Day 9: Pitchers nearing game shape
The Astros are inching closer towards games, and manager A.J. Hinch believes his pitchers are just about ready to get in game action. Two groups of pitchers threw live batting practice Sunday, with the other two groups set to do the same Monday. They will throw again Tuesday and Wednesday before hitting the field to face the Phillies on Thursday.
“Today was a good day of work,” Hinch said. “I was pleasantly surprised that we were able to get so much activity on the field. Coming to the stadium, I was a little bit nervous about how wet [the fields] were going to be, but the grounds crew here did a great job of getting the field ready. We did everything we wanted to do. We had to do pickoffs and rundowns at a little bit of slower pace just out of safety for the fields because they were soft, but getting all of our work in was great.”
Indeed, the Astros had coaches “run” the bases for pickoff and rundown drills.
“You put players out there and they get going a little bit, so we wanted to control the pace so there was slipping, no hamstrings, no groins, no issues,” Hinch said. “We’ll run it at a little bit faster tempo probably Wednesday.”
Left-handed reliever Luis Cruz played catch Sunday, but didn’t throw in the bullpen because of a bruised hand. He said he could throw in the bullpen Monday and expects to be ready for games.
“We’ll keep evaluating him,” Hinch said.
Among the pitchers who stood out to Hinch on Sunday was veteran Scott Feldman.
“His work is never a doubt,” he said. “He was very methodical, he has a routine, he knows what he’s trying to do. I can see him trying to execute pitchers with a little more precision this time around. He’s a pro’s pro. That’s what he is and that’s how he works out.”
Hinch also what he liked he saw from Mark Appel, Josh Fields and Dallas Keuchel.
“Keuchel, it’s all business when it’s his day to throw,” Hinch said. “His command is noticeable.”
Quote of the day
“I always thought the outfielders didn’t really do much in the spring, but they’re kicking my butt out there, which is really good for me,” — Evan Gattis on making the transition to outfielder.
“Injury report: RHP Brad Peacock (hip surgery) remains on his own schedule as he works his arm back in shape. … LHP Luis Cruz (bruised finger) played catch Sunday and could throw a bullpen Monday. … RHP Vincent Velasquez (strained right lat) won’t throw for at least two-to-three weeks.
The day in photos can be found on my new Instagram page: https://instagram.com/brianmctaggartmlb/
Tweet of the day: