Game 9: Washed out in Kissimmee

Rain washed out the Astros and Tigers on Sunday afternoon in Kissimmee. Astros manager Brad Mills decided about 45 minutes prior to Sunday’s game being cancelled that left-hander Wandy Rodriguez wasn’t going to start the game.

Rodriguez instead threw a simulated game indoors, throwing 60 pitches in four simulated innings. The Astros know what Rodriguez is capable of doing and wanted to keep the rotation on the same schedule of days instead of pushing Rodriguez back a day.

“I tried to throw the same as in a game and I located my pitches,” said Rodriguez, who will start Friday against the Braves in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Kyle Weiland never got a chance to face the Yankees when he made seven appearances for the Red Sox last season, but he’ll get that opportunity Monday when he makes his first Grapefruit League start for the Astros.

Weiland, acquired by the Astros on Dec. 14 along with Jed Lowrie in exchange for Mark Melancon, is among a handful of players in the mix for a slot in the rotation. The chance to pitch under the lights against the Yankees in Tampa will be a good test.

“I’m excited about it,” he said. “It’s the first start of the year for me, and I’m looking forward to it. It will be a good opportunity for me to get down there and see where I’m at as far as command and how my pitches are doing going up against good hitters. I think I’m ready for it and my arm is feeling good.”

Here are some other notes from Sunday;

  • Catcher Humberto Quintero (bulging disk) caught in the bullpen Sunday for the second day in a row. Quintero caught Livan Hernandezs side session Saturday and felt some stiffness in his back, though it got better the longer he was out there. He caught Sergio Escalona on Sunday and will swing off a tee Monday.
  • Chris Snyder was scheduled to be in the lineup Sunday to catch consecutive games for the first time this spring. Jason Castro will be behind the plate on Monday. Mills said the way the catching rotation was set up, Snyder was making most of the road trips and facing all the right-handed pitchers and Castro was staying in Kissimmee and facing all the left-handed pitchers. “That’s not quite how we wanted to work things out and we had to mix it up,” Mills said. “I don’t have any problem with Castro facing lefties, but we want to mix it up.”
  • Left-hander Sergio Escalona (elbow) threw his first bullpen session Sunday since being shut down for a few days and came through it fine. Escalona threw at about 90 percent effort and reported no problems with the elbow inflammation that’s kept him out of spring action.
  • Infielder Angel Sanchez (back) was scheduled to see his first action of the spring Sunday before the game was rained out. He was also scheduled to be in the starting lineup at second base Monday against the Yankees in Tampa, but that was before Sunday’s game was called off.

Note: I’m heading to Houston for a few days, so Tag’s Lines will be dormant until I get back to work on Saturday. Y’all stay cool while I’m gone.

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