Results tagged ‘ Bud Norris ’
Astros manager Bo Porter, general manager Jeff Luhnow and pitcher Bud Norris react to Wednesday’s announcement that Norris will start for the club on Opening Day.
Bud Norris said he was humbled to learn Wednesday he would get the ball to start the season for the Astros. Houston manager Bo Porter named Norris as his Opening Day starter, meaning he’ll pitch against the Rangers on March 31 when the Astros play their first American League game.
Porter chose Norris over Lucas Harrell, who will pitch the second game of the season on April 2.
“I’m very honored,” Norris said. “It’s something I’ve been working for my whole career, something everyone works for their whole career. It’s a childhood dream to have an Opening Day game like that. I know Lucas had a great spring and he can pitch. It was either/or. I wasn’t mad if he got it or what not. I’m excited to go out there and give this team every opportunity to go out there and win, and very excited to do it in Houston on a nationally televised game.”
Norris said he hadn’t thought too much about starting on Opening Day, but it was clearly something he wanted. Porter told Harrell the news first Wednesday afternoon, and when Harrell was walking out of the manager’s office and Norris was walking in, Harrell gave him a pat on the rear.
“Just excited to get and it’s great to have that accolade in my honor, but by the same token having a guy [Harrell] pushing me and supporting me is outstanding,” Norris said. “I’m at a loss for words at times, but humbled by the experience.”
Norris said it was one of the most meaningful things that have happened to him as a professional.
“You don’t have an opportunity all the time to throw the first pitch of the season,” he said. “When I mean childhood dreams come, that’s truly what it is. I remember listening on the radio Opening Day and it’s a big anticipation thing. Just to know that day is I get to go out there and play baseball in the city of Houston, it’s truly exciting and I’m honored.”
Harrell, the team’s Pitcher of the Year last year, was happy for Norris.
“He’s earned it, he’s been here the longest and proven he can do it,” Harrell said. “What better guy to lead us?”
Astros manager Bo Porter on Wednesday named right-hander Bud Norris as the team’s Opening Day starter. Norris will start March 31 against the Rangers, with Lucas Harrell pitching April 2 and Philip Humber going in the April 3 series finale.
It will be the first career Opening Day assignment for Norris, who went 7-13 with a 4.65 ERA in 29 starts for the Astros last year, including a 1.71 ERA at Minute Maid Park. Norris will be the fourth different pitcher to start on Opening Day for the Astros following Wandy Rodriguez (2012), Brett Myers (2011) and Roy Oswalt (2003-10).
“Bud Norris has done everything we’ve asked him to do from the time I’ve taken the job to being that leader that this organization needs,” Porter said. “You look at his home and road splits and how well he’s pitched at Minute Maid Park and how well he’s pitched in big games… I think he gets up for big games.
“Even as far back as last year, he had the second-best ERA in all of baseball pitching at home and the Opening Day starter, if you look at it, if they stay on turn and stay healthy, that guy will get three more starts at Minute Maid Park between now and All-Star break. It was all those factors, combined with the history that goes with it. He’s our most-veteran [starting] pitcher, outside of [Erik] Bedard.”
The rest of the rotation is unknown, but the Astros did option right-handers Jordan Lyles and John Ely to Triple-A Oklahoma City, meaning Lyles won’t be in the rotation to start the year. Alex White, Brad Peacock, Edgar Gonzalez and Bedard are battling for the final two spots in the rotation, though it’s more likely Gonzalez will be used in long relief.
Lyles had allowed 36 hits and 23 earned runs in 11 2/3 innings this spring.
“When you look at it, Philip Humber has pitched terrific this spring and is an experienced guy,” Porter said. “We brought guys like Humber, White and Bedard in there because we wanted to add more experience to the rotation, but if you look at Jordan Lyles, he’s 22 years old and we believe he’s going to be part of the rotation for many years to come. Even in my conversation with him I said, ‘Roy Halladay was sent to the Minor Leagues.’ … I told him, ‘This is not a demotion, this is a delay. You go down there and take care of your business and you’ll be back here shortly.’”
What happened: Chris Carter hit a pair of two-run homers and drove in five runs, and Bud Norris threw six strong innings to lead the Astros to an 11-2 win over the Blue Jay sat Osceola County Stadium (boxscore).
What we learned: LF Chris Carter has his timing down. Astros manager Bo Porter could tell early in the spring that Carter’s timing wasn’t great and preached it was only a matter of time before he came around.
“Carter has done a lot of extra work with[hitting coaches] John Mallee and Dan Radison, and they’ve done a tremendous job getting things dialed up with him and you’re starting to see the power display,” he said. “We knew when he got his timing down, he has power to all fields and he’s capable of doing what he did today consistently.”
What we learned II: RHP Bud Norris is ready for Opening Day, if the Astros choose to give him the assignment. Norris worked six innings against the Blue Jays and allowed three hits and two runs in six innings.
“The slider got lazy a couple of innings,” he said. “Obviously, the third inning when they scored there were a couple of bad sliders, but once I got it out of my head to go out there and compete and be confident with it, they started coming along. You’re always trying to locate. That’s the No. 1 priority, but attacking and being aggressive is also a priority.”
What else: In addition to the two homers by Carter, Houston also got long balls from C Jason Castro and IF Brandon Laird. Carter, Castro and Laird are tied for the team lead with four homers this spring, and Carter leads with 11 RBIs. … The 32 homers the Astros have hit this spring are three more than they hit in the entire spring schedule a year ago, and there are 14 exhibition games remaining. … LHP Erik Bedard followed Norris with three scoreless innings, allowing one hit and striking out five batters, in his longest outing of the spring. Bedard had been slowed by a strained gluteal muscle, but he appears healthy now. … The Astros didn’t commit an error.
What went wrong: Well, not much. The Astros were 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position, but when you slug four homers, it doesn’t really matter.
What they said: “I don’t know how many pitches I threw, but to get the pitch count higher than it was at and to get up and down is the big key – how you feel in between innings.” – LHP Erik Bedard on his three-inning outing Sunday.
What’s next: The Astros are off Monday, but RHP Philip Humber will throw in a simulated game in Kissimmee. The team resumes Grapefruit League play Tuesday at 12:05 p.m. CT against the Jays in Dunedin, Fla., with RHP Jordan Lyles on the mound.
Who’s injured: OF Fernando Martinez (lower back strain) is day-to-day.
Tweets of the day:
CC power show here in Osceola County. Happy St Patty's Day!—
Jeff Luhnow (@jluhnow) March 17, 2013
Links of the day: Astros notebook is chock full of information, including more on the roster cuts that came down Sunday morning and where prospect Carlos Correa will likely begin the 2013 season, and much more.
Video of Jeff Luhnow talking roster moves:
The day in photos
Astros manager Bo Porter said he’ll open the season with a five-man rotation despite the surplus of off days early in the year. The Astros have four off days in the first three weeks of the season, but Porter said he plans to stick with five starters throughout April.
“I’m a proponent of you take the off days,” he said. “You can’t duplicate the intensity we’ll have once we get to Minute Maid ballpark. That’s not to say that Spring Training, the preparation part of it, isn’t difficult, but you can’t duplicate that energy. Early in the year, I’ve always leaned on the side of giving the guys the extra off day, and later in the year if you have to skip a guy, we’ll skip a guy at that point.”
Porter also said he won’t decide on an Opening Day starting pitcher until later in camp. Right-handers Bud Norris and Lucas Harrell are the two candidates to take the mound on March 31 against the Rangers. Porter said several factors will play into the decision, including who the pitchers will match up against later in the month and where they will pitch (home or road).
Whichever pitcher starts on Opening Day would come back and start at home on April 7, but the No. 2 pitcher in the rotation would take his second start of the season on the road. Both Norris and Harrell were very strong at home last year. Norris led the NL with a 1.71 ERA at home last year, and Harrell ranked fifth with a 2.34 ERA at Minute Maid Park.
“Those are all factors that from a managerial standpoint you take those things into consideration,” Porter said. “You look at your opponents, you look at your division and you want to have your best guys going against division foes. You want to see your rotation stack up for the long haul where you have your best guys going against your division foes.”
The Astros’ first 15 games in 2013 and 18 of their first 21 games are against AL West foes.
Here’s what else is going on with the Astros:
- The Astros are being cautious with left-hander Erik Bedard, who has a strain to his right glute. He hopes to get on the mound in the next few days.
- Norris will start the Feb. 12 game against the Marlins in Jupiter, Fla. Norris’ scheduled day to throw would be Monday, but the Astros are off and Porter plans to make sure the players don’t have to come to the facility.
MLB Network was at Astros camp on Thursday, and here we see Sean Casey giving a fist bump to bench coach Eduardo Perez prior to their interview:
Astros on move to the AL:
Bud Norris on his offseason and upcoming goals:
The Astros reached agreements Friday with all three of their arbitration-eligible players, signing shortstop Jed Lowrie to a one-year, $2.4 million deal, right-hander Bud Norris to a one-year, $3 million deal and left-hander Wesley Wright to a one-year deal.
Terms of the Wright deal weren’t disclosed.
Friday marked the deadline for the teams and players to exchange salary numbers in advance of next month’s scheduled hearings, but the Astros were able to avoid going to an arbitration panel.
The 28-year-old Lowrie, who made $1.15 million last year, set career highs in games (97), at-bats (340), runs (43), hits (83), home runs (16) and walks (43) despite missing 52 games with a sprained right ankle and leg injury. He wound up hitting .244 with 42 RBIs.
Norris, 27, was 7-13 with a 4.65 ERA in 29 starts last year, allowing 165 hits and striking out 165 in 168 1/3 innings. He went 0-12 with a 6.34 ERA during a streak of 18 starts in the middle of the season while he battled injuries and inconsistencies. Norris had a 1.71 ERA at home and a 6.94 mark on the road.
Wright, 27, was 2-2 with a 3.27 ERA in a career-high 77 games last year, which led the Astros and ranked tied for sixth in the National League. His .226 batting average allowed ranked fifth in the NL among left-handed relievers.
“I’m happy to have it behind me and can focus on the upcoming season and going out and doing my best to help us win some ballgames,” Wright said. “It’s good to know that part of the situation is taken care of and we can focus on baseball activities.”