Results tagged ‘ Bud Norris ’

Astros talk about move to AL

Astros on move to the AL:

Bud Norris on his offseason and upcoming goals:

Game 8: Astros slug three homers, rally to tie Cards

What happened: The Astros came from four runs down, scoring a pair of runs in the bottom of the ninth inning, to earn their second tie of the spring, 8-8, against the Cardinals on Friday afternoon at Osceola County Stadium (boxscore).

“Just a great job by the whole group, just coming back and battling, battling, battling and getting into hitter’s counts and putting good swings on the ball,” manager Bo Porter said.

More on Porter in this video:

What we learned: OF George Springer has a hot bat. Literally. Springer, who homered twice earlier in the week, didn’t go deep Friday, but he gave his bat to OF Chris Carter and told him he’d hit a home run. Carter blasted a long blast to left field in the fifth, finally showing the kind of power we’d heard about when he came over from Oakland.

“It feels good to finally square up a ball,” Carter said. “The last few at-bats I’ve been struggling making solid contact. You want to impress early and quick, but you have to stick with what you’re doing.”

What we learned II: Porter is going to have some tough roster decisions to make. IF Brandon Laird is having a terrific spring and slugged his second homer on Friday — one day after hitting a grand slam — and OF Brandon Barnes homered for the second time this spring. Both are battling for the few roster spots, but they’re certainly helping their cause.

“As camp goes along, you want to make it to the end of camp and have tough decisions,” Porter said. “When you come into camp and have competition and one guys runs away with it, you say to yourself, ‘Wow, we must not have too much depth.’ The fact we have great competition for the roster spots going on in camp, lets us know from an organizational standpoint we have a lot of depth.”

What else: RHP Jose Veras, in his final performance before leaving for the World Baseball Classic, had a 1-2-3 fourth inning with two strikeouts. … The Astros bashed out 12 more hitters with a pair of catchers — Rene Garcia and Jason Jaramillo — having two hits apiece. … RHP Bud Norris looked strong, allowing two runs and two hits in three innings, but he had a pair of 1-2-3 innings. … Josh Zeid, Rhiner Cruz and Josh Fields each threw a scoreless, hitless inning.

What went wrong: For the second day in a row, an error opened the door for the opposition. The Cardinals scored two unearned runs in the fifth after a Brett Wallace error, and a Jake Elmore error at shortstop in the sixth led to three unearned runs with Paul Clemens on the mound.

“From a standpoint of it being Spring Training, these are teachable moments and you stress it to the ballplayers that cannot give up extra outs,” Porter said. “When get the ball, handle the ball, take care of the ball. The more men that get on base, the more opportunities they have to score.”

What they said: “I felt a lot better. It’s great to get your legs under you and you go out and compete. I’m still working on some things, just trying to stay back over the rubber and trying to find my delivery and all that. I felt good and I’m excited to keep it going.” — RHP Bud Norris on his second spring outing.

What’s next: LHP Dallas Keuchel gets his first start of the spring when the Astros face the Braves at Osceola County Stadium at 12:05 p.m. CT Saturday. Keuchel has a relief appearance under his belt, but he’s competing for a spot in the rotation. RHP Philip Humber will throw in the game as well as the Astros try to divvy up starts.

Who’s injured: RHP Hector Ambriz (ankle) continues to ease closer to game action. … C Max Stassi (sports hernia surgery) is out until early April.

Links of the day: Astros OF J.D. Martinez admits he put too much pressure on himself last year. Now, he’s trying to retool his swing and win a spot on the club. The Astros notebook has hitting coach John Mallee’s thoughts on the team’s hot start at the plate, Bo Porter talking about roster construction and RHP Paul Clemens’ thoughts on his career.

Tweet of the day:

The day in photos:

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Vince Coleman and Bo Porter

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Jimmy Paredes and Bo Porter

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Delino DeShields Jr.

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Tyler Greene catches up with old teammate

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Robbie Grossman, Jimmy Paredes, George Springer and Vince Coleman

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Dave Clark gets animated

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Rick Ankiel and Tyler Greene

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Jose Altuve

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Old friend J.R. Towles is with the Cardinals

Porter visits with veterans about leadership

Astros manager Bo Porter met with a group of players prior to Wednesday morning’s workout that he wants to take a leadership role on the club this spring. The meeting, which Porter dubbed “Astros Talk,” included Jason Castro, Carlos Corporan, Jason Jaramillo, Erik Bedard, Bud Norris, Philip Humber, Lucas Harrell, Wesley Wright, Jose Veras and Edgar Gonzalez.

“We talked about leadership, and there’s a reason why I picked those guys,” he said. “Some of those guys have been on other teams where obviously it hasn’t been the situation we have here where we have a lot of young guys, and a lot of times these guys have been on teams and they have been the young guys.

“They now find themselves in a situation they become the older spokesmen. Like I said to them, I want to make sure we’re all on one sheet of music and we understand what leadership is all about and how you can effectively lead. If they had any questions, I wanted to be available for them to answer those questions to make sure we’re on one accord.”

Most baseball names don’t have a captain as in some other sports. The Yankees are one team that has traditionally identified a singular captain. Porter doesn’t plan to do that in Houston. Instead, he’s giving the responsibility of leader the younger players to those with the most service time.

“I explained to them, we’re not looking for one leader,” Porter said. “We’re looking for a group of leaders, because I’m a firm believer that leaders have to exist in every area, every level of the organization if you want the organization to continue to grow and continue to thrive. And the leaders have to develop the next wave of leaders. We’re not looking for one; we’re looking for a group.”

The first injury of camp was reported Wednesday morning when catcher Max Stassi, acquired in last week’s trade with Oakland, was diagnosed with a strained oblique. He will be held out of drills Wednesday.

“We’re going to pull him back a little bit as far as his workload goes,” Porter said. “He kind of tweaked his oblique a little bit.”

Here are a couple of quick morning photos:

Third base coach Dave Trembley is always smiling as he is here talking with Dave Clark and Dennis Martinez.

Third base coach Dave Trembley is always upbeat as he is here talking with Eduardo Perez and Dennis Martinez.

Bud Norris stretches prior to workout.

Bud Norris stretches prior to workout.

Astros reach deals with Norris, Lowrie and Wright

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.”

Astros face arbitration decisions

Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said the club plans to tender contracts to their four remaining arbitration-eligible players – pitchers Bud Norris, Wilton Lopez, Wesley Wright and shortstop Jed Lowrie. Lopez, of course, has been subject of trade speculation, but for now he remains with Houston.

The deadline to tender a contract is 10:59 p.m. CT Friday.

Norris, Lopez and Wright are all eligible for arbitration for the first time, and Lowrie is going through the process a second time. Each player will submit a desired salary for 2013, and the Astros will also submit their offer. That serves as the starting point for the negotiations, and both sides typically meet in the middle

If the sides can’t find common ground, they will take their case before an arbitration panel in February that will determine the players’ salary. In this scenario, this is no middle ground. The panel will side with either the player or the team, but negotiations can continue right up to the hearing.

Astros assistant general manager David Stearns is going to be spearheading the team’s arbitration process.

“He has some experience in that area, both from the labor relations side of Major League baseball, as well as the team side,” Luhnow said. “Our cases are nothing too complex at this point. They’re all first-year guys, with the exception of Jed, who’s a second-year guy. We went through preparing for a cast last year. We’re in pretty good shape, and I feel good about we’re going to get all our guys done.”

Here’s a closer look at each player:

– Jed Lowrie made $1.15 million in his first season in Houston in 2012 and was putting up All-Star numbers before a sprained right ankle suffered in mid July put him on the shelf for 52 games. He wound up hitting .244 with a career-high 16 homers and 42 RBIs. Lowrie could as much as double his salary from a year ago.

– Bud Norris had a strange year statistically, going 7-13 with a 4.65 ERA in 29 starts. He had 165 strikeouts in 168 1/3 innings, but went nearly three months without a win while battling various injuries and some inconsistencies. He was 4-1 with a 1.71 ERA at home and 3-12 with a 6.94 ERA on the road. He started strong, but was 0-12 with a 6.17 ERA in 18 starts from May 26-Sept. 20. He finished the season having not allowed a run in his final two starts, 13 1/3 innings.

Norris made $511,000 last season and should see a substantial bump based on his body of work, perhaps in the $2 million range

– Wesley Wright, who made $512,000 last season, is one of the longest-tenured Astros, having pitched parts of five seasons with the club from 2008-12. He made a career-high 77 appearances as lefty specialist last year and went 2-2 with a 3.27 ERA, including a 19-game scoreless streak. Lefties have hit just .170 off of him the last two years combined and he’ll remain a key cog in the bullpen.

The Astros got Wright in the Rule 5 Draft in 2007, and he’s had an unusual tenure in Houston. He’s been tried as a starter, had his arm slot temporarily changed and bounced between Triple-A and Houston so many times he could start his own shuttle service. But he appears to have entrenched himself in the bullpen and will be paid accordingly.

Wilton Lopez, claimed off waivers in 2009 by Ed Wade, has been a workhorse member of the Astros’ bullpen the past three years, going 6-3 with a 2.17 ERA last year in 64 games. He also had a career-high 10 saves after assuming the club’s closer role following the trade of Brett Myers and ineffectiveness of Francisco Cordero. He posted the lowest walks-per-innings ratio among all NL relievers (1.09) last season after setting the franchise record in 2010 by issuing only five walks in 67 innings pitched. He began last season by facing 78 batters without issuing a walk.

Lopez made $515,500 last season and could wind up around $1 million next season based on his workload and track record. That’s if the Astros don’t trade him.

Astros put Norris on DL

As expected, the Astros placed right-hander Bud Norris on the 15-day disabled list Sunday afternoon with a sprained left knee. The move is retroactive to June 12.

Norris, who is 5-4 with a 4.81 ERA in 13 starts, sprained his knee pitching against the Giants on Tuesday in San Francisco. He was scheduled to start Sunday against the Rangers, but the Astros called up left-hander Dallas Keuchel from Triple-A Oklahoma City to make his Major League Debut.

“I’m frustrated,” Norris said. “Nobody wants to go on the DL, but I know I need to get this thing right, because once I get it right I can pitch the way I was capable of pitching the first 10, 15 starts.”

Norris, 27, injured his hip flexor May 31 against the Rockies and wasn’t the same. He was 5-1 with a 3.34 ERA in his first 10 starts of the season, but was 0-3 with a 13.09 ERA in his next three starts as he dealt with leg problems.

“I’ve been trying to go out there and pitch at 80 percent and unfortunately I haven’t been helping the team much,” Norris said. “It’s frustrating in that regard. I want to be out there every fifth day, but I understand that short-term is more important than the long term and I have a whole second half to put it together to come back from this thing. I’m hoping it doesn’t take a long time.”

Astros manager Brad Mills said he didn’t want Norris to try to pitch through any discomfort.

“It’s something that we want to make sure he’s 100 percent when he comes back and that he’s not tentative when he’s putting weight on it,” he said. “We’ll get him back going as soon as we can and hopefully we can get him 100 percent.”

This is the second career trip to the DL for Norris, who went on the shelf in 2010 with biceps tendinitis.“You’re going to through some things, some bumps and bruises, where you’re going to have to go out there and pitch,” Norris said. “I definitely gave it everything I had and it didn’t go my way. I have to give my knee some time, the whole leg some time. I have 15 days to do it. I’m feeling a little bit better, and day in and day out I have to get treatment to get me back out on the field.”

Norris takes up for his teammates

Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks was hit in the back by Bud Norris on his first pitch of Tuesday’s game in apparent retaliation for the Brewers’ Mat Gamel flattening Astros catcher Jason Castro at home plate on Monday. Norris said the pitch simply got away from him, but hinted it wasn’t on accident

“It kind of got away from me,” he said. “I’m going to go out there and stand up for my team. I think the umpires handled it professionally, our team handled it professionally and Rickie handled it professionally as well. Nothing personal against him. It is what it is.”

Castro and Gamel were was out of the starting lineup Tuesday, but Astros manager Brad Mills said Castro wasn’t scheduled to play anyway and, other than a sore neck, Castro was feeling fine.

Mills said Gamel would have had a good shot at being safe had he slid and said he didn’t have to bowl over Castro, who was knocked back and hit the back of his head off the ground and held onto the ball for a double play to end the sixth inning. He stayed in the game.

“My first thought was he must have the plate blocked and then I found out he didn’t have the plate blocked and I said, ‘C’mon, man,’” Mills said. “It was a situation he was trying to knock the ball loose, but I thought Jason did a great job.”

Veteran catcher Chris Snyder said it’s important for catchers to expose the plate to the runner to avoid violent collisions that occurred Monday.

“At this level, more times than no you see guys that know what they’re doing and the catcher is going to give them the plate,” Snyder said. “You see what’s happened over the year with guys getting concussions on both sides of it and what happened to [San Francisco’s Buster] Posey last year. It’s a reaction.”

Snyder said collisions are a lot more common in the Minor Leagues, where young players are for the first time able to collide with the catcher in an effort to knock the ball loose.

“I got lit up quite a bit in the Minor Leagues because there you have kids just out of high school and college and there have been rules against it and they’re just excited to be able to finally do it and they don’t know how to do it,” he said.

When asked specifically about Gamel’s leveling of Castro, Snyder thought it was unnecessary.

“I didn’t like it,” he said. “He had the plate. It’s a 6-2 ballgame. I didn’t like it.”

Norris ties to stop the Astros’ 3-game skid

The Astros will try to snap a three-game losing streak in the middle game of a three-game against the Marlins at 6:10 p.m. CT Saturday at Marlins Ballpark. Bud Norris will start against the Astros’ former NL Central nemesis Carlos Zambrano, who is 16-8 with a 2.72 ERA in 34 games (32 starts) against the Astros.

While Norris and Zambrano have only faced each other once in their careers, 1B Carlos Lee has seen Zambrano 75 times in his career and is hitting .358 (24-for-67) against the right-hander with five home runs and a .427 on-base percentage.

Here are some other tidbits:

  • Astros starters have posted a 3.57 ERA in the first seven games this season, recording four quality starts. Their starters rank seventh in the NL in ERA, while the staff as a whole ranks sixth (3.38 ERA).
  • The Astros have outscored their opponents 32-30 this season. The team’s .258 batting average is third in the Majors, while their .328 on-base percentage ranks fourth.
  • J.D. Martinez (.385) is the only Astros player to hit safely in all seven games this season (tied for the longest streak in the Majors). Chris Johnson (.346) has hit safely in his last six games, and Jordan Schafer has reached base safely via hit or walk in all seven games this season (.406 OBP).

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 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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