Results tagged ‘ Felipe Paulino ’

Day 18: Astros pitchers take a beating

With the wind blowing out at Osceola County Stadium and pitchers struggling to find their spots, the Astros were pounded 16-4 by the Florida Marlins on Wednesday. There’s not much to say about this one, other than nobody got hurt.

Here’s the breakdown:

The good: Right-hander Henry Villar, who struck out 109 batters in 90 innings at Class A Lexington last year, pitched his second scoreless inning of the spring and struck out one batter. He was the only pitcher not to give up any runs on a difficult day on the mound.

Kaz Matsui, Oswaldo Navarro, Lance Berkman, Pedro Feliz, Edwin Maysonet, Drew Locke and Chris Johnson had the only hits for the Astros. Locked, called up from Minor League camp, doubled as a pinch-hitter, and Johnson socked his second homer of the spring to tie Hunter Pence for the team lead.

The bad: It was an ugly day for the pitchers.

Wandy Rodriguez made his second start of the spring and gave up six hits, six runs (four earned) and struck out one batter in three innings. He allowed back-to-back home runs in the first to Mike Stanton and Dan Uggla. He seemed to struggle with his control, but he has about four starts left to iron things out.

Felipe Paulino followed and was supposed to pitch three innings, but he threw nearly 40 pitches in the fourth and didn’t come back out.

Paulino, vying for a rotation spot, allowed three hits, two runs and two walks in his one inning. He struck out Ronny Paulino looking on a nasty breaking ball to strand the bases loaded in the fourth. Gary Majewski was roughed up for three hits and four runs in one inning, and Wesley Wright allowed three runs and three hits in one inning.

What they said: “The thing was they didn’t miss too many balls. Is it a cause for concern? You never like it. You just don’t like it, but Wandy is a guy that might not have been hitting his spots and they didn’t miss them. The ball was coming out of his hands fine and he looks good and feels good. It’s not a cause for concern. The guys stayed aggressive with the bats. The conditions aren’t the best, but they [the Marlins] didn’t miss too many balls offensively.” - manager Brad Mills.

What’s next: The Astros hit the road again, making the short trip to Viera, Fla., to face the Washington Nationals at 12:05 CT on Thursday. Roy Oswalt will make his second start of the spring and is expected to go three innings. Also on the roster to pitch are Matt Lindstrom, Tim Byrdak, Jeff Fulchino, Polin Trinidad, Shane Loux, Chia-Jen Lo and Yorman Bazardo.

John Lannan will start for the Nats.

Astro-notes: Right-hander Brandon Lyon will face live hitters Friday for the first time this spring after throwing 30 pitches in a side session Wednesday. He hasn’t faced a hitter this spring after having a cyst drained in his right shoulder in January. “He threw outstanding today,” Mills said. “He picked it up a notch. It was a very positive day, and he’s happy about that, we’re happy about that.” …  Catcher Jason Castro was sent home from Wednesday’s workout with a case of the stomach flu. He’s scheduled to start behind the plate Thursday. … Right-hander Alberto Arias, who strained a muscle in his upper back/shoulder/neck area, will not throw until he’s examined Friday by team doctors in Kissimmee.

Day 9: Pick-offs and rundowns rule the morning

Sunday was the final day Astros pitchers threw living batting practice as right-handers Roy Corcoran, Brian Moehler, Chris Sampson, Gary Majewski, Felipe Paulino, Sammy Gervacio, Alberto Arias, Josh Banks, Bud Norris, Casey Daigle, Matt Nevarez, Chia-Jen Lo and Jose Valdez and left-hander Gustavo Chacin got their work in.

The pitchers will throw lightly in the bullpen over the next three days before Wednesday’s intra-squad game. The Astros open Grapefruit League play Thursday against the Atlanta Braves with right-hander Brett Myers getting the start.

Astros manager Brad Mills came away impressed Sunday with how Bud Norris and Felipe Paulino threw the ball.

Prior to live batting practice, the Astros worked on pick-offs and rundowns with 2010 first-round Draft pick Jiovanni Mier and prospect Jay Austin among those who came over from Minor League mini camp to serve as one of the runners.

“The thing that stood out today is the intensity which we did our pick-offs and rundowns with,” Mills said. “If you don’t have the intensity it’s tough to get anything out of it, and they did a real good job. I was happy that the kids from our mini camp came over and were the base runners, and that helps out a little bit because we’ve got some guys that know how to run the bases a little bit so the guys have to have that intensity.”

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Here the pitching lineups for Wednesday’s seven-inning intrasquad game:

Home team: Brian Moehler, Matt Lindstrom, Shane Loux, Wilton Lopez, Henry Villar, Polin Trinidad, Chia-Jen Lo and Jose Valdez.

Visiting team: Bud Norris, Tim Byrdak, Jeff Fulchino, Yorman Bazardo, Josh Banks, Matt Nevarez, Evan Englebrook and Fernando Abad.

Ed Wade on Paulino, Mier and another drug suspension

Felipe Paulino, the barrel-chested right-hander with the 98-mph fastball and little ability to throw it for strikes, is back with the Astros, and based on the comments made by general manager Ed Wade on Wednesday it appears Paulino better get things ironed out soon.

Paulino is 2-1 with a 3.12 ERA this year at Triple-A Round Rock, but he’s been an enigma at the Major League level since he made his debut with six scoreless innings on the final day of the 2007 season. He’s 4-7 with a 7.24 ERA in 20 career Major League games (14 starts), including 2-6 with a 7.28 ERA this year.

“I think Felipe needs to take advantage of every opportunity he gets to stand 60, 6 inches away from Major League hitters,” Wade said. “He’s got to show that he’s prepared to take advantage of these opportunities. He needs to give us a clear signal going into Spring Training next year that he’s prepared to win a job and hold it for the entire season and help us win.

“He’s got the stuff to do it. It’s not too late, but he’s got to step up and take advantage of this. We see the stuff, but it’s got to come out in whatever role he’s given for the remainder of the season. Right now, it’s a bullpen role.”

When Paulino was sent down Aug. 8, the Astros told him to work on his fastball command. He’s been used in relief and as a starter, and Wade said when he hits Kissimmee next year he better be ready to win a spot. Wade said the careers of Paulino and Fernando Nieve with the Astros were at “high noon” at Spring Training this year, and Nieve was soon cut loose.

“Aside from being out of options, when you’re as big and physical and with the tools Felipe’s got, you want to see it manifest itself on a regular bases from the standpoint of success,” Wade said. “He certainly needs to understand this is the best opportunity he’s going to get for a while and to make the most out of it.”

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Astros general manager Ed Wade returned Monday from a tour of some of the Astros’ Minor League clubs, including short-season Tri-City, rookie-league Greeneville and the new Gulf Coast League team in Kissimmee, Fla.

Wade saw three games in Tri-City and was impressed with left-hander Dallas Keuchel, a seventh-round pick from Arkansas in this year’s Draft. At Greeneville, he lauded the left side of the infield – third baseman Jonathan Myer (third round pick in 2009) and shortstop Jiovanni Mier, the Astros’ No. 1 pick.

Mier is hitting .286 with five homers, 25 RBIs and a .394 on-base percentage in 39 games.

“All indications are this kid is everything we hoped he would be from standpoint of ability, instincts, athleticism, makeup and leadership qualities,” Wade. “One of our guys was having a conversation and trying to make a point to one of our Latin players down there that had minimal English-speaking ability, and Jiovanni stepped right in and took control of the conversation and interpreted for him. We’ve heard a lot of stories like that about him.”

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Left-hander Gabriel Garcia, who was playing for the Greeneville Astros of the Appalachian League (Rookie), was suspended 50 games Wednesday after testing positive in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. He tested positive for metabolites of Nandrolone.

Garcia is the third Minor League player in the Astros’ system this year to receive a 50-game suspension, joining Mitch Einertson at Double-A Corpus Christi and pitcher Felix Ramirez of the Dominican Summer League. Einertson tested positive for a drug of abuse, and Ramirez for Boldenone.

MLB guidelines for “drugs of abuse” stipulate that a player’s first positive test is not subject to an announcement or penalty, while a second violation carries a 50-game ban. Performance-enhancing drug violations, however, carry a 50-game suspension for a first offense.

“I’m always concerned about it,” general manager Ed Wade said. “We try to educate the players as best as we can to avoid being put in those positions, and I think we’ve done a good job with that . Any player who tests positive is making a mistake, so I’m certainly not justifying what anybody has done or what other circumstances develop within our organization.

“That said, I think our numbers are below average for the 30 clubs. But again, as an industry we have to get to a point of zero players testing positive for any type of substances and having zero tolerance for it. If you see enough of your teammates missing 50 games, unless you’re a little dense, the message should be getting through.”

Paulino will start Tuesday if Oswalt can't go

Astros general manager Ed Wade said Saturday right-hander Felipe Paulino would start Tuesday against the Giants if Roy Oswalt can’t pitch. Oswalt, who has been bothered with a lower left back strain, will likely be placed on the 15-day disabled list of he can’t start Tuesday.

Paulino was scheduled to start Saturday at Triple-A Round Rock, but he was scratched in anticipation of perhaps throwing Tuesday. Paulino, who is 2-5 with a 7.04 ERA for the Astros this year, is 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA in five starts at Round Rock.

“He’s going to do a bullpen up there and just be on hold,” Wade said. “If we get word back from Roy on Monday he’s not going to be able to make the start on Tuesday, that probably puts us in a position of having to put him on the disabled list.”

Oswalt would miss only two starts if he’s on the disabled list. He threw 50 pitches off flat ground Saturday in St. Louis and said he felt “20 to 30 percent” better than he did after throwing lightly Friday at 50 percent effort. He threw at 75 percent effort Saturday.
Oswalt said he will get a better idea if he’s going to make the start when he pitches off the mound either Sunday or Monday.

“Throwing off flat ground is great and all, but the biggest test will be when I get on the mound,” Oswalt said. “About the only time you’re 100 percent is in the off-season, so if I get back to 90 percent I’ll be in good shape. The biggest thing is trusting it when you get out there. You don’t want to get in a situation in a game where you’re not going all out and you lose a ballgame. If I think I can get out there and get outs, I can get out there.”

Yorman Bazardo (9-5, 2.98 ERA) has been Round Rock’s top starter this year, but he’s out of options. If the Astros brought him up to make a spot start, he would have to clear waivers to make it back to Round Rock.

“From a logistical standpoint, Paulino was the obvious choice at this stage,” Wade said. “Bazardo was a consideration, but from a roster standpoint he has no options remaining, and if we were to bring Yorman up at that point in time we’re pretty much locked into keeping him. That creates a domino effect when Oswalt comes off the DL and [LaTroy] Hawkins comes off the DL. So we had to sort of look at it in the short term and long term.

“Short term because we may need to cover two starts and long term if you cover with a guy like Bazardo it could impact the structure of the pitching staff and put him in position we have to put him on waivers to get him back down. Every little roster move has ramifications, and we need to try to think these things through.”

Astros health update

Third baseman Geoff Blum, on the disabled list since June 13 with a left hamstring strain, ran in the outfield and did some other agility drills prior to Sunday’s game at the Metrodome. Blum still has about another week before he can be activated and he could go on a Minor League rehab assignment later this week.

Blum did a few sprints, a couple of side-to-side drills, ran a few bases and pretended he was going from first to third and felt fine.

“I’m going to take tomorrow off and come back on Tuesday and so some more running, hopefully take some ground balls,” he said. “Hopefully by Thursday I’ll be able to go out and rehab somewhere.”

Meanwhile, right-hander Felipe Paulino, who threw in the bullpen Saturday, will throw a simulated game on Tuesday and could possibly go on a rehab assignment before returning to the rotation.

Catcher Humberto Quintero was originally scheduled to start Sunday, but he came down with a sore back and was replaced in the lineup by Ivan Rodriguez. Manager Cecil Cooper said if Quintero can’t play, his third catcher is infielder Edwin Maysonet, who has been catching in the bullpen. 

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Speaking of players in the minors, right-hander Geoff Geary isn’t doing so well since arriving at Triple-A Round Rock. He got the win Saturday night against New Orleans, but gave up four runs, four hits and walked two batters in two innings. His ERA is 14.40. 

The pitching star of the night for the Express was Bud Norris, who struck out 10 batters and threw eight scoreless innings, lowering his ERA to 2.11.  

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