Armstrong feeling healthy, not focused on deadline

A week away from the deadline for team’s to sign players selected in June’s First-Year Player Draft, Astros third-round pick Jack Armstrong – a 6-foot-7 pitcher from Vanderbilt – isn’t concerning himself with the approaching deadline.

“I’m not too anxious,” he said. “My dad [former Major League pitcher Jack Armstrong] has done a good job making sure I’m focused on what matters, and that’s playing baseball and pitching. Whatever happens, happens. I have two good options next year, either going back to school or signing with the Astros.”

Armstrong, who has one year of eligibility remaining at Vanderbilt, has been pitching in the Cape Cod League this summer to re-establish his value. He experienced some tightness in his elbow late last month and has been moved to the bullpen, but Armstrong said Monday he’s healthy and hoping to make a start in the Cape Code playoffs.

“I’m feeling really good,” he said. “I threw an inning a couple of days ago and it felt good. [The injury] was just a little too much too soon out of my college season and being a relief guy and then jumping into 70, 80 pitches right away. It’s nothing major.”

Astros assistant general manager/director of scouting Bobby Heck expects Armstrong to come to Houston for a physical as soon as his Yarmouth-Dennis team is eliminated, which could happen later this week. First-round pick George Springer, who’s also unsigned, passed a physical last week in Houston.

“We’ve gotten signs that [Armstrong] wants to start his professional career, and we plan to be aggressive with him,” Heck said. “Obviously, it’s a lifetime between now and Monday night. It’s something we think is going to go down to the end, not because we’re far apart in negotiations, just because we’re working with him still playing and the plan is to get him here in front of [team medical director] Dr. [David] Lintner at some point. The physical part is going to be imperative to the negotiating process.”

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