Results tagged ‘ Alex White ’
Astros pitchers and catchers reported for Spring Training on Saturday. Here are some notes, as well as some photos:
White progressing steadily
Right-hander Alex White continues to progress steadily from the Tommy John surgery he underwent nearly a year ago. White threw batting practice Friday, tossing 23 pitches, including some changeups to a few hitters.
“We’re coming along pretty good,” he said. “My off-speed stuff is really good, and I’m waiting on the fastball to come along. I think it will come. We’re really just at 10 months right now. A couple of more months we should be there.”
Off-season work beneficial to Castro
Considering he had more time to work out this off-season, All-Star catcher Jason Castro is coming to camp with his surgically repaired right knee feeling stronger than it was even a year ago.
“I put in a lot of work this off-season and I feel like I put myself in a good spot coming back, even better than I was last year,” he said.
That’s a tremendous sign for Castro, who a year ago at this time said his knee was feeling 100 percent.
“I was able to work out for a longer period this off-season than I ever had,” said Castro, who earned a degree from Stanford in the off-season. “I was back in school pretty much right after the season ended, and I was recovering and doing some rehab stuff. I started my off-season.”
Appel recovering from appendectomy
Astros pitcher Mark Appel is still a little sore, but otherwise on the road to recovery after having to undergo an appendectomy Jan. 30 in Houston.
Appel, who lived with his parents in Houston in the off-season, woke up in the middle of the night and thought he had indigestion. The pain lingered, and he soon rustled his father in his sleep to tell him to take him to the hospital.
“Usually if I have food poisoning, I’ll just grab some Tums or something like that,” he said. “I did that after the first time I threw up, and I woke up again maybe an hour later and the same thing and the pain’s worse. I knew something was up, and I just said, ‘Hey dad, I think we need to go to the emergency room to be sure.’ Sure enough, I had appendicitis. It was pretty crazy.”
Wallace focusing on making roster
The fact that Brett Wallace is in camp this year as a non-roster invitee after being designed for assignment last week doesn’t change his mindset: he’s coming to camp to try to win the starting job at first base.
“It’s something I’ve never been through,” he said. “I had some friends and people you play with go through it. It’s definitely a new process but something that, honestly, I can’t control. In the same aspect, I’m coming in camp to win a job. I’m going to keep my head down and keep working and then whatever is happening with all that, I just try to put it to the side and keep preparing.”
Here are some photos:
The Astros play host to the Oakland A’s this weekend at Minute Maid Park for only the second time in history. The team are now in the same division, but both sides have a handful of players who are very familiar with the opposition. Brad Peacock is on the mound for the Astros, facing his former team in his first action since 2011. Astros starting pitchers have a 2.08 ERA in the team’s first three games.
The Astros made some news today:
- The team designated right-handed pitcher Edgar Gonzalez for assignment to clear a roster spot for newly-acquired left-handed pitcher Travis Blackley, general manager Jeff Luhnow announced today. Blackley, whom was acquired from the Oakland Athletics yesterday, will be with the Astros for tonight’s game and will wear No. 54. He was 6-4 with a 4.10 ERA in 28 games, including 15 starts, with San Francisco (4 games) and Oakland (24 games) last season. Gonzalez, who has been with the Astros since last season, did not appear in the first three games of the 2013 season. The Astros 40-man roster is now at 40.
- Luhnow also announced today that right-handed pitcher Alex White will undergo ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction surgery (Tommy John) on his right elbow next week. White left his last start on Friday (March 29) vs. the Cubs after experiencing discomfort in his right elbow.
Here are the lineups:
2B Jose Altuve
1B Brett Wallace
LF Chris Carter
DH Carlos Pena
CF Justin Maxwell
RF Rick Ankiel
C Jason Castro
3B Matt Dominguez
SS Marwin Gonzalez
RHP Brad Peacock
CF Coco Crisp
SS Jed Lowrie
RF Josh Reddick
LF Yoenis Cespedes
DH Seth Smith
C John Jason
3B Josh Donaldson
2B Eric Sogard
1B Nate Freiman
RHP Dan Straily
Now that he has all the information, Bo Porter must decide between Brad Peacock or Alex White for the fourth slot in the Astros rotation.
Peacock strengthened his case Tuesday night by allowing one run and two hits in five innings against the Yankees. Here’s how each has done this spring:
Peacock: 19 2/3 innings, 16 hits, 7 earned runs (3.20 ERA)
White: 19 2/3 innings, 33 hits, 15 earned runs (6.86 ERA)
The pitcher that doesn’t make the rotation will pitch out of the bullpen.
“I went in there and wanted to throw strikes and keep the ball down and let the defense do the work, and they played great behind me today,” said Peacock, who threw 71 pitches. “That’s what I wanted to do.”
Porter was in no hurry to anoint a fourth starter on Tuesday.
“The good news is we have until Saturday to make a decision because that fourth starter doesn’t go until [April 5 against Oakland],” he said. “It’s something that we’ll sit down and talk about and make a decision.”
The rest of the rotation is set with Bud Norris, Lucas Harrell, Philip Humber and Erik Bedard, who’s been appointed the fifth starter.
Peacock had good fastball command at Steinbrenner Field and wished for better secondary stuff, though Porter was happy he threw a pair of sliders to left-handers. For Peacock, who had a rough 2012 at Triple-A Sacramento, it’s about confidence.
“In the dugout, I visualize what’s going to happen, what hitters are coming up,” he said. “I just want to throw that pitch, what I see in my head. That’s what I do.”
Peacock and White have developed a close relationship over the past few weeks and are cut from the same cloth – soft-spoken southern who just want to help the Astros win.
“I don’t care where I’m at,” Peacock said. “I real excited I made the team, and hopefully I can take advantage of the opportunity.”
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.”
Alex White perhaps moved a step closer to clinching a spot in the Astros’ rotation with the roster moves Wednesday that saw Jordan Lyles and John Ely – both of whom were vying for the starting rotation – being optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
White stated his latest case Wednesday against the Mets, allowing seven hits and three runs in 4 1/3 innings against the Mets. White says he feels good about where he’s at, but knows he still has to pitch and get outs.
“We have a week and a half left and still some competition left,” White said.
White has been working on a sinker this spring and didn’t throw it much Wednesday, though he did get a couple of key outs with it.
“The breaking ball was so-so today, not real good, kind of pulling it a little bit,” he said. “Other than that, everything was good.”
Last year, White was trying to make the Rockies rotation in spring before being moved to the bullpen the final two weeks of camp. He was optioned to Minor League camp on the final day of spring and had to get built back up to be a starter in Triple-A.
White, acquired in December from the Rockies, went 2-9 with a 5.51 ERA in 23 games (20 starts) with the Rockies, but he pitched well in the second half. He was 0-1 with a 4.03 ERA in his final seven starts of the season.
“I didn’t get quite as many innings last year,” said White, who’s thrown 14 2/3 innings this spring. “Spring, for me, is about getting my arm ready. It takes me a whole spring to get ready for the season. This year is a little different because I know I’m competing for a spot, and I came in a lot fresher. I feel good, I feel ready for the season.”
White threw 68 pitches against the Mets and said he hopes to be at 90-95 by next week.
What happened: The Mets scored three times in the third inning and four times in the fourth inning and held off a late charge to beat the Astros, 9-6, on Saturday afternoon at Tradition Field in Port St. Lucie, Fla. (boxscore)
What we learned: Veteran RHP Edgar Gonzalez is a candidate to make the club in long relief. Gonzalez, who went 3-1 with a 5.04 ERA in six starts with the Astros at the end of last season, threw the final three innings and allowed one hit and one run while striking out two batters. With all the extra arms in competition for the rotation, Gonzalez’s future might lie in the bullpen. And he has extensive Major League experience in relief.
“He came in and threw three solid innings, attacked the strike zone and changed speeds and worked fast,” Astros manager Bo Porter said. “He was in the big leagues last year. He can start games, he can be in long relief. He’s a strike-thrower and changes speed and keeps the defense on their toes and ready to go. He did a tremendous job today.”
What else: 1B Carlos Pena cranked a two-run homer in the fourth inning. … 1B Nate Freiman had a two-run single to the opposite field. … RHP Chia-Jen Lo had another scoreless outing, striking out two batters in one inning. … Delino DeShields Jr., who came into the game in the sixth inning, had a pair of hits. … Porter was happy with the team’s fundamental play in the outfield, and they had plenty of chances considering the Mets bashed 12 hits, including five doubles. LF Marc Krauss and SS Jose Martinez had a terrific relay combination late in the game that nearly resulted in an out at the plate.
“We were pleased with the outfielders,” Porter said. “The relays were great, and this time of year you just want to make sure fundamentally you’re doing things right, you’re getting aligned right. Our guys are doing a good job with that.”
What went wrong: The Astros fell behind early for the second game in a row and couldn’t recover, despite swinging the bats pretty well. After starter RHP Alex White gave up five hits and four runs in 2 2/3 innings, LHP Kevin Chapman allowed three hits and three runs in one inning, and LHP Rudy Owens allowed a run and three hits in one-third of an inning. … LF Fernando Martinez‘s errant throw from left field in the fourth inning allowed a run to score.
What they said: “[The numbers] are always important, especially when I’m trying to make the club. Right now I”m trying to get my work in and get better at some things I need to get better at and I felt like I did that today. Just keep pitching.” — Astros starting pitcher Alex White.
What’s next: RHP Brad Peacock, acquired in last month’s trade that sent Jed Lowrie to Oakland, will get the start in place of RHP Lucas Harrell, who’s nursing a slight groin strain when the Astros face the Phillies at 12:05 p.m. CT on Sunday. Peacock has pitched three innings in three different stints this spring, allowing six hits and five earned runs as he battles for a spot in the rotation.
Who’s injured: RHP Lucas Harrell (right groin strain) will miss his start Sunday and is day-to-day. … LHP Erik Bedard (right glute strain) threw in the bullpen on Saturday and should be close to game action. … IF Jake Elmore (left oblique strain) is day-to-day.
Links of the day: Astros notebook takes a closer look at Marc Krauss, has Jeff Luhnow talking about the scouting trail and more on Jake Goebbert’s life on the farm.
The day in photos:
If Alex White‘s goal was to come out and throw strikes, he certainly accomplished that Saturday afternoon against the Mets at Tradition Field. White, vying for one of the final spot in the Astros’ rotation, worked 2 2/3 innings and allowed five hits and four runs in his second start and third appearance of he spring. He threw 41 of his 55 pitches for strikes.
“I threw a lot of strikes and made some really good pitches and gave up some hits that were not hit real well. It’s going to happen,” White said. “I threw a lot of strikes and that’s a big key for me. I walked one guy and he ended up scoring. Those are things I can’t do. I feel good about the outing. Obviously, the numbers aren’t what I wanted them to be, but it’s a little early and we keep working.”
White issued a two-out walk in the first to Ike Davis, and he stole second and scored on a single by Lucas Duda right into the teeth of an Astros shift on the right side of the infield. White retired the next five batters in a row before giving up four hits and three runs in the third, including back-to-back RBI doubles by Duda and John Buck.
With three weeks to go in spring, White would like better results, but he’s happy his slider is improving.
“I think you’ll see more breaking balls the better it gets,” he said. “Last year and especially the year before that,I didn’t have a really good breaking ball, but now that it’s becoming a pretty good pitch, you’re going to see more of it.”
Here’s a look at the significant deals made by Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow since he took over 14 months ago (you can click on each player’s name for his 2012 stats):
Date: Dec. 14, 2011.
Red Sox receive: RHP Mark Melancon.
The skinny: Luhnow’s first trade as GM was a good one. Weiland showed promise last spring before a serious arm infection ended his season, but Lowrie proved to be one of the team’s top offensive weapons when healthy. Luhnow wound up dealing Lowrie to the A’s for three players earlier this week, giving this trade even a more significant return. Melancon was a bust in Boston and has landed in Pittsburgh.
Date: March 21, 2012.
The skinny: Quintero and Bourgeois were back-ups who couldn’t crack the starting lineup of a last-place team, and Luhnow managed to trade them for two Minor Leaguers. Chapman had a good year in relief at Double-A Corpus Christi last season and could be a left-handed option in the pen down the road. Toney played at Greeneville and remains a work in progress.
Date: July 4, 2012.
The skinny: The first of five major trades in July, the Marlins were desperate for first base help and gave the Astros two Minor League players for the aging slugger. The Astros were happy to get him off their roster, and were even willing to pay the bulk of his remaining contract. Dominguez was brought up to the Majors and was impressive, hitting .284 with five homers and 16 RBIs in 109 at-bats. Everyone knew he could play defense, but he showed enough offensively that he’ll enter spring as the starting third baseman. Rasmussen was shipped to the Dodgers for RHP John Ely a few months later.
Date: July 20, 2012.
The skinny: The Astros acquired seven players, including four Minor Leaguers and a player to be named later, in a 10-player deal with the Jays. Happ had been with the team two years and could never gain consistency, while Lyon was in the final year of his three-year deal. This trade was more about the Minor League arms the Astros received, while addressing a catching shortage in the system, more than it was about the two big league players they received. Neither Cordero nor Francisco made it to the end of the season in Houston. Musgrove, Comer and Perez are among the Astros’ top 20 prospects.
Date: July 21, 2012.
The skinny: With Myers having a good shot at vesting his 2013 option that would have paid him $10 million, the Astros sent him to the White Sox and stockpiled a few more Minor League arms. Myers was having a solid season as closer after starting 66 games the previous two years in Houston. Heidenreich finished the year in the rotation at Double-A Corpus Christi and pitched well, while Walters took his lumps as a starter in the hitter-friendly environment in Lancaster.
Date: July 25, 2012.
The skinny: The rebuilding effort continued as the Astros sent Rodriguez – the last remaining member from the 2005 World Series team – to the Pirates for three more prospects. The Astros had to pay a substantial part of Rodriguez’s remaining contract, but they felt getting more prospect was worth the price. Owens will come to Major League camp and will likely start the year in the rotation at Triple-A Oklahoma City. Grossman will also be at big league camp after getting on-base at a .422 clip in 36 games last year in Double-A Corpus Christi.
Date: July 29, 2012.
D-backs receive: 3B Chris Johnson.
The skinny: The Astros pulled off their fifth trade of the month. Houston wasn’t actively shopping Johnson, but he had recently gone on a tear and some teams were getting aggressive in their pursuit of the 27-year-old third baseman. Unlike the previous trades in July in which the Astros stockpiled the pitching, the Johnson trade brought a pair of bats, and in the case of Borchering, maybe some much-needed power to the system. Borchering hit four homers in 30 games at Double-A Corpus Christi, giving him 24 homers and 86 RBIs for the season as a whole. Krauss killed it in Corpus Christi, hitting .414 with a .514 on-base percentage and a 1.000 slugging percentage with five homers and 16 RBIs in only seven games. He finished the year in the outfield at Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Date: Dec. 5, 2012.
Rockies receive: RHP Wilton Lopez and player to be named later or cash..
The skinny: Less than a week after the Astros tried to send Lopez to the Phillies, they were able to use the arbitration-eligible relief pitcher to acquire White and right-hander Gillingham. White appeared in 23 games (20 starts) for the Rockies last season and was 2-9 with a 5.51 ERA. He split the season between Colorado and Triple-A Colorado Springs, where he went 3-4 with a 3.71 ERA. He will battle for a spot in the rotation this spring, but could pitch out of the bullpen.
Date: Dec. 19, 2012
Astros receive: RHP John Ely.
Dodgers receive: LHP Rob Rasmussen.
The skinny: The Astros gave up a 23-year-old left-hander they had acquired only months earlier for a 26-year-old right-hander in Ely, who gives them Major League experience. Ely, who is 4-13 with a 5.70 ERA over three seasons with the Dodgers, is expected to compete for a spot in Houston’s rotation, though he could begin the season in Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Date: Feb. 4, 2013.
The skinny: The Astros shipped Lowrie, who was set to make $2.4 million this year, to the A’s along with Rodriguez and go three young players. The trade was text book for a rebuilding club — trade an established player with a rising salary for youth. Peacock will compete for a rotation spot, and Carter is expected to be a fixture in the lineup. He’s a right-handed hitter with plenty of power. Stassi becomes one of the Astros top catching prospects in a position where there was a definite need in the Minor Leagues.
In the past few days, the Astros have added to their pitching depth by signing Philip Humber and trading for Alex White, both of whom are expected to compete for a rotation spot. What we know for sure is the top three spots in the rotation are set with Bud Norris, Lucas Harrell and Jordan Lyles, barring a trade.
The Astros are getting interest in Norris, who’s eligible for arbitration for the first time. They’ve created enough depth where they could trade Norris and have options in the rotation.
Here’s a look at the candidates for the final two spots in the rotation:
RHP Alex White: White appeared in 23 games (20 starts) for the Rockies last season and was 2-9 with a 5.51 ERA. He split the season between Colorado and Triple-A Colorado Springs, where he went 3-4 with a 3.71 ERA. White is 24, and GM Jeff Luhnow says he has top-of-the-rotation stuff. He’s going to be given every opportunity to win the spot.
RHP Philip Humber: Humber, 29, went 5-5 with a 6.44 ERA in 26 games (16 starts) for the White Sox. In 16 overall appearances as a starter, Humber finished 5-5 with a 6.14 ERA over 88 innings and has gone winless over his last 15 starts at U.S. Cellular Field dating back to 2011. He had an 8.36 ERA over 14 innings covering 10 relief appearances. Perhaps a return to his home state and a fresh start will get him on track.
LHP Dallas Keuchel: The lefty had an up-and-down season in his rookie debut last season, which included a complete game win in his second start. He wound up going 3-8 with a 5.27 ERA in 16 starts and showed enough to get another look in the spring. The competition has gotten tougher, so Keuchel will have to pitch well to win a spot.
RHP Jarred Cosart: Luhnow floated the idea Tuesday of perhaps moving Cosart to closer. He’s working on refining a third pitch, which is essential for a starting pitcher, but his powerful fastball could make him successful in the latter innings. I still think Cosart will be given a shot to start, but he’s said he’s willing to do whatever it takes to make the club.
LHP Brett Oberholtzer: Oberholtzer, 23, split his 2012 season between Corpus Christi and Oklahoma City, combining to post a 10-10 record with a 4.37 ERA in 28 starts. He began his 2012 season with Corpus Christi and earned Texas League All-Star honors before his promotion to Oklahoma City, where he went 3-5 with a 3.31 ERA in 10 starts. He was added to the 40-man roster last month, but he’s a long shot to make the club.
RHP Jose Cisnero: Cisnero, 23, was among the organization’s leaders in victories in 2012, posting a 13-7 record in 28 combined starts at Corpus Christi and Oklahoma City with a 3.70 ERA. Cisnero, who was twice named Texas League Player of the Week, had one of the top strikeouts-per-innings ratios among starting pitchers with 148 strikeouts in 148 1/3 innings of work. Expect him to open of the season as one of the top starters in Oklahoma City.