Results tagged ‘ Brett Myers ’
Brett Myers, in his first public comments since he was told he was going to start on Opening Day for the Astros, downplayed the assignment, saying he didn’t want to get too worked up and lose focus of the task at hand.
Astros manager Brad Mills said Friday that Myers would get the ball April 1 when Houston begins the season in Philadelphia against the Phillies. Myers will be the first Astros pitcher other than Roy Oswalt to start on Opening Day since Wade Miller in 2002. Oswalt had made eight consecutive Opening Day starts, a club record.
“If I read too much into it, it’s like one of those things where you get too amped up for something and then you have to control your emotions and be able to pitch,” Myers said. “It is Opening Day and it’s kind of like a playoff game, but you’re starting the season. So you have to control your emotions and try to make pitches and don’t get too hyped up. I’m not thinking too much about it right now.”
This will be Myers’ fourth Opening Day assignment in five years. He was the Phillies’ Opening Day starter from 2007-09, and he said he doesn’t anticipate any extra emotions pitching against his former team.
“I won’t know until I get there,” he said. “I pitched there last year so I think I should be OK. It is Opening Day and there will be a lot of adrenaline going. I try not to think too much about it and go out there and make pitches.”
We are roughly halfway through Spring Training and the roster picture is pretty much as cloudy as it was when camp opened a month ago, and perhaps even more so with the injury to catcher Jason Castro. With so many bodies still in camp, it’s been difficult to determine which players might have the leg up, but that will not deter me.
Here’s my guess on what the Opening Day roster will look like:
Comment: The Astros could still bring in another catcher in time for Opening Day, but for now I’m going to limit my prediction to the players that are still in camp.
Brett Wallace (L)
Comment: I still believe Wallace is going to win the first base job. Downs has looked good in camp and could bring some pop and versatility off the bench. Manzella has broadened his defensive scope and has looked good at the plate so far this spring. Angel Sanchez could still play his way into the mix, but his defense is an issue. Anderson Hernandez has played well, too.
Michael Bourn (L)
Brian Bogusevic (L)
Comment: The only spot up for grabs is the fifth outfield spot. Bogusevic probably has a leg up on Jason Bourgeois because he hits left-handed. He runs pretty well too, but not as well as Bourgeois, who could also play second base.
STARTING PITCHERS (5)
Wandy Rodriguez (L)
J.A. Happ (L)
Ryan Rowland-Smith (L)
Comment: The fifth spot in the rotation remains completely up for grabs. Right now, I go with Rowland-Smith over Jordan Lyles, who has looked good but is still 20 years old and has barely had his feet wet at Triple-A. Nelson Figueroa makes the club as the long reliever.
RELIEF PITCHERS (7)
Fernando Abad (L)
Comment: At this point, I see Lyon, Lopez, Abad and Figueroa as locks. Fulchino is healthy and pitching well, and Melancon appears to have a good chance. The last spot? Completely up for grabs. The injury to Alberto Arias may give some other guys a chance, and Villar as pitched well. Don’t count out Sergio Escalona or Enerio Del Rosario.
On a day when the wind was blowing out at Osceola County Stadium, the Astros and Yankees combined for 18 runs and 38 hits. The Yankees did most of the damage, banging 21 hits – including home runs from Alex Rodriguez and Greg Golson – to beat the Astros and drop their Grapefruit League record to 2-7.
Befroe we get to the breakdown, click here for all the notes of the day, including some praise for Jordan Lyles, Michael Bourn talking about his spring base-stealing technique, an update on when some roster cuts might come, Brett Myers dissecting his outing and even a mention of a Hollywood actress who came to see the Astros on Sunday.
What went right: The Astros had 10 extra-base hits, including home runs by Jason Michaels and Carlos Lee, and had a spring-high 17 hits.
“The main thing is that I’m feeling pretty good at the plate, seeing the ball real good and taking good swings and good at-bats,” Lee said. “That’s a good start to be building on. We’ve got three more weeks to go. It felt pretty good to hit one out this early. That means you can only improve from that and expect to put last year away.”
Much of the damage was done by players who likely won’t make the Opening Day roster: Catcher Carlos Corporan and first baseman Brian Dopirak was 2-for-3 , and J.D. Martinez and Anderson Hernandez were both 2-for-2. Matt Downs continued his good spring, going 2-for-4 with a triple and double.
Jason Bourgeois, playing center field, smoked the ball three times and had one hit to show for it.
“I took my last at-bat yesterday against the Cardinals sand I thought about it and felt good about it,” Bourgeois said. “I had a simple base hit back up the middle, but I really found my rhythm and timing, and it’s starting to come together.”
Brett Myers, mixing in the curveball for the first time this spring, allowed five hits and two runs in three innings and continues to proceed accordingly. Brandon Lyon, who had a rough outing last time out, pitched a scoreless inning, which was a rarity. The only other Astros pitcher to throw a scoreless inning was Fernando Rodriguez.
What went wrong: It was a bad day to be on the mound for the Astros, who gave up 21 hits. Not only was the wind blowing out and the infield was harder than normal because the tarp was on the field during morning rain, but the Yankees were aggressive and continually made solid contact.
Jeff Fulchino, who looked terrific in striking out Derek Jeter in the fifth, later gave up four hits in the inning, including a long home run to Alex Rodriguez. Fulchino, Fernando Abad and Gustavo Chacin each gave up four hits and two runs in one inning of work. Wesley Wright took the loss allowing three hits and two runs (one earned) in his one inning of work.
Jimmy Paredes, who entered the game as a defensive replacement to face his former organization, committed his third error of the year has looked very raw this spring. The Astros acquired him from the Yankees in the Lance Berkman trade.
What they said: “This was definitely a Spring Training game. Not only did you see balls bounce through with the rain and having the tarp on the field, but the grounds crew does the best it can with the rain but the wind dries it out. Balls were going through and it was quite a day to work on our cut-offs and relays and everything else. A lot of teaching things, a lot of learning experiences.” – manager Brad Mills said.
What’s next: Left-hander J.A. Happ makes his second Grapefruit League start for the Astros when the travel to Viera, Fla., to face the Washington Nationals at 12:05 p.m. CT on Monday. Bud Norris, a starter, will piggyback Happ and throw three innings. Patrick Urckfitz, Jorge De Leon and Jose Valdez are also scheduled to pitch.
Injury update: Not much new to report. Jason Michaels’ sore arm doesn’t seem to be bothering him at the plate and he could be in the outfield on Tuesday, and Wilton Lopez was sent home because he was sick.
Now to the pictures:
Above: Astros players, coaches and staff pose for a picture Sunday morning. The man without a uniform in the middle is owner Drayton McLane, whose grandkids threw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the game against the Yankees.
Above: Astros manager Brad Mills and owner Drayton McLane pose for a picture.
Above: Some Astros pitchers and catchers stand on the mounds and talk strategy before throwing/catching their bullpens.
Above: Third baseman Chris Johnson shows good form while trying to field a grounder.
Above: Tony De Francesco, the new manager at Triple-A Oklahoma City, hits some ground balls during drills on Sunday morning.
The Astros (0-2) lost to the Braves in Grapefruit League action for the second time in as many days, dropping a 3-0 decision in their home opener at Osceola County Stadium.
Before I get into the breakdown of the day’s events, do yourself a favor and read this feature on Astros Minor League outfielders T.J. Steele, Jon Gaston and J.B. Shuck. They are the future, and they have a cool story to tell.
What went right: Pitching, pitching and more pitching. After giving up 15 hits and eight walks in eight innings Monday, eight Astros pitchers scattered eight hits, allowed one walk and gave up three earned runs. Starting pitcher Brett Myers threw two scoreless innings, allowing two hits and striking out one batter.
“My arsenal is not as full as hopefully it would be at the end of the spring, but I was going out there and working a couple of pitches and just tried to locate my fastball more than anything and throw some changeups,” Myers said. “Hopefully, I’ll get some swings and misses and get some quick outs.”
Ryan Rowland-Smith, Mark Melancon, Jeff Fulchino and Gustavo Chacin each enjoyed 1-2-3 innings. Wesley Wright also threw a scoreless inning, allowing one hit.
“I was just trying to work down in the zone,” Rowland-Smith said. “A couple of pitches I was down and a couple of pitches I was up, and I wasn’t too happy about it. You know, as long as I’m throwing strikes and pounding the zone, the more I do that the quicker I get a feel out there for what I’m doing and get ready to go.”
What went wrong: The Astros were held to just three hits, including two singles, by the Braves. The only extra-base hit came on a triple by Hunter Pence in his first at-bat of the spring. Jason Bourgeois and Clint Barmes went 0-for-3 at the top two spots in the order.
“I felt like I saw the ball really well the first day,” Barmes said. “I just missed some balls. My timing was a little off, but for the most part I was happy with the way I saw the ball. I barreled a foul ball, but trying to break it in against three different pitchers, I was pretty happy with the way I felt today. I didn’t get the results I wanted, but I’m not necessarily worried about that right now. It’s still early. All in all, I felt like today was a good day.”
The Braves scored on a bloop hit in the third against Brandon Lyon, and Patrick Urckfitz gave up two runs and three hits in one inning.
What they said: “It’s always good to get back out on the field and see where you’re at with your swing and definitely get back into game action. I’m not looking for too much results on the first day. If you’re expecting a lot of your first day, you’re going to be in trouble. I was looking for something and I feel I got that in the latter part of my at-bats and I feel good going forward.” – Astros second baseman Bill Hall, who was 0-for-2 in his spring debut.
What’s next: The Astros will play their first of six split-squad games Wednesday with games in Lakeland, Fla., against the Tigers and Tampa, Fla., against the Yankees, both at 12:05 p.m. CT. Left-hander J.A. Happ (Detroit) and right-hander Bud Norris (Yankees) will make their first springs starts for the Astros.
Injury update: Astros left-hander Fernando Abad, who’s competing for a spot in the bullpen, was sent home from the team’s Spring Training complex Tuesday morning after showing up with a body temperature of 101 degrees. Infielder Anderson Hernandez (back) and outfielder T.J. Steele (elbow) were cleared to play Tuesday, though neither did. The Astros are holding back outfielder J.D. Martinez (quadriceps strain) until they can reevaluate him Thursday.
Sorry, no pictures today. Rain kept the Astros from working out in the morning and kept me inside. But my trusty camera will be in Lakeland, Fla., tomorrow for the game against the Detroit Tigers.
The top three pitchers in the Astros’ rotation — Brett Myers, J.A. Happ and Wandy Rodriguez — each threw their second bullpen session Friday. With 30 healthy pitchers in camp, the Astros have split into six pitching groups with five pitchers in each group. Myers is the leader of group one, Happ of group two and Rodriguez of group three.
Groups 1-3 threw off the bullpen mounds for the second time Friday, and groups 4-6 will do the same thing Saturday before everyone takes a day off Sunday, the first day position player reports. So far, camp has been relatively quiet, which is definitely a good thing. Manager Brad Mills likes what he has seen.
“It’s really nice to see those guys throw the ball so well,” Mills said. “It was even smoother than [Thursday]. Any time you have your top three guys in the rotation throwing on the same day and having them throw like they did, that was nice. Plus, Aneury Rodriguez and Sergio Escalona from the left side threw well, too. I don’t want to single them out because other guys threw well, but it was a good day.”
Aneury Rodriguez, a 23-year-old right-hander taken in the Rule 5 Draft, is an imposing figure, to say the least. He 6-feet-4, 200 pounds and has terrific stuff. He was 6-5 with a 3.80 ERA in 27 games (17 starts) at Triple-A Durham last year in the Rays organization and is in the hunt for the fifth spot in the rotation.
The pitchers have yet to face any hitters, but Mills said the evaluations have begun. The manager said he is in constant evaluation mode, beginning with the moment a guy walks in the door and shakes his hand to the way he carries himself among his teammates to his stuff on the mound.
“It’s a whole process,” Mills said. “You want to give the guy the best opportunity he can to perform the best he can.”
Meanwhile, Hunter Pence had his arbitration hearing Friday in Arizona, and the Astros said they should know the outcome Saturday. Pence is seeking $6.9 million, and the club if offering $5.15 million.
And what would a Spring Training blog be without some pictures? Here’s a photo gallery from the third day under the hot sun in Kissimmee:
Above: Manager Brad Mills really gets into this drill in which he hit rag balls at the pitchers at a rapid pace. Brandon Lyon is the pitcher currently in the line of fire.
Above: Catcher J.R. Towles after finishing a bullpen workout.
Above: Pitching coach Brad Arnsberg (standing on the back slope of the mound) gives instruction to a group of pitchers. Oklahoma City pitching coach Burt Hooton listens in.
Above: Pitcher Jeff Fulchino fields a ball off the mound and prepares to throw to first base. Other pitchers are lined up the background, preparing for the same drill.
Above: 2009 first-round pick Jiovanni Mier signs some autographs for fans.
Above: Jiovanni Mier (foreground) plays catch with Clint Barmes.
The Astros rotation certainly isn’t among the deepest in baseball and they don’t have the horses at the top you’d expect to contend in the Cy Young race, but they do have stability. And that could go a long way in determining the club’s chances to compete in the National League Central the next few years.
After announcing they had locked up left-hander Wandy Rodriguez with a three-year, $34-million contract extension on Tuesday, the top four pitchers in the team’s rotation heading into Spring Training are under club control for at least the next two years and possibly longer, depending on vesting options.
“We’re very pleased to get this done,” general manager Ed Wade. “Wandy is one of the top left-handed starters in the game. With pending free agency and its uncertainty, it made all the sense in the world for us. Wandy made it clear he wants to be a part of the Astros. Now, he’ll be here for at least the next three years and hopefully beyond that.”
Here’s a glance at the top four starters in the Astros rotation:
RHP Brett Myers
Contract status: Signed through 2012. The contract is guaranteed for the 2011 and 2012 seasons and carries a 2013 club option that could become vested through Myers’ 2012 performance. The two-year guaranteed value, including a buyout on the option year, guarantees Myers $21 million. If the contract carries through 2013, it will guarantee Myers $28 million. The pact also contains additional performance bonus potential that could raise the total value to $29.5 million.
2010 record: 14-8, 3.14 ERA.
Career record: 87-71, 4.20 ERA in nine seasons.
Comment: Myers is coming off a career year that he parlayed into a lucrative contract extension midseason last year. He’s become the leader of the staff following the departure of Roy Oswalt and is a terrific competitor who wants the ball.
LHP Wandy Rodriguez
Contract status: Signed through 2013. The Astros on Tuesday agreed to deal with Rodriguez that will pay him a three-year deal with a guaranteed $34 million. He has a 2014 vesting option that would push the total value of the deal to $44.5 million.
2010 record: 11-12, 3.60 ERA.
Career record: 62-64, 4.18 ERA in six seasons.
Comment: Rodriguez, the only remaining member from the 2005 World Series team, pitched like an All-Star in 2009 and in the second half of last year. That’s the pitcher the Astros threw $34 million at on Tuesday, and not the one who struggled mightily in the first half of the 2010 season.
LHP J.A. Happ
Contract status: Signed through 2014. Will be arbitration eligible for the first time in 2012. He made $470,000 last year, and his 2012 salary has yet to be determined.
2010 record: 6-4, 3.40 ERA (with Phillies and Astros).
Career record: 19-9, 3.27 ERA in four seasons.
Comment: The Astros were thrilled to get Happ from the Phillies in the Oswalt trade. He’s still relatively young, doesn’t make much money and heretofore has been a dependable Major League pitcher.
RHP Bud Norris
Contract status: Signed through 2015. Will be arbitration eligible in 2013 and is scheduled to hit free agency in 2016.
2010 record: 9-10, 4.92 ERA.
Career record: 15-13, 4.82 ERA in 1 1/2 seasons.
Comment: Has the kind of stuff to have a long Major League career. Norris could be poised for a breakout season in 2011.
Here is the second-to-last installment of our Astros’ position-by-position breakdown. The Astros had a decent starting rotation last year, with the ability to be pretty good next season. Here’s a look at the starting staff:
2010 rotation to begin season: Roy Oswalt, Wandy Rodriguez, Brett Myers, Bud Norris, Felipe Paulino.
2010 end-of-season rotation: Brett Myers, Bud Norris, J.A. Happ, Wandy Rodriguez, Nelson Figueroa.
Others who made a start: Felipe Paulino, Brian Moehler, Wesley Wright, Josh Banks.
Combined 2010 stats of Astros starting pitchers: 52-63, 3.90 ERA (seventh-best in NL), 4 complete games, 2 shutouts, 857 strikeouts (second in NL), 380 walks (most in NL).
Free agents: Brian Moehler.
Arbitration eligible: Wandy Rodriguez, Nelson Figueroa, Felipe Paulino.
What happened: The Astros signed Brett Myers late last winter to help legitimize a rotation that included Roy Oswalt, Wandy Rodriguez, Bud Norris and Felipe Paulino. Oswalt got off to a strong start, but once again suffered poor run support and began grumbling about wanting to be traded, which he eventually was. Rodriguez, coming off a breakout season, stumbled badly out of the gate as the losses piled up for the Astros. Norris got better as the season progressed and finished strong, and Paulino had a brief stretch of dominance before an injury ended his season.
Oswalt made 20 starts with the Astros before being traded and was 6-12, but had a respectable 3.42 ERA. With the team slipping out of contention, he told the Astros in May he wanted to be traded. The club granted his wish in July and sent him to the Phillies in a blockbuster deal in which the team got J.A. Happ in return. Oswalt, who finished one win shy of tying Joe Niekro’s club record, was terrific in Philadelphia, going 7-1 with a 1.74 ERA in 12 starts.
Rodriguez, the team’s Pitcher of the Year in 2009, was terrible to begin the season. He went 3-10 with a 6.09 ERA in his first 14 starts (the team was 4-10 in those starts) before rallying in the second half. He went 8-2 in his final 18 starts and posted a 2.03 ERA, which was the second-best NL in the ERA in that span. He finished the season with 13 consecutive quality starts, the fourth-longest such streak in franchise history, to finish 11-13 with a 3.60 ERA.
Myers, who signed for a one-year deal worth a guaranteed $5.1 million, proved to be one of the best free-agent signings of the season. He went 14-8 with a 3.14 ERA and pitched a career-high 223 2/3 innings, leading the team in wins and ERA by a starter. Myers threw at least six innings in his first 32 starts of the season before coming up one out shy of being able to make it 33-for-33 in his final start of the year. He parlayed the strong season into a three-year contract extension.
Norris, who had only 10 starts under his belt beginning the year, stayed in the rotation all season, missing about a month in June with bursitis and biceps tendinitis. He was 2-7 with a 6.08 ERA in his first 14 starts of the year. He was 7-3 with a 3.84 ERA in his final 14 starts to finish 9-10 with a 4.92 ERA and 158 strikeouts in 153 2/3 innings pitched. He struck out a Minute Maid Park-record 14 against the Pirates on Aug. 14.
Paulino didn’t win a game until his 11th start of the season. He was 0-7 with a 4.40 ERA in his first 10 starts and was the victim of poor run support. He finally broke through June 4 against the Cubs, allowing one run in eight innings. In a five-start stretch from May 19-June 9, he was 1-1 with a 1.75 ERA. Paulino went on the DL on June 21 and missed nearly three months with right shoulder tendinitis. He made five relief appearances in September and wound up finishing 1-9 with a 5.11 ERA in 19 games (14 starts).
Happ, acquired in the Oswalt trade, made 13 starts for the Astros and was 5-4 with a 3.75 ERA. He was winless in his final five starts, going 0-2 with a 4.81 ERA.
The Astros claimed Nelson Figueroa off waivers in the middle of the season and he wound up in the rotation, going 5-3 with a 5.22 ERA in 18 games, including 4-3 with a 3.23 ERA in 10 starts. Veteran Brian Moehler made eight starts for the Astros (and 12 relief appearances) before his season ended in early July with a left groin strain that eventually required surgery. Left-hander Wesley Wright made four starts, and Josh Banks came up from the Minor Leagues to make one start.
What’s next: The Astros are content with the top of their rotation, especially if Myers pitches like he did last season and Rodriguez continues his second-half dominance. Happ is a steady left-hander who should be able to eat up innings and keep the Astros in games if he remains healthy. The Astros were pleased with the progress of Norris and are content with him opening next season as their No. 4 starter.
The biggest question is who’s going to be the fifth starter? Paulino and Figueroa will be given a look, unless the Astros are able to acquire another pitcher in the offseason. The Astros will try to sign a low-cost veteran like they did last offseason with Myers and hope they have similar results. If not, Paulino, Figueroa and prospect Jordan Lyles will battle for a spot in the rotation next spring.
Who’s on the farm: Lyles, the team’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year last season, is only 19 and has a world of potential. He posted a 7-12 record and a 3.57 ERA in 27 games, 26 starts, between the Double-A and Triple-A levels. Lyles spent the majority of his season with Double-A Corpus Christi, posting a 7-9 record and a 3.12 ERA in 21 games, 20 starts. Douglas Arguello (7-5, 2.55 ERA) had a solid season at Double-A Corpus Christi. Kyle Greenwalt (8-7, 5.93 ERA), Brad Dydalewicz (1-6, 11.39 ERA), Dallas Keuchel (5-8, 3.36 ERA) and Ross Seaton (6-13, 6.64 ERA) had varying degrees of success at Double-A. Mike Foltynewicz, a first-round pick this year, and right-hander Tanner Bushue have world of potential, but aren’t quite ready yet.
The Astros play their final road game of the 2010 season tonight in the series finale against the NL Central division champion Reds at Great American Ball Park. Houston is 34-46 on the road this season (13-10 since Aug. 22), but will be sending ace Brett Myers to the mound for his final start of the season.
Myers (14-7), who can set a career high if he wins, will try to finish a remarkable season. He’s pitched at least six innings in all 32 of his starts this year and can become the first pitcher since Curt Schilling in 2002 to do it all of his starts in a season. Myers is 6-0 with a 2.07 ERA in his last nine starts.
Here’s the Astros’ lineup:
CF Jason Bourgeois
2B Jeff Keppinger
RF Hunter Pence
1B Carlos Lee
3B Chris Johnson
LF Brian Bogusevic
SS Tommy Manzella
C Humberto Quintero
P Brett Myers
Brett Myers (12-7, 2.85 ERA) starts for the Astros in today’s series finale against the Reds, who send left-hander Travis Wood (5-3, 3.46 ERA) to the mound. Here are the lineups:
CF Michael Bourn
2B Jeff Keppinger
RF Hunter Pence
1B Carlos Lee
LF Jason Michaels
3B Chris Johnson
SS Tommy Manzella
C Humberto Quintero
RHP Brett Myers
2B Brandon Phillips
CF Drew Stubbs
1B Joey Votto
3B Scott Rolen
LF Jonny Gomes
RF Jay Bruce
C Ramon Hernandez
SS Paul Janish
LHP Travis Wood
Brett Myers (10-7, 3.02 ERA) tries to make it 29-for-29 when he starts against the Cubs in tonight’s series finale at Wrigley Field. Myers has set a franchise record by pitching at least six innings in 28 consecutive starts and is one of 10 pitchers since 1920 to throw at least six innings in each of his first 27 games of teh season. Randy Wells (6-12, 4.56 ERA) will start for the Cubs.
Here are the lineups:
CF Michael Bourn
2B Jeff Keppinger
RF Hunter Pence
LF Carlos Lee
3B Chris Johnson
1B Brett Wallace
SS Tommy Manzella
C Humberto Quintero
RHP Brett Myers
2B Blake DeWitt
SS Starlin Castro
CF Marlon Byrd
1B Xavier Nady
RF Tyler Colvin
C Geovany Soto
LF Alfonso Soriano
3B Darwin Barney
RHP Randy Wells