Results tagged ‘ Livan Hernandez ’

Hernandez surprised by release from Astros

Livan Hernandez told MLB.com on Friday he was surprised by the Astros decision to release him. The veteran right-hander signed with Houston on Jan. 31 and appeared to have a great shot of landing a rotation spot before struggling in the spring.

“Yeah, it was surprising,” he said. “It’s a business and it’s baseball. I was very surprised when this happened. It’s tough to pitch like that, too. It’s the decision they made and I’m very happy for the chance. There’s a lot of good people in the organization, a lot of good young players and great people. Everyone in the organization is very professional.”

The two-time All-Star made five starts for the Astros during Spring Training, going 1-2 with a 5.63 ERA in 16 innings. In his 16-year career, the durable Hernandez has led the league in innings pitched three times and in games started twice. He’s never been on the disabled list.

Hernandez said he would like to keep playing.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen,” he said. “There’s 30 teams in the league. I’m 37 years old and I don’t want to retire. I never have been hurt in my career, so why do I have to retire if I feel good?”

With Hernandez out of the mix, the Astros now have three young pitchers battling for the final two spots in the rotation – Jordan Lyles, Kyle Weiland and Lucas Harrell, who pitched five strong innings earlier this week to bolster his chances.

The Astros have 33 players left in camp, including Sergio Escalona (who will miss the whole season after undergoing Tommy John surgery):

Here are the players in Astros camp (non-roster players in italics):

Pitchers –Fernando Abad (LHP), David Carpenter, Rhiner Cruz, Sergio Escalona (LHP), J.A. Happ (LHP), Lucas Harrell, Wilton Lopez, Jordan Lyles, Brandon Lyon, Brett Myers, Bud Norris, Fernando Rodriguez, Wandy Rodriguez (LHP), Henry Sosa, Kyle Weiland, Wesley Wright (LHP).

Catchers — Jason Castro, Carlos Corporan, Landon Powell, Chris Snyder.

Infielders — Jose Altuve, Matt Downs, Marwin Gonzalez, Chris Johnson, Carlos Lee, Jed Lowrie, Brett Wallace.

Outfielders — Brian Bogusevic, Travis Buck, J.D. Martinez, Justin Ruggiano, Jordan Schafer, J.B. Shuck.

Rotation battle whittled to four

Astros manager Brad Mills identified four candidates Tuesday morning who remain in the mix for the team’s final two spots in the starting pitching rotation: right-handers Kyle Weiland, Jordan Lyles and Livan Hernandez and left-hander Zach Duke. The team isn’t saying it, but Hernandez appears to be a lock, leaving Weiland, Lyles and Duke for the final spot.

Mills said right-handers Lucas Harrell and Henry Sosa are being looked at in bullpen roles.

“Because they haven’t been getting the [starts], I don’t know if you can put them in the mix right now over those other four guys,” Mills said. “If they were to show something and light our eyes they might throw themselves back into that mix, but we’re looking at spots in the bullpen as well. Or if they do something we feel would warrant them to get back into the mix, then we’ll put them right back into the mix.”

Mills expects nothing to be decided until end of camp.

“The way we’re going about it is allowing us to look at them almost to the end of camp,” he said. “There’s no doubt we’ve already seen quite a bit from those guys and we’re forming opinions as we move forward because we’ve been able to see quite a bit of them. We want it to go as long as possible so we can have as much information to make the best decision.”

– CF Jordan Schafer, who sprained his left wrist two days ago, feels better, Mills said. He’s still several days away from getting back to action.

– C Humberto Quintero will catch the second half of today’s game against the Cardinals, following Chris Snyder.

– RHP David Carpenter and Fernando Rodriguez will pitch in a Minor League game today.

– Infield Joe Thurston made his first start of the spring against the Cardinals at second base. He was also scheduled to start in the morning B game, also at second base.

Here is the Astros’ lineup for Tuesday’s 12:05 p.m. CT game against the Cardinals, which can be seen on FS Houston and heard on 790 AM.

CF Jason Bourgeois

SS Jed Lowrie

RF Brian Bogusevic

1B Carlos Lee

DH Jack Cust

3B Chris Johnson

LF Justin Ruggiano

C Chris Snyder

2B Joe Thurston

—-

RHP Jordan Lyles

Game 6: Bats go silent against Nationals

The Grapefruit League championship express was derailed Thursday afternoon in an 8-0 loss to the Nationals in Viera, Fla., as the Astros fell to 4-2 this spring. Here’s the boxscore.

For the news of the day, including Astros GM talking about his apology to the Rangers and the Astros announcing they’ll decide Friday whether to have the pistol on their Colt .45s retro uniforms, click here.

Here’s the breakdown:

What went right: Jason Castro played in consecutive games for the first time this spring, going 1-for-3 at designated hitter one day after catching five innings. Even when he’s not catching, the Astros are going to take advantage of the DH to try to get him as many at-bats as possible.

Infielder Jimmy Paredes made his spring debut and struck out as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning from the left side of the plate. He’s scheduled to start Friday against the Blue Jays.

In addition to Castro, the only other hits were by Fernando Martinez and Chris Snyder. The Astros also didn’t commit an error once again.

On the the mound, the Astros got scoreless innings from pitchers Henry Villar and Fernando Abad, who drew heaps of praise for manager Brad Mills for the way he was able to make adjustments. Abad was all the rage a year ago after a strong winter ball outing, but he had a terrible spring. Mills said he’s pitching like he did in 2010, which is a great sign for the lefty.

Mills also lauded Lucas Harrell, who threw 1 2/3 innings of scoreless, hitless relief. Mills said the ball was exploding out of his hand.

What went wrong: Livan Hernandez allowed three hits, two runs, including a homer, and two walks and struck out two batters in 2 1/3 innings in his second spring start. He left the game after being struck on the right leg by a grounder off the bat of Ryan Zimmerman, but the injury isn’t serious. Here’s what Hernandez had to say about it.

Right-hander Henry Sosa was roughed up, allowing seven hits and five runs in two innings.

“It’s a little puzzling because his command is usually pretty good,” Mills said. “We’re going to go back and discuss it and look at the charts and go from there and talk to him a little bit more. Usually, he’s much better of a command-type pitcher than he was today.”

The Astros were held to three hits, with J.B. Shuck, Marwin Gonzalez and Carlos Lee each going 0-for-3. When asked about the team’s offensive performance, Mills gave credit to Nationals starter Edwin Jackson, who threw four scoreless innings and struck out three batters.

What they said: “I felt good. The wind was crazy and there was the fly ball to right field [Zimmerman’s homer]. More important, I feel better than the first time. The breaking ball is better today and the changeup breaks very good. The sinker is working very good, too. I’m trying to work every day and am getting better and better. I feel good today.” — Astros pitcher Livan Hernandez on his outing.

What’s next: Jimmy Paredes, who started at third base for the Astros the final two months of the season, is scheduled to make his Grapefruit League debut when the Astros face the Toronto Blue Jays at 12:05 p.m. CT Friday in Kissimmee. Paredes has been bothered by left wrist inflammation since the winter. Left-hander J.A. Happ will start for Houston, making his second appearance of the spring. Brett Myers, Wesley Wright, David Carpenter and Aneury Rodriguez are also scheduled to pitch.

Injury update: Catcher Humberto Quintero was diagnosed with a bulging disk, which has been causing discomfort in his right hip. He had a cortisone shot in Houston on Wednesday and was back in Kissimmee playing catch Thursday. He could catch in the bullpen Saturday, but he probably won’t swing a bat until next week. … Shortstop Angel Sanchez (back) is progressing, but remains sidelined. … Infielder Jimmy Paredes (wrist) made his first Spring Training appearance Thursday and struck out swinging from the left side of the plate. He’s scheduled to make his first start Friday against Toronto and will come off the injury update. … Right-hander Livan Hernandez was hit on the right leg by a grounder Thursday and left the game, but he said it isn’t serious.

Here is the day in photos:

Livan Hernandez laughs as he jokes with former teammates across the field.

Astros pitcher Henry Sosa laughs while awaiting stretch.

Carlos Lee plays catch.

No catching gear required for Castro. He was the DH on Thursday.

Brad Mills shows off his arm by throwing BP.


Game 1: Castro’s return, Johnson’s homer thrill Astros

The Astros began Grapefruit League action on Saturday afternoon at warm and windy Osceola County Stadium by beating the Washington Nationals, 3-1, behind strong efforts from seven different pitchers and a two-run homer by Chris Johnson.

Here’s the breakdown:

What went right: You have to start with health. Catcher Jason Castro made his return from a pair of injuries, including a torn ACL that cost him all of last season, and caught three innings and threw out a runner trying to steal. More importantly, Castro says he felt fine. That’s great news for the Astros. Brandon Lyon pitched in a game for the first time since June 13 and threw a scoreless inning.

Astros pitchers didn’t walk any batters, which is a rare feat in a Spring Training game in which you had seven pitchers take the mound. Livan Hernandez and Kyle Weiland threw two scoreless innings, and Brett Myers, Fernando Abad, Brandon Lyon, Wesley Wright and Wilton Lopez each threw a scoreless inning.

Hernandez is relishing the chance to mentor the Astros young staff.

Myers gave up the only run of the game for the Astros, but he appeared to have struck Jesus Flores out on an 0-2 pitch before Flores hit an RBI double. Myers and the Astros were a poor call away from a possible shutout.

At the plate, Chris Johnson gave the Astros all the offense they needed with a two-run homer. It’s a great start for Johnson, who is trying to win the Opening Day third base job. With Jimmy Paredes nursing a sore wrist, Johnson is taking advantage of his opportunity early.

Elsewhere, J.B. Shuck had a hit and – surprise! – a walk, and Jose Altuve, Jed Lowrie (triple) and Jason Bourgeois had hits. The Astros didn’t commit an error.

What went wrong: Well, nothing really. When you don’t walk any batters, don’t make any errors, win the game and escape healthy, it’s a good day.

What they said: “We always talk about going up there and having good at-bats and making good contact. When it went over the fence, that was a plus. It’s definitely a good start, but it’s only one at-bat. I have to keep going.” – third baseman Chris Johnson on his two-run, fourth-inning homer of Washington’s Ross Detwiler.

What’s next: Left-hander J.A. Happ makes his first start of the Grapefruit League season when the Astros travel to Viera, Fla., to play the Nationals on Sunday at 12:05 p.m. CT (the game will be broadcast on MLB.TV). Among the players expected to be in the lineup for the first time for Houston are Chris Snyder, Brian Bogusevic and J.D. Martinez.

Injury update: Carlos Lee (mild right hamstring strain) is expected to be in the lineup Monday. … Catcher Humberto Quintero (right leg) is day-to-day. … Third baseman Jimmy Paredes (left wrist) has been cleared to swing a bat from the left side of the plate. … Infielder Angel Sanchez (back) is making steady progress but isn’t game ready.

Here are the photos:

Livan Hernandez catches up with some old teammates.

Bench coach Joe Pettini skies some pop ups during morning drills.

Chris Johnson and Jason Michaels catch up.

Carlos Lee and Chris Johnson talk at the cage.

Jose Altuve prepares to take a cut.

Jason Castro makes contact.

Brandon Barnes signs autographs.

Mills sporting a black eye and a new watch

The Astros worked out on the stadium field at the Osceola County Stadium complex for the first time Friday morning in anticipation of Saturday’s Grapefruit League opener against the Washington Nationals.

Before the players began to stretch, manager Brad Mills addressed the team and lauded non-roster outfielder Brandon Barnes for presenting him earlier in the morning with a Transformers watch. Mills’ watch was shattered and he suffered a black eye Wednesday when a ball came through the netting behind the cage and struck him.

“That’s pretty good for a young kid to do that,” Mills said. “I told the guys if we screw up on the time today, it’s Brandon’s fault, because of the Transformers watch.”

Here’s the latest on the Astros:

  • LHP Sergio Escalona, who injured his throwing elbow swinging a bat last week, will be shut down for a few days, Mills said. Escalona had an MRI on Thursday, which showed no structural damage.
  • Mills announced the next two starters in his rotation following Livan Hernandez (Saturday), J.A. Happ (Sunday) and Jordan Lyles (Monday).  Wandy Rodriguez will start Tuesday against the Mets, and Bud Norris will start Wednesday against the Phillies in Clearwater.
  • Among the relievers scheduled to pitch behind Hernandez on Saturday are Brett Myers and Brandon Lyon, who will be pitching in a game for the first time since May. Myers will throw one inning in his debut as Astros closer (he won’t pitch the ninth, however).
  • The batting order has yet to be announced, but Mills revealed his starters for Saturday’s game against the Nats: Chris Johnson (third base), Jed Lowrie (shortstop), Jose Altuve (second base), Carlos Lee (first base), J.B. Shuck (left field), Jason Bourgeois (center field), Travis Buck (right field), Castro (catcher) and Jack Cust (DH).
  • Third baseman Jimmy Paredes, who’s nursing a sore left wrist, took batting practice left-handed Thursday, but is still not cleared to swing right from the right side of the plate.
  • Castro, who missed all of last year following knee surgery and then had foot surgery in December, will catch only three innings Saturday. Mills said he’d like Castro to catch three more innings Monday and then perhaps four on Wednesday, depending on how he feels.

Players gather to stretch on the stadium field for the first time

Astros reach deal with veteran Hernandez

The Astros added more pitching depth Tuesday by reaching an agreement on a Minor League contract with right-hander Livan Hernandez, a veteran of 16 Major League seasons. The deal includes an invite to Spring Training.

Hernandez, who will be 37 next month, has played for seven different teams, going 8-13 with a 4.47 ERA in 29 starts (175 1/3) innings for the Nationals last year.

“Any time you get a chance to bring an experienced Major League veteran, you’ve got to consider it,” Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said. “He brings a lot to us in terms of a veteran presence in the clubhouse and his ability to pitch a lot of innings and give our team a chance to stay in games, and that’s really a big part of why we wanted to do it.

“Also, he allows us to have more options and flexibility in terms of who’s in the rotation to start the year and maybe not have to rush some younger kids that may or not be ready. It’s really about depth for us. You can’t have enough starting pitching.”

Hernandez is a durable innings-eater who has topped 200 innings in his career 10 times, most recently with the Washington Nationals in 2010. He has a career record of 174-176 with a 4.39 ERA while pitching for Florida (1996-99), San Francisco (1999-2002), Montreal/Washington (2003-2006, 2009-11), Arizona (2006-07), Minnesota (2008), Colorado (2008) and the New York Mets (2009).

He was named the World Series Most Valuable Player for the Marlins in 1997 and made the All-Star team in 2004 and 2005. A workhorse, he’s led the league in innings pitched three times: 2004-05. He’s thrown more than 50,000 pitches in his career.

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