Lyles: ‘I’m going to try to be ready for April’

Astros pitcher Jordan Lyles was roughed up by the Jays on Tuesday afternoon in Dunedin, Fla., allowing 10 runs and six hits – two home runs – in 3 2/3 innings while throwing 65 pitches. It’s been rough going this spring for the 22-year-old, but he remains confident he’ll be where he needs to be when the season starts.

“My stat lines this spring haven’t been good in any way, but at the end of the day you can’t look at that,” he said. “Personally, I would like to be better, but I’m working on things and I’m going to try to be ready for April and not this month. I’m looking forward to the season. This is the best I felt in Spring Training and the numbers aren’t there for me right now. I’m not overly worried about that.”

Lyles, who has allowed 36 hits and 23 earned runs in 11 2/3 innings this spring, gave up a solo homer to Melky Cabrera in the first inning and a two-run homer to Jose Bautista in the fourth. He said he was working on spotting his slider in Tuesday’s outing.

“This is probably the first time I’ve not thrown any cutters,” he said. “I really worked on that today, just throwing sliders and I really like the direction we’re going with that so I can lay off the cutters more. I got some good swings out of guys in that aspect and I like where that’s headed.

“A couple guys made me pay on fastballs today. I’m not too worried about that. They were just balls over the plate and good players making good swings. The 2-0 fastball to Bautista, that’s just a good swing by a really good player.”

This was the first time this spring Lyles was paired with catcher Jason Castro, which is something the big right-hander liked.

“It was nice getting back out on the mound working with Jason again for the first time this spring,” he said. “It was fun to work with him again and going into the season hopefully we can get together a couple of more times and get in sync. But like I said, it was good to get back with him today.”

Castro said he’s not worried about Lyles.

“I thought he had good stuff today,” he said. “I was really impressed with his slider. That’s something I know he’s been working on for a while. He plays with the slider-cutter thing, and he went with the slider today and I really liked how that looked. His change-up’s gotten a lot better and his movement on his fastball is good when we wanted to. I was happy with the way he looked today, and hopefully he can stick with that and keep getting that feel. He’ll be ready when the season starts.”

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