Results tagged ‘ Brandon Lyon ’

Lindstrom shines; other Astros news from early Wednesday

Right-hander Matt Lindstrom was thrilled with easily his best outing of the spring in Tuesday’s win over the Mets. He threw two innings and didn’t allow anyone to reach base while striking out one batter, and manager Brad Mills said the extra work with pitching coach Brad Arnsberg is paying off.

“I thought that was just outstanding,” he said. “He threw six pitches in the first inning and that’s why we wanted to send him out for the second inning to get him some pitches. Arnie is working with him on some things, and the progress he made yesterday was leaps and bounds over his last outing. If we can keep him progressing in right direction, that’s going to build some confidence with him as well.”

Lindstrom has been working with Arnsberg on changing the grip on his slider. The new grip is more tailored to his arm angle so the ball doesn’t pop out of his hands as much. That will allow him to throw the fastball more in the zone.

“I felt like a had a lit better command of my slider and that makes a big difference when I’m throwing it for strikes and using it the way I know,” Lindstrom said. “The new grip with Arnsberg is something I feel comfortable with. It worked out good and you have to continue to build on it and feel more comfortable with it.”

Here are some other tidbits from this camp this morning:

  • Right-hander Brandon Lyon is scheduled to throw another 30-pitch side session Wednesday. Lyon, who hasn’t faced a batter this spring after having a cyst on his throwing shoulder drained, could throw live batting practice Friday if all goes well. Stay tuned for updates.
  • Catcher Jason Castro was sent home with a case of the stomach flu. He wasn’t scheduled to start on Wednesday, and Mills said he hoped he would be able to make his start Thursday against Washington: “He’s got the stomach thing a couple of guys had in the bullpen the past week,” he said. “We sent him home, and hopefully it’s a one-day thing, which we think it is.” Castro is 6-for-12 this spring.
  • Right-handed reliever Alberto Arias, who left Tuesday’s game with a mild strain in his upper back/neck/shoulder area, won’t throw for a couple of days. The plan is for Arias to get checked out Friday when the team doctors come to town. “We’re going to back him off and he’ll see a doctor on Friday and then we’ll go from there,” Mills said. “If it is something that needs to be calmed down, it will have a day to calm down before the doctors get here.”

Day 10: Lyon throws off mound, sort of

Astros pitcher Brandon Lyon, who hasn’t thrown off the mound since having a cyst drained in his right shoulder in January, threw lightly from the mound Monday afternoon, but it wasn’t considered a bullpen session. He threw gently at less than 60 feet and will try to throw his first full-fledged bullpen session Tuesday.

“It was just getting a feel for the mound,” he said. “I’m just going to get out there and get a feel for everything and try to evaluate where I’m at after that.”

Lyon, who signed a three-year, $15-million deal in December, had a cyst visible on the MRI before signing with the Astros, but it grew enough in size in a month that it was pressing on a nerve and causing discomfort.

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Astros manager Brad Mills spent a large portion of Monday’s workout in the middle of the team’s cut-offs drill, in which he hit balls into the gaps. Minor Leaguers ran the bases as the outfielders tried to get the ball back into the infield.

“We got some things ironed out,” Mills said. “I’m not going to say it went absolutely outstanding, but it didn’t go bad, either. Some organizations do things a little bit differently, and when you have guys from other organizations coming together sometimes there is some confusion.

“We wanted to make sure everything was run exactly the way we wanted to do it. That’s why we were able to take a little extra time and talk about it as much as we can. There are subtle differences that help protect us against certain things happening.”

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Following the coaches’ staff meeting Monday morning, first-base coach Bobby Meacham and third-base coach Dave Clark drafted their teams for Wednesday’s intra-squad games. Manager Brad Mills said the majority of the established players, including Lance Berkman, Carlos Lee and Hunter Pence, won’t participate in the scrimmage. Several players will be pulled over from the Minor League mini camp to participate.

“That’s the last place we want to have injuries,” he said. “They’re going to be working on another field and they’re going to be working on fundamentals and so forth.”

Here is the lineup for Clark’s Crushers, which will be the home team: Chris Shelton 1B, Jonathan Meyer 3B, Alex Romero RF, Jon Gaston DH, Drew Locke LF, Wladimir Sutil SS, Oswaldo Navarro 2B, Yordany Ramirez CF and Brian Esposito C/Frederico Hernandez.

Here is the lineup for Meach’s Mashers, the visiting team: Koby Clemens 1B, Chris Johnson 3B, T.J. Steele OF, Cory Sullivan DH, Brian Bogusevic OF, Edwin Maysonet SS, Drew Meyer 2B, Jason Bourgeois OF and Kevin Cash C/Lou Santangelo C.

Lyon no longer worried about shoulder

Astros pitcher Brandon Lyon admitted he was worried about his shoulder when he came to Houston two weeks ago to have an MRI. He had been experiencing temporary weakness and feared the worst, before his mind was put to ease with the revelation a cyst needed to be drained.

“At the time, I was [concerned],” Lyon said via phone from his home in Utah. “I’ve never had anything like that, so I was a little worried. When I got to Houston and checked it out, I was relieved it wasn’t anything major. I definitely feel good about that.”

Lyon, who signed a three-year, $15-million deal in December, had the cyst aspirated and is back on his throwing program. The cyst, which was the size of 1 1/2 grapes, was pressing on a nerve and causing discomfort.  The cyst was evident on the MRI Lyon took before he signed with the Astros, but it grew over time.

“The only thing we can maybe attribute it to is overdoing it a little bit,” Lyon said. “That’s the only thing I know and can come up with. In the MRI in December it was there, but it started to enlarge in a month to where it became a problem.”

Lyon will report to Spring Training as scheduled with pitchers and catchers next week, but will be about 10 days behind his fellow pitchers because of the interruption in his throwing program. He should be ready for the start of the regular season.

“The problem and what has caused me to be behind is the strength I’ve lost over the last couple of weeks in my back,” he said. “It drained out one my muscles completely in my back and shoulder. I didn’t have any strength doing exercises. I’m building that back up to get it to the way it was before.

“It doesn’t come back overnight. That’s the only problem with it now. I’m getting the strength back and starting the throwing program like I stared day one in the off-season.”

Lyon, whose wife gave birth to the couple’s third child and first daughter Jan. 15, is eager to get to Kissimmee, Fla., for his first Spring Training with the Astros.

“I’m definitely excited to put some names with the faces and meet up with everybody,” he said. “I’m working for another great season.”

Which players are you most excited about seeing this spring?

I’m back in town, but still on vacation technically until Thursday. In the meantime, Spring Training is casting a rather large shadow over me and everyone else who’s going to be in Florida in a little more than two weeks, so it’s time to look ahead. No more mention of Miguel Tejada or Jose Valverde.

The Astros figure to have several intriguing storylines this spring, from a new manager in Brad Mills and several new members of the coaching staff, to key new faces in Brandon Lyon, Matt Lindstrom, Brett Myers and Pedro Feliz. Then there’s younger players that are expected to make an impact, including a pair of rookies who could start: shortstop Tommy Manzella and catcher Jason Castro.

There are other interesting players who aren’t going to make headlines at camp: Chia-Jen Lo, Fernando Abad, Gary Majewski, Cory Sullivan, Jason Bourgeois, etc. I am going to be tracking the progress of all, but I am most intrigued by Manzella and Castro, and that’s simply because they could play huge roles. In fact, the club is banking on Manzella to do just that in April and Castro at some point this year to be a factor.

Which players are you, the fans, most excited about seeing?

Great day for Astros

Can you imagine how different the Astros’ winter would have been had Jose Valverde accepted arbitration and LaTroy Hawkins accepted their contract offer? The Astros would have liked to have been able to bring Hawkins back and took a huge risk by offering arbitration to Valverde, but the departure of both opened doors and wallets.

Astros general manager Ed Wade signed Brandon Lyon, Pedro Feliz and Brett Myers, traded for Matt Lindstrom and picked up two draft picks, including a first-round pick. Things couldn’t have worked out much better for the Astros, who would have been hamstrung had Valverde accepted arbitration.

Valverde winds up not making as much in 2010 as he would have with the Astros, but he got the comfort of a two-year deal with an option. The Astros got what they wanted, too, and even more. With Spring Training around the corner, the Astros are hitting the finish line of the Hot Stove season with a smile on their faces.

“I thought we entered into the Valverde situation in a win-win situation,” Wade said. “If he had accepted arbitration, we would have ended up with the best free-agent closer on the market. As it turned out, we were able to satisfy the back end of the bullpen with Lyon and Lindstrom and to score draft picks, particularly a first-round draft pick, is very satisfying.

“I like what he did for us and we would have loved to have him back, but at end of the day we have to look at end results and we felt that being able to add two additional draft picks in 2010 is a pretty favorable conclusion for us.”

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