White pleased with first spring with Astros
Astros pitcher Alex White didn’t have the kind of spring that made anyone’s eyes pop out, and his results — a 6.87 ERA in 19 2/3 innings — weren’t great, but overall White is satisfied with being able to get his pitch count up and put himself in position to win a rotation spot.
He says he’s where he wants to be with all five pitches, though his change-up was a little iffy in his five-inning out Monday against Washington.
“Spring, for me, has always been tough, just trying to get ready for the season, especially this year competing for a job,” White said. “It’s been a good spring for me. I feel really good coming out of it and I’m just excited about the season.”
White threw a spring-high 84 pitches against the Nats.
“I wanted to get my pitch count up, obviously, and treat it like a real start,” White said. “I had good stuff and a real good sinker, real good split tonight. I got a lot of ground balls and gave up a few hits and a few runs.”
White will make the Astros’ Opening Day roster, but it remains to be seen whether he’s in the bullpen or the rotation. White and Brad Peacock are battling for the fourth spot in the rotation, and whoever doesn’t win it will begin the year as a long man in the bullpen.
“Me and Brad have gotten pretty close and we talk about it a lot,” White said. “We just want to help this team win and both of us will do either job pretty well, I think, and we’re comfortable in both spots and we’re excited about the opportunities.”
Peacock will get his turn on Tuesday night against the Yankees in a game that will be televised by MLB Network at 6:05 p.m. CT.
“I think we’ll sit down as a staff and talk about both guys and figure out what’s the best thing to do after Peacock starts tomorrow night,” Astros manager Bo Porter said. “They’ve both have done a tremendous job and that’s why they were both informed today that they both had made the ballclub. I don’t think we can make a wrong decisions because they both have done a tremendous job.”
When asked about White’s so-so spring numbers, Porter said: “I’m extremely pleased. You look at the fact his groundball ratio is where we expected it to be, he’s pounding the strike zone, he’s getting himself built up to the point that even when he’s gotten into jams, he’s been able to make quality pitches to get out of the jams. We’re pleased with Alex and we expected him to have a big year.”