Monday, which marked the third time the pitchers threw off the mound.

“Today’s always an interesting day, simply because you don’t know how many pitchers have faced any hitters this winter or recently,” manager Brad Mills said. “It’s the first time the hitters are getting to see any type of live pitching. You get to see who works quick on the mound and who doesn’t and those types of things. There’s a lot of things that need to get brushed up on a day like this because we have so many new guys.”

Catcher Jason Castro was no worse for the wear after seeing five pitches from Fernando Rodriguez.

“I felt pretty comfortable in the box actually, and I actually had some good results, but that doesn’t mean anything right now,” he said. “It’s about getting reps, and it’s good to see early on it felt pretty good.”

The Astros’ first three groups of pitchers threw to hitters, including Brett Myers, J.A. Happ and Wandy Rodriguez.

“I was very happy with how it went, the rotations and the timing of it,” Mills said. “The first day we try to get everything down and I thought it went really well.”

Mills didn’t see all the pitchers throw, but he said he liked what he saw from Jordan Lyles, Sergio Escalona, Arecenio Leon, Myers and Happ.

“There were a lot of guys I didn’t have an opportunity to see, but it was nice to see them facing some hitters and throwing the ball well,” Mills said.

Astros general manager Ed Wade has been pleased with camp after the first six days of camp.

“I think the camp has been great with the level of enthusiasm and athleticism,” he said. “The whole tenor has been very, very positive. I think part of it flows from the staff and the attention to detail with regard to the schedule, and Millsie preaching energy to the stuff during the 8 o’clock meeting before they go on the field and interact with the players.

“It hasn’t been a case of any particular player standing out, it’s a case of the guys collectively looking like they understand why they’re here and they’re having fun in the process.”

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Above: Astros GM Ed Wade listens as manager Brad Mills addresses a group of players.

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Above: Astros aces Brett Myers, J.A. Happ and Wandy Rodriguez warm up for live BP.

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Above: Brett Myers pitches batting practice to Jimmy Paredes.

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Above: Hunter Pence prepares to hit against teammate Brandon Lyon.

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Above: Players get conditioning work in after their morning drills.

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Above: Oklahoma City pitching coach Burt Hooton and special assistant Doug Brocail talk.

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