Results tagged ‘ Brad Mills ’

Mills instrumental in Myers going to Cleveland

Former Astros pitcher Brett Myers passed his physical and officially became a member of the Cleveland Indians on Friday, reuniting him with former Astros manager Brad Mills. In fact, Myers told MLB.com on Friday that Mills was a big reason he was able to sign with the Indians.

Mills managed the Astros from the start of the 2010 season until Aug. 18 of last year when he was let go. He will be the Indians’ third-base coach this season, reuniting him with close friend Terry Francona. Mills was Francona’s bench coach for six years in Boston.

Myers said Mills called him about two weeks ago to gauge his interest in joining the starting rotation.

“He asked me where my head was and I told him I was ready,” Myers said. “I told him I was willing to start and he said they could use me here. The next thing you know they called my agent and it was like, ‘Hey, let’s work something out.’ Millsie was a big part of me getting over there.”

Myers also was recruited by Indians bullpen coach Kevin Cash, who caught him for half a season with the Astros in 2010.

“He called me about 2 ½ months ago and talked to me about it, and it all fell into place,” he said.

The idea of returning to the rotation after pitching in the bullpen for the Astros and the White Sox last year was appealing. He said his arm is in good shape.

“I came off hip surgery in ’09 [with Philadelphia] and only threw like 70 innings that year and then went out and threw 224 innings for Houston [in ’10],” Myers said. “Hopefully I can repeat that performance again. I have Cash here and he’s going to help me out with all the reports and stuff like that.”

Mills reacts to Astros decision to relieve him of duties

Astros manager Brad Mills, who was informed by general manager Jeff Luhnow following Saturday’s game against the D-backs that he had lost his job, told MLB.com he wasn’t completely surprised by the decision. The Astros are 39-82 and headed to their second consecutive 100-loss season.

Hitting coach Mike Barnett and first-base coach Bobby Meacham were also relieved of their duties.

“You know when you’re having a rough season and everybody always brings it up, nobody lets you forget it,” Mills said. “The only thing I really have to say is I feel horrendous for Mike Barnett and Bobby Meacham. They’re a couple of coaches that have done a great job, they know what they’re doing, they’ve worked hard and prepared the players and done everything they could. I just feel terrible for them and feel some responsibility there.

“I love the players, I love the effort they gave every day. They’ve been great to me and how they’ve gone about everything and I love our fans. The fans we have here in Houston are the best and they’ve been great to me as well and I appreciate them an awful lot and I wish the best for the players and the fans as we move forward.”

Mills was asked if he felt he had a fair chance to show what he can do as a manager considering all the veteran players the club traded the last three seasons — a list that includes Lance Berkman, Roy Oswalt, Carlos Lee, Michael Bourn, Hunter Pence, Brett Myers and Wandy Rodriguez.

“Every day we tried to get the players the best they possibly could, and that was the goal every time out,” he said. “We wanted to get them better, we wanted them to play well. Sometimes it just didn’t work out and if I’m going to sit here and point fingers, that’s not right. There’s some responsibility on my part as well.”

Mills thoughts were immediately about spending time with his family, including his son, Beau, who’s in the Reds system.

“We’re going to move forward with some things and see what happens,” he said. “The biggest thing is I’d like to go see my son play. For years, I’ve never really gotten an opportunity to watch him play and I want to see my daughter in law and see my granddaughter and watch him play a little bit and go from there.”

Watch Mills react to 3-2 win over Marlins

The Astros finally broke though against a tough pitcher Tuesday, scoring a pair of unearned runs in the sixth inning against Miami’s Anibal Sanchez to tie the game before Brian Bogusevic’s pinch-hit, RBI double in the eighth sent them to a 3-2 win, snapping the Marlins’ seven-game winning streak.

Here’s the post-game video of manager Brad Mills:

Mills video on Astros loss

Carlos Zambrano, who derailed the Astros’ late-season playoff push with a no-hitter four years ago while he was with the Cubs, showed his stuff against a new generation of Astros by throwing a three-hit shutout to send the Marlins to their seventh win in a row, 4-0, on Monday night. The Astros never managed a runner past first base as Zambrano threw a baffling array of split-fingers, sinkers, cutters and sliders to hand Houston its third shutout loss of the season. Zambrano improved to 17-8 lifetime against the Astros, including 10-4 at Minute Maid Park.

Here’s what manager Brad Mills had to say:

Astros set the 25-man roster

Here it is. The Astros have set their 25-man roster (players in italics are on an active Opening Day roster for the first time):

PITCHERS (13)

Fernando Abad (L)

David Carpenter

Rhiner Cruz

J.A. Happ (L)

Lucas Harrell

Wilton Lopez

Brandon Lyon

Brett Myers

Bud Norris

Fernando Rodriguez

Wandy Rodriguez (L)

Kyle Weiland

Wesley Wright (L)

CATCHERS (2)

Jason Castro

Chris Snyder

INFIELDERS (6)

Jose Altuve

Matt Downs

Marwin Gonzalez

Chris Johnson

Carlos Lee

Jed Lowrie

OUTFIELDERS (4)

Brian Bogusevic

Travis Buck

J.D. Martinez

Jordan Schafer

Astros pregame tidbits

Astros manager Brad Mills met with the media Friday afternoon in Kissimmee and covered a variety of topics:

  • LHP J.A. Happ threw eight innings and 98 pitches in a Triple-A/Double-A game against the Washington Nationals on Friday afternoon. Mills said Happ is in line to throw again in Wednesday’s day exhibition against the White Sox at Minute Maid Park. “He did a real good job,” Mills said.
  • Mills said he’s leaning towards Jason Castro starting Opening Day at catcher, Chris Snyder catching Saturday and Castro coming back for the April 8 day game against the Rockies. “They haven’t announced their rotation, so I’d be jumping ahead of myself if I announced that,” he said.
  • CF Jordan Schafer, who’s been out nearly two weeks with a sprained nerve in his hand, could get an at-bat Saturday against the Yankees. He was going to take batting practice on Friday prior to the game with the Braves. Mills is hopeful Schafer can get two or three at-bats on Sunday, two or three Monday in Corpus Christi and a few more against the White Sox next week in Houston.
  • We know that SS Jed Lowrie‘s MRI should no structural damage, and Mills is hopeful he’ll still be ready to go on Opening Day, which is only a week away. Lowrie played catch and was hoping to field some ground balls on Friday.
  • Mills said the battle for the final two rotation spots is down to four people following the release of Livan Hernandez: RHPs Jordan Lyles, Kyle Weiland, Henry Sosa and Lucas Harrell. Sosa and Harrell were said to be out of the mix 10 days ago, but Mills said on Friday they were back in the hunt. Harrell will start the exhibition game Monday against the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks.
  • Here are some updates on the pitching rotation: Lyles on Saturday, Wandy Rodriguez on Sunday, Harrell on Monday and Bud Norris on Tuesday against the White Sox on three days of rest. Mills has his pitching rotation set for the first weekend of the season, but has only announced Rodriguez as the Opening Day starter. “If we start looking this guy in this spot and that guy in this spot, everybody starts thinking about different things sand scenarios and I don’t think that’s fair to them right now,” Mills said.
  • Mills said he’ll take a few extra Minor League players back to Texas on Monday for the exhibition game. Mills didn’t yet want to divulge names, but said five or six positions players and three or four pitchers will travel with the Major League club back home.
  • Rule 5 pick up RHP Rhiner Cruz will throw two innings against the Braves on Friday night in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. This could be a big outing with him to see if he sticks with the club.

Astros split up to face Pirates, Braves

The Astros will play their first split-squad games of the spring today when they meet the Pirates in Kissimmee and send another team to play the Braves down the road in Disney. Both games are scheduled to start at 12:05 p.m. CT.

“You hate having split squads this late in camp, but at the same time to get these guys some extra at-bats is good,” Astros manager Brad Mills said. “Other than that, you’d probably prefer not to have them. We’re getting enough innings from our pitchers right now, but to get these guys enough at-bats is big.”

Mills will stay with the team in Kissimmee, sending bench coach Joe Pettini and pitching coach Doug Brocail to the game against the Braves.

“The biggest thing is I wanted to be around some of the guys that are here,” he said. “We kept [outfielder Brian Bogusevic] here and I want to see him. I want to see the middle infielders, Jed [Lowrie] and [Jose] Altuve, as well. That was the biggest determining factor for me. Plus, Broke wanted to see [Zach] Duke and we were going to be split up there and that meant I stayed here.”

Here are some morning notes:

  • Astros center fielder Jordan Schafer, who sprained his left hand making a diving catch in the outfield a week ago, is scheduled to return to the lineup Monday when the Astros face the Nationals in Viera, Fla. “He took some swings in the cage this morning and he feels a lot better,” Mills said.
  • Jack Cust, who has yet to play in the outfield in the Grapefruit League this spring because of a sore elbow, still isn’t ready to play defense. Cust will get a pinch-hit at-bat on Sunday against the Pirates and was scheduled to have another pinch-hit at-bat Monday against the Nationals.
  • Mills isn’t ready to commit to shortstop Jed Lowrie in the No. 2 spot in the batting order, but he’s certainly leaning that way. “He sees a lot of pitches, gets on base,” Mills said. “I like having a left-hander in that spot because if you’ve got a guy on, you’ve got a big hole there [on the right side of the infield]. He, especially, is able to utilize that hole.”
  • Jarred Cosart, the Astros’ top pitching prospect, will make an appearance on the mound in a Grapefruit League game for the first time this spring when he pitches against the Pirates in relief. He’s scheduled to throw four innings.
  • Catcher Jason Castro will start back-to-back games for the first time this spring when he starts against the Braves today. Catcher Chris Snyder, who starts today against the Pirates, will catch Monday against the Nationals in his first back-to-back outings.
  • Bud Norris threw 30-40 pitches during his Sunday bullpen session, throwing nothing but fastballs. Norris is trying to work though some minor tightness in his triceps and forearm.

Here is the lineup for the game in Kissimmee against the Pirates:

CF J.B. Shuck

SS Jed Lowrie

LF J.D. Martinez

1B Carlos Lee

RF Brian Bogusevic

C Chris Snyder

3B Brett Wallace

2B Jose Altuve

LHP J.A. Happ

Here is the lineup for the game at Disney against the Braves:

CF Brian Bixler

2B Scott Moore

RF Travis Buck

1B Matt Downs

3B Chris Johnson

C Jason Castro

LF Justin Ruggiano

SS Marwin Gonzalez

LHP Zach Duke

Game 19: Astros pitchers stifle Nationals

The Astros sent the Nationals to their ninth loss in their last 10 games by riding strong pitching to beat Washington, 5-1, on Friday afternoon at Osceola County Stadium. Here is the boxscore.

Of course, the big news of the day at Astros camp was the announcement that Jimmy Paredes was being sent to Minor League camp to work at second base, meaning Chris Johnson is the likely starter at third base. Here’s a video package of Astros manager Brad Mills and GM Jeff Luhnow talking about the decision.

Here is the breakdown of Friday’s game:

What went right: Pitching, pitching, pitching. The Astros held the Nationals to three hits and didn’t give up a hit until Jayson Werth singled with two outs in the seventh inning off Brett Myers. Starter Bud Norris walked one batter in three hitless innings and Lucas Harrell retired all nine batters he faced. Then there was another strong outing by Myers, who pitched a scoreless innings while working in back-to-back games for the second time this spring. Brandon Lyon also had a scoreless inning.

Astros manager Brad Mills said early Friday he wanted to see the Astros tighten things up with only two weeks left before the start of the regular season, and the team did just that. Houston bashed 12 hits and didn’t make an error. Brian Bixler, starting in the outfield, strengthened his case to make the team by going 2-for-4 with a homer against his former team while starting in the outfield. Chris Johnson also belted a homer.

Carlos Lee also had a pair of hits and an RBI. Jed Lowrie, Travis Buck, Justin Ruggiano, Jose Altuve, Jack Cust and Brett Wallace also had hits. For Cust, his pinch-hit single in the third inning was his first of the spring, snapping an 0-for-24 drought. Cust still isn’t seeing any time in the outfield because of cranky left elbow.

What went wrong: Bud Norris was held to three innings because he woke up Friday with tightness in his triceps, but manager Brad Mills has no concerns and says Norris will be able to make his next start.

Other than a homer allowed by Fernando Abad to Jason Michaels, there’s not much that went wrong for the Astros. The only starting position player to not get a hit was Brian Bogusevic, but he walked and stole a base and scored.

What’s next: The race for the fifth spot in the starting pitching rotation will take center stage when Kyle Weiland takes the mound to face the Pirates at 12:05 p.m. CT in Bradenton, Fla. Weiland has allowed four hits and two runs in seven innings in his last two spring starts.

What they said: “He really had a tough time getting his arm loose and had a little tightness in his triceps. So when he went out there, [pitching coach Doug Brocail] was saying, ‘Let’s see if we can get 45 pitches out of you anyway and get some work in and get through three innings.’ Sure enough he did, and he threw the ball really well.” — Astros manager Brad Mills on starting pitcher Bud Norris.

Injury update: CF Jordan Schafer, who sprained his left hand making a diving catch in the outfield on Sunday, said he’s still a few days away from being able to return to the lineup. Schafer took some swings off a tee Friday but had to shut it down when he tried to hit live pitching. … LHP Sergio Escalona has hit a roadblock in his recovery from a hyper extended left elbow suffered swinging a bat early in camp. The Astros said he was set to be examined by a doctor. … OF Jack Cust was originally scheduled to start in the outfield in Friday’s B game, but was moved to designated hitter because of his balky left elbow. Cust has yet to make an appearance in the outfield during a Grapefruit League game this spring, but he came off the bench and delivered a pinch-hit in the third to snap an 0-for-24 spring drought.

Here are the pictures:

Brett Wallace reacts to a ball being hit while playing third base in B game.

Carlos Corporan trots into second base following a double in B game.

Jack Cust stands on deck while Brad Mills watches during a B game.

Ross Seaton fires a pitch in a B game.

Telvin Nash, Josh Zeid and Austin Wates sit in the dugout during B game.

Game 18: Bats can’t touch Dickey

Behind a dominant pitching performance from Mets knuckle-baller R.A. Dickey, the Astros lost to the Mets, 8-2, on Thursday afternoon to fall to 9-9. Here is the boxscore.

Now, onto the breakdown:

What went right: Rhiner Cruz, a Rule 5 pick from the Mets, had easily his best outing of the spring, and it came against his old team. He struck out a batter to end the fourth and strand runners at second and third, and then pitched a 1-2-3 fifth inning and finished with two strikeouts.

Closer Brett Myers continues to pitch extremely well. He pounded the strike zone in his one inning of work, pitching around an error, and was at 90-92 mph on the radar gun. “He was spotting his fastball and his curveball had good depth,” manager Brad Mills said. “He was able to throw the curveball two different speeds — a hard one and a softer one, and both of them had real good depth. Obviously, he’s starting to get the feel for that because it was the same way last time.”

Henry Sosa also pitched well, allowing one hit and striking out two batters in 1 2/3 innings of work.

Not much to brag about at the plate, though the Astros did scorch some balls in the ninth inning, including a hit by Brad Snyder. Justin Ruggiano came off the bench and had a pair of hits, including a double. The only other hit was a single by Scott Moore, who also made a tremendous defensive play at third base in the eighth.

Matt Downs hit a rocket in the ninth inning that would have been extra bases had the left fielder not made an acrobatic catch at the wall.

What went wrong: The Astros didn’t manage a hit against Mets starter R.A. Dickey until Justin Ruggiano’s pinch-hit in the sixth inning. Among those going 0-for-3: J.B. Shuck, Travis Buck, J.D. Martinez, Jimmy Paredes and Jason Castro. When Dickey changes speeds like that, he’s tough to hit.

Wandy Rodriguez battled command problems all game, throwing 80 pitches in 3 2/3 innings. He allowed six hits, four runs and walked five batters and said after the game he understands he needs to pitch deeper into games. Rodriguez hasn’t had a good spring, but he did the same thing last year and was pretty good in the regular season.

Sergio Escalona, in only his second appearance of the spring because of an elbow hyper-extension, gave up four hits and four runs (three earned) in one-third of an inning.

The Astros also committed three errors: a fielding error by Paredes at third, a missed catch by Carlos Lee at first on a throw from Paredes that was a little wide and a fielding error by Moore. Ruggiano and Snyder collided in right-center field chasing a ball, but Snyder hauled it in.

What they said: “His concern comes from he wants to be out there throwing to work on things. When his pitch count gets so high early the game, those are stressful innings and I don’t want to kill him out there.” — Astros manager Brad Mills on pulling starter Wandy Rodriguez in the fourth after 80 pitches.

What’s next: Bud Norris starts when the Astros return home to face the Washington Nationals at 12:05 p.m. CT on Friday. Norris gave up five hits, five runs and four walks in his previous outing Saturday against the Yankees. Shortstop Jed Lowrie, who fouled a ball off his foot Tuesday and hasn’t played since, is scheduled to make his return to the lineup.

Injury update: Center fielder Jordan Schafer (left hand sprain) is day-to-day, but won’t play until Saturday at the earliest. … Shortstop Jed Lowrie, who fouled a ball off his foot Tuesday and hasn’t played since, is scheduled to make his return to the lineup Saturday.

Here are a few pictures from Digital Domain Park:

Jimmy Paredes and Angel Sanchez chat in dugout prior to game.

Wandy Rodriguez chills in the dugout before his start.

J.D. Martinez heads to the cage.

Travis Buck takes batting practice.

Carlos Lee signs autographs.

Jimmy Paredes makes contact during BP.

Game 14: Early trouble dooms Norris, Astros

The Astros lost their third consecutive Spring Training game, 6-3, to the Yankees on Sunday afternoon at sunny George M. Steinbrenner Field, dropping their Grapefruit League record to 7-7 near the midpoint of the spring season. You can find the boxscore by clicking here.

Here’s the breakdown:

What went right: How about the relief pitching of Brett Myers? Those who were worried about Myers’ struggles early in the spring needed to remember he’s a veteran who’s working on arm strength as he prepares himself to be the closer. He pitched two innings Saturday for the first time this spring, allowing one hit and no runs and touching 91-92 mph on the radar gun. Astros manager Brad Mills said he would like to get Myers in consecutive games later this spring.

Myers wasn’t the only reliever to pitch well. Left-hander Xavier Cedeno pitched a 1-2-3 fourth inning, striking out Brett Gardner and Robinson Cano, and Fernando Rodriguez struck out two of the three batters he faced in the eighth. Right now, it’s hard to envision a scenario in which Rodriguez isn’t on the club when it breaks camp.

The Astros outhit the Yankees (9-7), with left fielder J.D. Martinez going 2-for-4 with a double and third baseman Chris Johnson going 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles. Johnson has done a nice job at the plate as he battles to make the club, and has raised his spring average to .348 with a couple of good swings of the bat Saturday. Martinez has looked strong at the plate all spring.

Jason Bourgeois, J.B. Shuck, Joe Thurston, Marwin Gonzalez (double) and Angel Sanchez each had a hit. Shuck had an RBI triple, and Sanchez came off the bench as a pinch-runner late in the game and subsequently singled to center.

The Astros were errorless once again.

What went wrong: Bud Norris was the second consecutive starter to get roughed up, giving up five hits, five runs and four walks in three innings in only his second Grapefruit League appearance of the spring. Norris needed 31 pitches to get out of the first, an inning which included two hits and two walks., He retired the first two batters he saw in the second before walking Brett Gardner and Curtis Granderson and giving up a three-run homer to Robinson Cano on an 0-2 pitch. He threw a clean third inning, pitching around a pair of walks, to finish at 73 pitches.

Rhiner Cruz, a Rule 5 pick from the Mets, hasn’t done much to help his chances of sticking with the club all season, never mind making it through Spring Training. He allowed a home run to Bill Hall — yes, that Bill Hall — in his one inning of work, giving him five earned runs allowed in 1 1/3 innings of work this spring.

At the plate, Jack Cust started at designated hitter and went 0-for-3, dropping him to 0-for-20 this spring. Cust has been limited to a designated hitter role and could be losing his grip on one of the backup outfield spots, especially with the way Travis Buck and J.B. Shuck have swung the bat from the left side.

Brad Snyder, Landon Powell and Brett Wallace each went 0-for-2 at the plate.

What they said: “I thought the guys did a good job of battling back [had the tying run at the plate to end the game]. That’s the second day in a row we got down five runs real early in the game, and it’s tough to come back. You see C.J. with those two doubles and J.D. had a couple of nice at-bats and Shuck smoked that ball [for a triple]. There was a lot of good things, too. We wish Bud would have gotten that 0-2 slider down in the dirt [to Cano], but that three-run bomb, when you look at the score, wound up to be pretty important.” — Astros manager Brad Mills.

What’s next: Veteran catcher Humberto Quintero, who’s missed the first two weeks of spring action because of a bulging disk in his back, will make his first start of the Grapefruit League season when the Astros meet the Mets at 12:05 p.m. CT Sunday in Kissimmee. Quintero, last year’s starter on Opening Day, is battling to make the club is a backup role. Right-hander Livan Hernandez will start for the Astros.

Injury update: Catcher Humberto Quintero (back) is scheduled to make his first start Sunday. … Left-hander Sergio Escalona (elbow) threw live batting practice Friday to hitters.

In lieu of St. Patrick’s Day, there are no photos today. The photos will return Sunday.

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