Astros relievers show their stuff

Eight relief pitchers took the mound for one-inning stints for hthe Astros on Thursday night during an intrasquad game at Osceola County Stadium. The Astros open Grapefruit League play at 5:05 p.m. CT on Friday against the Braves in nearby Lake Buena Vista, Fla., with Lucas Harrell scheduled to start and throw 45 pitches or two innings.

Bobby Doran, Josh Zeid, Jason Stoffel and Rhiner Cruz pitched for Team Everett, and Chad Qualls, Anthony Bass, Kevin Chapman and Luis Cruz threw for Team Ensberg. The goal for the pitchers in each inning was to try to protect a 2-1 lead.

The only run scored when Carlos Correa hit a grounder up the middle that scored Delino DeShields Jr., who flashed his wheels.

“It was pretty good,” manager Bo Porter said. “I felt like the pitchers did a tremendous job, even a couple of guys who got in trouble, you talk about being able to induce ground balls. I felt like the double plays were huge. When they did get in trouble they were able to induce the ground balls and get the double plays.”

The situational intrasquad game was yet another example of how the Astros have tried to better the focus this spring.

“They continue to do a great job,” Porter said. “Putting these guys in these situations has increased intensity of camp, and I think it’s going to bode well as we move into forward that now they’re ready to play baseball games because of the way we’ve run camp in these first 11 days,” Porter said.

Here are some links:

Astros expect Amador in camp Friday

Meyer embraces the nickname “Yeti”

Tropeano enjoying first big league camp

Correa learning from vet Izturis

Here’s the lineup for Friday’s Grapefruit League opener:

CF Dexter Fowler

2B Jose Altuve

RF Marc Krauss

DH Chris Carter

1B Brett Wallace

3B Matt Dominguez

C Carlos Corporan

LF Robbie Grossman

SS Jonathan Villar

Here are the photos of the day:

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Brett Wallace gets acrobatic

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Jarred Cosart and Matt Albers

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Pitching coach Brent Strom gets hands on with Jorge De Leon

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Tony De Francesco and Domingo Santana

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First base coach Tarrick Brock explains base running

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Catching instructor Jeff Murphy throws BP

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Max Stassi

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Jason Castro and Dexter Fowler interact

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Jose Altuve places a hex on Jonathan Villar

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