Results tagged ‘ Kissimmee ’
Astros pitchers threw their final bullpens Tuesday before facing live hitters. With the full squad set to work out for the first time Wednesday, the pitchers will take a day off from throwing before ratcheting it back up by facing hitters on Thursday – a week before the first Spring Training game.
Manager A.J. Hinch continues to be impressed by how well-prepared his pitchers are this spring.
“I think some of the readiness of the pitchers to get into games or into simulated games has been notable,” he said. “The number of guys that have come in here and told me they threw simulated innings, they’re up and running, there’s not too many guys easing into these bullpens. I don’t know if it surprised me, but it’s a pleasant surprise if I’ve been surprised.”
Hinch said the quality to attention to detail has been good.
“That’s expected at this level,” he said. “I don’t want to dive too much into things being surprising, but I expect a lot because this is the big leagues. Guys are coming and the focus is there and I’m happy with that.”
Before the full squad hits the field on Wednesday, the Astros will hold a team meeting. Hinch will talk to the team, and typically general manager Jeff Luhnow and owner Jim Crane will say a few words as well.
“I’ll have a couple of words for the whole team and then we’ll get on the field,” Hinch said. “I think the tone and the vibe of camp has been good, and I think the pitchers and catchers that have been here will be able to show and live with that, with the position players. There’s some messages to send, some introductions to be made, and then there’s a full-squad workout.”
Quotes of the day
“It’s hard to embarrass a guy who wears a beard like that,” — Hinch joking about singling out bearded Dallas Keuchel in clubhouse.
“I’d prefer no dive. It’s the one thing that we didn’t mention beforehand is we’d like them stay on their feet, but we corrected it afterwards,” — Hinch on 6-7 pitcher Scott Feldman taking all-out dive to try to field a ball during PFPs on Tuesday.
“I know he wants to prepare to play every day. From our early conversations, he doesn’t know what a day off is. That’s fine by me.” — Hinch on Jose Altuve.
Injury report: RHP Brad Peacock (hip surgery) threw 20 fastballs in the bullpen Sunday in his first action since having surgery and is progressing well. … RHP Vincent Velasquez (strained right lat) won’t throw for at least two-to-three weeks. … RHP Josh Fields (left hamstring tightness) threw in the bullpen Tuesday without incident
The day in photos can be found on my new Instagram page: https://instagram.com/brianmctaggartmlb/
Tweet of the day
Astros pitchers and catchers reported for Spring Training on Saturday. Here are some notes, as well as some photos:
White progressing steadily
Right-hander Alex White continues to progress steadily from the Tommy John surgery he underwent nearly a year ago. White threw batting practice Friday, tossing 23 pitches, including some changeups to a few hitters.
“We’re coming along pretty good,” he said. “My off-speed stuff is really good, and I’m waiting on the fastball to come along. I think it will come. We’re really just at 10 months right now. A couple of more months we should be there.”
Off-season work beneficial to Castro
Considering he had more time to work out this off-season, All-Star catcher Jason Castro is coming to camp with his surgically repaired right knee feeling stronger than it was even a year ago.
“I put in a lot of work this off-season and I feel like I put myself in a good spot coming back, even better than I was last year,” he said.
That’s a tremendous sign for Castro, who a year ago at this time said his knee was feeling 100 percent.
“I was able to work out for a longer period this off-season than I ever had,” said Castro, who earned a degree from Stanford in the off-season. “I was back in school pretty much right after the season ended, and I was recovering and doing some rehab stuff. I started my off-season.”
Appel recovering from appendectomy
Astros pitcher Mark Appel is still a little sore, but otherwise on the road to recovery after having to undergo an appendectomy Jan. 30 in Houston.
Appel, who lived with his parents in Houston in the off-season, woke up in the middle of the night and thought he had indigestion. The pain lingered, and he soon rustled his father in his sleep to tell him to take him to the hospital.
“Usually if I have food poisoning, I’ll just grab some Tums or something like that,” he said. “I did that after the first time I threw up, and I woke up again maybe an hour later and the same thing and the pain’s worse. I knew something was up, and I just said, ‘Hey dad, I think we need to go to the emergency room to be sure.’ Sure enough, I had appendicitis. It was pretty crazy.”
Wallace focusing on making roster
The fact that Brett Wallace is in camp this year as a non-roster invitee after being designed for assignment last week doesn’t change his mindset: he’s coming to camp to try to win the starting job at first base.
“It’s something I’ve never been through,” he said. “I had some friends and people you play with go through it. It’s definitely a new process but something that, honestly, I can’t control. In the same aspect, I’m coming in camp to win a job. I’m going to keep my head down and keep working and then whatever is happening with all that, I just try to put it to the side and keep preparing.”
Here are some photos:
Here are some photos taken Thursday of the activity at Osceola County Stadium, which will host Astros Spring Training beginning next week. Photos are courtesy of Kiwi Global Solutions, LLC.
There might not be a more difficult environment to judge pitchers, especially early in camp, than in central Florida. The wind is usually whipping around and bright, sunny skies make tracking fly balls difficult. What does this have to do with pitchers? Astros starter J.A. Happ was victimized by the conditions when left fielder J.D. Martinez lost a fly ball in the sun in the first inning Friday, and right Jason Bourgeois couldn’t quite corral a ball in the fourth as it darted through the wind and the sun’s rays.
Still, Happ was the first to say he needs to pitch around that stuff, and ultimately the outfielders know they need to make those plays. It was just one of those days at the ballpark for the Astros, who lost consecutive games for the first time this spring, 11-2, to the Jays at Osceola County Stadium. You can see the boxscore here.
The big news from camp Friday was the decision by the Astros to keep the pistol on the retro Colt .45s jerseys they will wear twice this year. You can read all about it here, including reaction from an original Colt .45.
Here’s the breakdown:
What went right: Let’s start with two guys coming off injuries — third baseman Jimmy Paredes and catcher Jason Castro.
Castro caught six innings — his longest stint of the spring — and continues to look strong. He went 1-for-2 at the plate with an RBI and a double and threw out the speedy Anthony Gose trying to steal. You remember Anthony Gose, right? He was one of the players the Astros acquired from the Phillies in the Roy Oswalt deal, but they quickly spun him to the Jays for Brett Wallace.
Paredes, meanwhile, made his first start of the spring after nursing a wrist injury and went 1-for-3 with a run scored and three balls that were hit hard, to both fields. He also made a nice defensive play at third base on a bases-loaded dribbler, picking the ball and throwing out the runner at first. He’s going to be fun to watch for sure.
The other Astros hits came off the bats of Brandon Barnes, Carlos Lee, George Springer and Jose Altuve.
Eight Astros pitchers took the mound, and David Carpenter, Wilton Lopez and Wesley Wright each threw a scoreless inning to end the game. Carpenter struck out two batters, and Lopez whiffed all three batters he faced. Wright had one strikeout.
The Astros didn’t commit an error.
What went wrong: Starting pitcher J.A. Happ was shaky and needed 64 pitches to make it through 2 2/3 innings, allowing five hits, three runs and three walks. It’s early and he’s still working on stuff, but Happ would like to see better results. Left fielder J.D. Martinez lost a ball in the sun in the first inning that led to a run, and perhaps both runs Happ allowed.
“With Happ, I would have liked to have seen him stay in control of the [first] inning a little bit,” manager Brad Mills said. “After that first guy gets on, that kind of shook him up a little bit. And then the ball got right in the sun for J.D. and it was kind of tough. At least we were able to talk about it with him and hopefully we can get away from that.”
Brett Myers is trying to build arm strength as he gets geared up to be the closer and allowed three hits and three runs in one inning, throwing a lot of fastballs. He, too, saw an outfielder misplay a fly ball because of the elements, which could have affected his line. Don’t worry about Myers. He’ll be fine.
Aneury Rodriguez was simply just knocked around. Rodriguez had a 1-2-3 fifth inning, striking out a pair, before getting tagged for five hits, five runs and two walks in the sixth as the game got out of hand.
“He had such a good first inning and then lead-off home run got to him and the four-pitch base on balls got him in trouble. All in all, the six walks was a big detriment to what happened today,” Mills said.
At the plate, the Astros were held to six hits. Jordan Schafer, Jason Bourgeois and Brian Bogusevic were 0-for-3.
What they said: “Offensively, their guy [pitcher Henderson Alvarez] was getting head of us throwing quality strikes right away. We still did a pretty good job of having some pretty good at-bats. We did hit quite a few balls hard. I’m trying to look at some of the bright things. We scored two runs, but when you get down like that it takes a lot out of your offense as well.” — Astros manager Brad Mills.
What’s next: Left-hander Zach Duke will state his case to be in the starting rotation when he makes his first start of the spring when the Astros meet the Blue Jays at 12:05 p.m. CT Saturday in Dunedin, Fla. Duke pitched three innings in relief Monday. Jordan Lyles will pitch behind Duke and could go three innings.
Injury update: Catcher Humberto Quintero, who had a cortisone injection into his back on Wednesday to help alleviate the pain from a bulging disk, will catch in the bullpen on Saturday and attempt to block balls and throw on Sunday, with hopes of making his return Monday against the Yankees. … Infielder Angel Sanchez, who has been dealing with back pain, didn’t play in Friday’s game against Toronto as originally planned. Astros manager Brad Mills said he didn’t want to put Sanchez in a game that was out of hand. Mills said the team doctors don’t want Sanchez riding the bus for four hours Saturday when the Astros travel to Dunedin, Fla., to play the Jays, so he plans to have him in the starting lineup Sunday at home against the Tigers. … LHP Sergio Escalona (elbow soreness) continues to play catch.
Here are the photos:
The Astros suffered their first Spring Training loss of the season when the Braves came to Kissimmee and beat them, 10-5, on Monday afternoon. And here I thought they were going to go undefeated. Here’s the boxscore.
Before we get to the breakdown, make sure you read the story of how Brett Wallace and Chris Johnson are pushing each other while they battle for the same spots on the field.
Here’s the breakdown:
WHAT WENT RIGHT: The only Astros pitcher who took the mound and didn’t allow a run was Henry Villar, who gave up one hit in his scoreless innings. Starter Jordan Lyles had a crisp second inning after a tough first inning, and Zach Duke stretched out to three innings and pitched out of trouble a few times.
Relief pitcher Xavier Cedeno struck out three batters in one inning of work around giving up a home run to Dan Uggla.
J.B. Shuck (2-for-2), Jed Lowrie (2-for-2) and Matt Downs (2-for-3), who got a start at third base, led the Astros’ 11-hit attack, which was their most in three spring games. Jordan Schaefer, Jason Bourgeois, J.D. Martinez, Chris Snyder and Joe Thurston also had hits. Jonathan Villar walked twice.
Bogusevic stole two bases. The Astros also turned three double plays. Also, the Astros didn’t strike out in 34 at-bats.
There certainly were plenty of teachable moments for Astros manager Brad Mills, who watched his pitchers allow 13 hits and six walks. The Braves had runners on base in all nine innings, allowing his pitching staff and his defense to see plenty of different situations.
WHAT WENT WRONG: Astros pitchers had trouble finding the strike zone, walking six batters. Lyles endured a 27-pitch first inning and wound up only going two innings, allowing four hits, two runs and one walk. Duke gave up three hits, two walks and one run in three innings.
Rhiner Cruz, the Astros’ Rule 5 pick, made his first appearance and didn’t retire any of the five batters he faced, giving up two hits, four runs (three earned) and two walks. Juan Abreu and Enerio Del Rosario each gave up one hit and one run in one inning of work.
Jack Cust went 0-for-3 and Fernando Martinez went 0-for-2, a day after hitting a three-run home run
WHAT THEY SAID: “There was a lot of defensive things we can take from this game because there were guys on and offensively there are some things we can take from the game. Again, I thought we ran the bases pretty good and were aggressive. Getting to the latter innings, the all-important strike kind of eluded us a little bit.” – Astros manager Brad Mills.
WHAT’S NEXT: First baseman Carlos Lee, who sat out the first three games of the spring season to rest his strained right hamstring, will make his Grapefruit League debut for the Astros against the Mets at 12:05 p.m. Tuesday in Kissimmee. Lefty Wandy Rodriguez will make his first start of the spring for the Astros and is scheduled to pitch three innings.
INJURY UPDATE: Catcher Humberto Quintero (back/hip) is still a few days from getting in the lineup. … Third baseman Jimmy Paredes (wrist) and infielder Angel Sanchez (back) continue to progress and are taking batting practice.
Here is the day in photos:
First baseman Carlos Lee, who was originally in the lineup for Saturday’s Grapefruit League opener against the Nationals, said the mild right hamstring strain that caused him to be scratched isn’t serious and that he’s aiming to be in the lineup Monday against the Braves
“It’s something that happened in the offseason when I was running and I never felt it pull or nothing,” he said. “I was running one afternoon and the next day I woke up and it was kind of sore. I was treating it in Panama, too, and I feel a lot better. I ran yesterday and have been doing some exercises, and it’s feeling pretty good. I didn’t want to push it today. I’ll run some more today and tomorrow and I’m shooting for Monday.”
Astros manager Brad Mills isn’t too worried
“We knew it was like that when he came into camp and we’ve tried to hold off as much as we could as far as testing him, to see if he could play,” he said. “Yesterday, the day before we started playing, we ran him through some pretty good tests and after running through those tests we felt it would be best to give him two more days off. We’ll see how it is after tomorrow and see where he’s at for Monday.”
Meanwhile, catcher Humberto Quintero’s back is acting up again and will keep him out of game action for a couple of days. Quintero was scheduled play Saturday after starter Jason Castro left the game, but Carlos Corporan will get that time instead.
“We’ll probably hold him out of today and tomorrow as well and hopefully we’re able to get him behind the plate on Monday and Tuesday,” Mills said. “We were hoping to get him into the game today after Castro. We’ll hold off on that.”
Mills said third baseman Jimmy Paredes (left wrist) has been cleared to start swinging a bat from the right side of the plate. Infielder Angel Sanchez keeps progressing from his back injury and might begin swinging off a tee on Saturday.
Here is Saturday’s lineup against the Nats:
LF J.B. Shuck
2B Jose Altuve
RF Travis Buck
DH Jack Cust
3B Chris Johnson
SS Jed Lowrie
1B Brett Wallace
CF Jason Bourgeois
C Jason Castro
SP Livan Hernandez
The Astros officially kicked off their new era under new management Monday when pitchers and catchers took the field at Osceola County Stadium for the first workout of Spring Training. Astros manager Brad Mills said everything went as smoothly as could have been expected, as 28 pitchers and seven catchers put in a few hours of work for the first time as a group.
Perhaps the best news for the Astros as they hit the field was that everyone is healthy, including catcher Jason Castro and Brandon Lyon. Castro missed all of last year and Lyon sat out most of the year following surgery.
“I was pleasantly surprised to see the guys in great shape,” Mills said. “The guys did a lot of things this off-season [to stay in shape]. With a lot of new players and a lot of new staff, it was good. I thought they did a good job. Yeah, there are some things they have to tighten up a little bit, but for the most part I thought it was real good.”
The pitchers are broken into six groups, with three groups throwing in the bullpen each day. Among those getting on the mound Monday were J.A. Happ, Jordan Lyles, Brett Myers, Zach Duke, Wesley Wright and Henry Sosa.
The position players won’t work out as a group until Sunday. Among those who showed up at camp Monday were Jordan Schafer, Jose Altuve, Chris Johnson, Jed Lowrie, Jimmy Paredes, Brett Wallace, Brian Bogusevic, Jack Cust, Jake Goebbert, J.D. Martinez, J.B. Shuck and George Springer.
For a complete rundown of the day’s news, click here.
For a video package with interviews with Jim Crane, Jeff Luhnow and Brad Mills, click here.
Here is Day 1 in pictures:
There is no official “reporting” date to Spring Training as there has been in years past, but several players were at Osceola County Stadium on Sunday — one day ahead of the first workout for pitchers and catchers.
J.A. Happ and fellow starting pitcher Bud Norris were among a handful of players to seize the opportunity to get on the back fields and play catch. Also working out Sunday were pitchers Lucas Harrell, Fernando Rodriguez, Wesley Wright, David Carpenter, outfielder Jake Goebbert and catcher Jason Castro.
Other who were in camp Sunday: Chris Snyder, Jack Cust, Zach Duke and Jorge De Leon.
“There’s going to be a lot of competition for positions, but it’s always going to be good just to see everybody again,” Happ said. “It’s good to have a little time off, but after so long everybody is going to be ready to get going again.”
The Astros will have 63 players in camp this year, including 23 non-roster players. The pitchers and catchers will take their physicals prior to Monday’s workout.
“We’ve been in Houston so long, champing at the bit,” said infielder Brett Wallace, who reported well ahead of the Feb. 26 first workout for position players. “Getting in last night and getting the chance to get in there, it’s like reality that it’s about to start. I think we’re all excited to get going this year.”
The Astros have more jobs up for grabs than any camp in recent memory. The top three spots in the rotation are decided, with Wandy Rodriguez, Brett Myers and Norris returning, and Carlos Lee (first base), J.D. Martinez (left field), Jose Altuve (second base) and newcomer Jed Lowrie (shortstop) likely to be in the Opening Day lineup.
“We’ve got to come in here and be positive, and that’s our No. 1 priority,” Norris said. “A lot went on last year besides playing baseball that kind of had us living in limbo land with the ownership, but finally we got that settled and I’m sure [new owner Jim] Crane is going to have an opportunity to talk to us and we’re going to have an opportunity to talk to him. It’s a fresh start. That’s what we needed.”
Veteran relief pitcher Brandon Lyon, who underwent surgery last year to repair the detachment of his right biceps tendon and to also mend a tear in his labrum, was understandably eager to get to Kissimmee. Lyon has been throwing off the mound at home and said he comes to camp with no limitations.
“I’ve thrown a few times off the mound, which is kind of rare for me coming into Spring Training,” he said. “I usually don’t throw too much, but I felt like I had to throw a couple of times and get on the mound and see where I’m at. I’m actually pretty happy where I’m at. I feel like I’m ahead of where I usually am right now.”
Catcher Jason Castro, who missed all of last season with a serious knee injury and underwent foot surgery two months ago, reported to camp on Sunday in good shape. He underwent surgery Dec. 9 to remove the sesamoid bone from his foot after injuring it playing in the Arizona Fall League and sat out all of last season after undergoing surgery to repair a large tear in the meniscus and having a reconstruction of the right ACL.
“I feel really good health-wise,” Castro said. “I’ll be ready to go. That’s a big reason why I’m excited. I wasn’t sure how the whole rehab process was going to go, but everything has gone really well. That makes me even more excited to get going, knowing I’m healthy.”
Here are some photos from Sunday:
Astros manager Brad Mills, who arrived at the team’s Spring Training complex in Kissimmee, Fla., on Monday, was roaming around the back fields at Osceola County Stadium on Wednesday morning, taking in the start of a sunny, 80-degree day in central Florida.
Mills said several players were already at the facility working out, including Travis Buck, J.B. Shuck, Henry Sosa, Humberto Quintero, Angel Sanchez and Brian Bixler. Pitchers and catchers will work out collectively for the first time Monday, and the first full-squad workout is scheduled for Feb.26.
“I wanted to get down here and check out the complex and walk around it and make sure everything is ready for us when we start on Monday,” Mills said. “We’ve got about seven or eight guys working out and taking BP and stuff on the field, and I thought I’d walk around and say hello and see how they’re doing. It’s kind of neat. The fields are in pretty good shape, and it’s beautiful.”
Mills expects the remainder of his coaching staff to arrive on Friday, and the staff will have meetings on Saturday and Sunday in advance of the start of camp. Mills, entering his third year as manager of the Astros, has been talking frequently with new bench coach Joe Pettini, who joins the Astros this year after 10 years in St. Louis.
“We’ve spent a lot of time on the phone going over a lot of things,” Mills said. “I think the [Spring Training workout] format is going to change because he’s done things differently. I don’t expect any problems at all. Joe and I have talked many times on the phone and it’s all gone really well.”
We are a little more than a week away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Astros spring camp in Kissimmee, Fla. There are currently 61 players on the spring roster, including 21 non-roster invitees. Below is the current spring roster, with non-roster players listed in italics:
PITCHERS (22 on 40-man + 6 non-roster)
58 Fernando Abad (L)
68 Juan Abreu
28 David Carpenter
63 Xavier Cedeno (L)
72 Paul Clemens
73 Rhiner Cruz
71 Jorge De Leon
66 Enerio Del Rosario
21 Zach Duke (L)
52 Sergio Escalona (L)
30 J.A. Happ (L)
64 Lucas Harrell
— Livan Hernandez
69 Arcenio Leon
59 Wilson Lopez
41 Jordan Lyles
37 Brandon Lyon
39 Brett Myers
20 Bud Norris
60 Lance Pendleton
62 Aneury Rodriguez
43 Fernando Rodriguez
51 Wandy Rodriguez (L)
65 Henry Sosa
67 Jose Valdez
74 Henry Villar
56 Kyle Weiland
53 Wesley Wright (L)
15 Jason Castro (L)
22 Carlos Corporan (S)
55 Humberto Quintero
18 Chris Snyder
27 Jose Altuve
12 Brian Bixler
93 Delino DeShields Jr.
16 Matt Downs
70 Marwin Gonzalez (S)
13 Diory Hernandez
23 Chris Johnson
45 Carlos Lee
4 Jed Lowrie (S)
46 Scott Moore (L)
38 Jimmy Paredes (S)
36 Angel Sanchez
75 Jonathan Singleton (L)
3 Joe Thurston (L)
76 Jonathan Villar (S)
29 Brett Wallace (L)
95 Brandon Barnes
19 Brian Bogusevic (L)
6 Travis Buck (L)
11 Jason Bourgeois
9 Jack Cust (L)
77 Jake Goebbert (L)
50 Fernando Martinez (L)
14 J.D. Martinez
— Justin Ruggiano
1 Jordan Schafer (L)
47 Brad Snyder (L)
8 J.B. Shuck (L)
94 George Springer