Results tagged ‘ spring Training ’

Day 2: Youth is served at Astros camp

As positions players continue to trickle in to Astros camp, the club welcomed former No. 1 overall Draft pick Carlos Correa into the fold on Monday. Correa showed up two days ahead of the reporting date for position players and took batting practice with a large group of players.

“It feels great,” Correa said. “It’s a whole new experience for me, being out here with these kinds of players in big league camp. It’s a really good experience for me, something unbelievable.”

Correa joins fellow former No. 1 overall pick – pitcher Mark Appel, who was taken with the top stop last year – and top prospects George Springer and Mike Foltynewicz in camp this year. It’s the first Major League camp for all but Springer.

“They get an opportunity to participate in Major League Spring Training and get around Major League players that have experience, who have been productive at this level,” manager Bo Porter said. “I actually think it can only speed up their learning curve to be around veteran guys who have done the job in which one day they aspire to do.”

Among the other position players showing up at camp Monday were outfielder L.J. Hoes and designated hitter Chris Carter.

Check out later today for more information on these items:

  • RHP Alex White threw his third session of live batting practice since undergoing Tommy John surgery nearly a year.
  • RHP Jesse Crain gave an update on where stands following biceps tendon surgery in October.
  • OF Delino DeShields was all smiles Monday, one day after his younger sister, Diamond, scored 38 points for the University of North Carolina in a win over North Carolina State.

Now the day in pictures:

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Dallas Keuchel

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Pitching coach Brent Strom watches Peter Moylan

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Brett Oberholtzer

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Carlos Correa

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Bo Porter signs autographs

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Alex White throws live BP

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Carlos Correa

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Jose Altuve

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Brett Wallace

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1B coach Tarrik Brock and Dexter Fowler

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George Springer

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Carlos Correa

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Bo Porter jokes with George Springer


Day 1: Porter gets first look at pitchers

We wait all winter for Spring Training, and the first day of workouts is usually anti-climatic. That can be good news considering it means no one got injured and everyone showed up on time, so the fact there was no news coming off the back fields at Osceola Country Stadium on Sunday was definitely good news for the Astros.

Three groups of pitchers got on the mound for the first time, including Scott Feldman, Brad Peacock and Chad Qualls, while all the pitchers worked on fielding practice. Meanwhile, position players who have reported early — a group that’s approaching 20 — hit in the cages and then took batting practice on the back fields. That included newcomer Dexter Fowler, who showed up at camp Sunday to meet his new team.

“This is a time where we have several new guys in camp and I wanted to try to place eyes on as many of the new guys as possible,” said Astros manager Bo Porter, who wandered around the fields. “When you look at the groups, they’re split up to a point where it allows me the opportunity to rove and get to see some bullpens in certain groups and get to see PFP [pitcher fielding practice] in some of the other groups.”

Porter stressed to the pitchers earlier in the day to not try to do too much on the first day. No one is going to make the club throwing in the bullpen.

“The last thing you want is a guy to come out here and try to impress and end up blowing out in the bullpen and not even in a game where the competition is taking place,” Porter said. “I thought the guys did a good job of being as crisp as you could without being 100 percent as far as effort goes, as far as letting the ball go. That’s what you want in your first bullpen session.”

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Scott Feldman in bullpen

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Brad Peacock in bullpen

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Bo Porter models a new look

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Jason Stoffel fires one high

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J.D. Martinez signs autographs

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Bobby Doran works on fielding

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Paul Clemens throws to first

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Dallas Keuchel fields a comebacker

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Delino DeShields Jr. signs autographs

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Jose Altuve takes BP for first time

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Dexter Fowler takes BP from left side


Veteran leadership key as workouts begin

Prior to Astros pitchers and catchers taking the field for the first time Sunday morning on the back fields at Osceola County Stadium, manager Bo Porter met with a group of veteran pitchers he identified as being the leaders of the staff.

Porter sat down with Lucas Harrell, Scott Feldman, Chad Qualls, Matt Albers, Jesse Crain, Jerome Williams and Peter Moylan and told them he wants them to set a good example for the youngsters. They’ll also be involved in some of the morning meetings.

“You look at that group, and it’s guys that had success at the Major League level, they’re veteran guys,” Porter said. “I explained to them, ‘We’re not looking for one leader. We’re looking for a group of leaders.’ This is an unusual situation. A lot of those guys have come here from other organizations. Chad and Albers are a little bit different because they were here at one time and came back. Lucas has been here.

“I wanted to stress to them that this organization and where we’re at right now, it’s not like we have the [Craig] Biggios, the [Jeff] Bagwells, the guys that have been here for many years and you can say, ‘Hey, follow these guys. They know the Astros way.’ We are in the process of creating the Astros way, and our younger guys, I want to make sure they’re following the right people.

“I stressed that to our veteran guys. When you are a young players – and we’ve all been there before – you look around the clubhouse and say, ‘Wow, this guy’s been here 10 years. I wonder how he’s been able to accomplish that?’ Because you’re young, you’re impressionable and you’re going to watch that guy and watch that every move. I told those guys, ‘You will do more by whatever it is you do than you do than by whatever it is that you say.’ So make sure that your actions match what it is you’re saying each and every day.”

While the pitchers did their morning stretch work, Porter emphasized how happy he was that camp was finally underway following an offseason full of roster moves.

“I probably looked at the roster 1,000 times,” he said. “That’s what you do each and every day. You go to the ballpark and sit up at night and you think about the players. It’s good to have the group of talented guys we have here, but more importantly it’s good to be out here and getting started with the 2014 season.”

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Clemens and Moylan emerge

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Harrell heads to field

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Wojciechowski walks to field

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Castro gets in gear

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Rhiner Cruz

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Qualls is back in Kissimmee

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Porter talks with Appel and Stassi

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Corporan mugs for the camera

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Pitchers do morning exercises

Astros pitchers and catchers report to Kissimmee

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:

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Jeff Luhnow, Jesse Crain, Peter Moylan

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Doug Brocail, Peter Moylan

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Josh Zeid throws to C.J. Lo

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Astros have names on the backs of spring jerseys this year

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George Springer tries on his new helmet

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Jason Castro hugs Matt Dominguez as Brett Wallace stands near

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Jason Castro talks to reporters

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Jason Castro finding new storage space

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Jerome Williams does jumping jacks

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Paul Clemens throws to Nick Tropeano

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Jonathan Villar

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Matt Albers and Nick Tropeano

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Jarred Cosart tries on new hat with help from Steve Perry

Astros Spring Training schedule

Houston Astros 2014 Spring Training Schedule

Day, Date, Opponent (road site), Time ET

Friday, Feb. 28, at Atlanta (Lake Buena Vista), 6:05 p.m.

Saturday, March 1, at Detroit (Lakeland), 1:05 p.m.

Sunday, March 2, vs. Atlanta (SS), 1:05 p.m.

Monday, March 3, at Miami (Jupiter), 1:05 p.m.

Tuesday, March 4 at New York Mets (Port St. Lucie), 1:10 p.m.

Wednesday, March 5, Detroit, 1:05 p.m.

Thursday, March 6, New York Mets, 1:05 p.m.

Friday, March 7, at Washington (Viera), 1:05 p.m.

Saturday, March 8, New York Yankees, 1:05 p.m./at Philadelphia (SS) (Clearwater), 1:05 p.m.

Sunday, March 9, Toronto, 1:05 p.m.

Monday, March 10, at Washington (Viera), 1:05 p.m.

Tuesday, March 11, OFF

Wednesday, March 12, Washington, 1:05 p.m.

Thursday, March 13, at Toronto (Dunedin), 1:05 p.m.

Friday, March 14, St. Louis, 1:05 p.m.

Saturday, March 15, at Detroit (Lakeland), 1:05 p.m.

Sunday, March 16, Washington (SS), 1:05 p.m.

Monday, March 17, Atlanta, 1:05 p.m.

Tuesday, March 18, at Miami (at Jupiter) 1:05 p.m.

Wednesday, March 19, at Washington (at Viera) 6:05 p.m.

Thursday, March 20, Philadelphia (SS), 1:05 p.m.

Friday, March 21, Miami, 1:05 p.m.

Saturday, March 22, St. Louis, 1:05 p.m.

Sunday, March 23, at St. Louis (Jupiter), 1:05 p.m.

Monday, March 24, at Atlanta (Lake Buena Vista), 6:05 p.m.

Tuesday, March 25, OFF

Wednesday, March 26, New York Mets, 6:05

Thursday, March 27, OFF

Friday, March 28, vs. Texas, San Antonio, 7:05 p.m.

Saturday, March 29, vs. Veracruz of Mexico, Minute Maid Park, 6:10 p.m./ vs. Texas, San Antonio, 1:05 p.m.

Sunday, March 30, Veracruz of Mexico, Minute Maid Park, 1:10 p.m.

Astros ready to break camp in Kissimmee

Philip Humber arrives at clubhouse

Philip Humber arrives at clubhouse

The players filed into the Major League clubhouse at Osceola County Stadium on Thursday morning like they’ve done so many times the past seven weeks, this time wearing slacks and sports coats and pulling large suitcases stuffed with clothes. The last day of Spring Training has been circled on the calendar for quite a while, especially for those players who have been in Kissimmee for nearly two months.

The Astros have split-squad games Thursday against the Tigers in Kissimmee and Braves in Lake Buena Vista, but they will be one team when they board the team charter this evening and fly to Houston. Several of the Astros’ top Minor League players are heading to Texas with the Major League club to play in this weekend’s games against the Cubs, including Carlos Correa, Jonathan Singleton, George Springer and Delino DeSheids Jr.

No one is more excited to get home than veterans like Wesley Wright, who are eager to put on the Astros’ new uniforms and play before the home crowd. The Astros will play the Cubs at 7:05 p.m. CT on Friday night at Minute Maid Park and 1:05 p.m. Saturday before opening the season against the Rangers on Sunday at 7:05 p.m. on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. Bud Norris will make his first Opening Day start against the Astros, facing Texas lefty Matt Harrrison

“I’m actually pretty anxious myself,” Wright said. “It’s been a little bit of a long Spring Training and I know everybody else is ready to get out of here and play some games that actually count towards the overall goal. We’ve had a good spring so far and that’s a good starting point. There’s a bigger picture out there we have to take care of and we’re excited to get started.”

Designated hitter Carlos Pena, who signed with the Astros in the offseason, is eager to get to Houston.

“We value the time we have here to get ready for the season, but I think everyone is looking forward to getting it going,” he said. “It’s part of the whole process, you know? It’s about time for us to move over to Minute Maid and play a couple of games and get ready for the season. I don’t think anyone is eager to rush it, but at the same time we’re glad we’re moving to the next step.”

Astros lineup vs. Tigers in Kissimmee:

2B Jose Altuve

CF Rick Ankiel

DH Carlos Pena

LF Chris Carter

1B Jonathan Singleton

RF Fernando Martinez

C Jason Castro

3B Matt Dominguez

SS Ronny Cedeno

RHP Philip Humber

Astros lineup vs. Braves in Lake Buena Vista:

RF Brandon Barnes

1B Brett Wallace

CF Justin Maxwell

3B Brandon Laird

C Carlos Corporan

LF Trevor Crowe

SS Marwin Gonzalez

2B Jose Martinez

DH Preston Tucker

RHP Lucas Harrell

Game 25: Astros club 4 homers to back pitching

What happened: The Astros slugged four homers, including two by backup catcher Carlos Corporan, and got solid pitching from Lucas Harrell, Hector Ambriz and Brad Peacock to beat the Tigers, 7-2, on Thursday night at Joker Marchant Stadium (boxscore).

What we learned: C Carlos Corporan is feeling as good as he has all spring at the plate, and he might even be swinging the best bat of his career. The switch-hitting backup backstop blasted two homers — one off Justin Verlander and the other off Al Albuquerque.

“You can mature in the game and you get to know your swing and you learn,” Corporan said. “You can learn what the pitcher is trying to do. My swing has always been there and now I have more experience and figured out what they’re trying to do to me. I feel more mature.”

What we learned II: The Astros are going to have a tough decision to make when it comes to deciding the final two spots in the rotation. The club’s off-season mission of adding starting pitching depth worked, and with a week to go in camp, RHPs Brad Peacock, Alex White and Edgar Gonzalez and LHP Erik Bedard are all pitching well down the wire. Peacock worked three scoreless innings in relief Thursday.

“I felt good,” he said. “I was getting in better counts and I threw strikes. That’s all I wanted to accomplish, and that’s what I did. I threw good tonight, and hopefully I opened some eyes.”

What else: IF Brandon Laird was thrown into the game when Brett Wallace left with a pinched nerve in his neck, and he smacked his fifth homer of the spring to tie C Jason Castro for the team lead. … 3B Matt Dominguez continues to swing a good bat this spring, going 2-for-4 with a homer to improve his batting average to .314. … The Astros turned double plays in the second and sixth innings. … RF Rick Ankiel showed off his arm, throwing out a runner at third base in the fifth inning. … The Astros didn’t make an error.

What went wrong: Other than Wallace leaving with a mild injury, it was a near flawless night for the Astros.

What they said: “We don’t have a good team on paper, but on talent I think we have a really, really good team. We have a lot of people who can change the game with one swing. That’s going to be my goal this year, trying to keep it two or three runs per game and I know someone is going to turn on one. That’s the big difference between this year and last year.” — Astros backup C Carlos Corporan.

What’s next: RHP Bud Norris, who was named as the club’s Opening Day starter on Wednesday, gets the start for the Astros when they face the Cardinals at 12:05 p.m. Friday at Osceola County Stadium. RHP Jose Veras, who just helped the Dominican Republic win the World Baseball Classic, is scheduled to get back on the mound for the Astros for the first time since March 1.

Who’s injured: OF Fernando Martinez (lower back strain) is day-to-day. … 1B Brett Wallace (pinched nerve in neck/upper back) is day-to-day. … RHP Edgar Gonzalez (bruised shin) took a liner off his shin during a Triple-A game on Thursday and is day-to-day.

Tweet of the day:

Links of the day:

The day in photos:

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Steve Sparks shows off his grip to Tony DeFrancesco, perhaps campaigning to eat up some innings this year in Oklahoma City

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Bo Porter throws BP

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Rick Ankiel makes good contact. Good form, too

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Justin Maxwell, John Mallee and Chris Carter

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Baseball flying towards Jose Altuve

Game 24: White helps his rotation cause

What happened: Relief pitcher Kevin Chapman, pitching on the one-year anniversary of his trade to Houston, allowed four runs and five hits in two-thirds of an inning of work in the seventh as the Mets rallied to beat the Astros, 7-5, at Osceola County Stadium (boxscore).

What we learned: RHP Bud Norris is the Opening Day starter. It certainly came as no surprise that the Astros would tab Norris to start March 31 against the Rangers considering his stature on the team and the fact he’d make more starts at home in the first half of the season than he would if he was in the No. 2 spot in the rotation.

“I think he’s earned it,” general manager Jeff Luhnow said. “His last outing was very good, and he’s proven he can pitch at Minute Maid and pitch in big games, and he’s been around this organization. He deserves to be our Opening Day starter, and I think everybody in the organization would support that. I would hope he goes out and has a game that I know he’s capable of having and gives us a ‘W’ on that opening night.”

What we learned II: RHP Alex White helped himself Wednesday in the eyes of manager Bo Porter. White went 4 1/3 innings and allowed seven hits and three runs while throwing 68 pitches against the Mets.

“He helped himself. He attacked the zone and made some really good quality pitches,” Astros manager Bo Porter said. “We did have a conversation, you get two outs and nobody on base, you want to attack that next hitter and if you think a guy’s a good fastball hitter, he’s a much better fastball hitter at 3-2.”

What else: LF Chris Carter went 0-for-2 with two walks and two strikeouts. … RF J.D. Martinez went 2-for-4. … 3B Jose Martinez, who made a fielding error early in the game, made a spectacular diving stop and threw out a runner later in the game. … RHP Josh Fields had a scoreless inning to lower his ERA to 3.52. … RHP Brad Peacock was supposed to follow White to the mound, but the threat of rain forced Porter to push him back to Thursday.

What went wrong: Other than a rough outing by Chapman and a bad error by Jose Martinez, not much to focus on.

What they said: “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.” — Astros RHP Bud Norris on his Opening Day nod.

What’s next: RHP Lucas Harrell, who found out on Wednesday he will start the second game of the season for the Astros, will start for the Astros when they face the Tigers at 5:05 p.m. CT in Lakeland, Fla., on Thursday. Harrell, who has allowed three earned runs 13 innings this spring, will start the Astros’ second game of the season, April 2 against the Rangers at Minute Maid Park. Brad Peacock will also pitch in the game.

Who’s injured: OF Fernando Martinez (lower back) is day-to-day.

Tweet of the day:

Links of the day: Here’s the full story of Bud Norris being named Opening Day starter. Astros notebook has plenty of new information, including Jose Altuve’s take on batting leadoff, Jeff Luhnow on how options could affect roster construction, Jordan Lyles thoughts on being optioned to Triple-A and so much more. Check it soon at

The day in photos

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Rick Ankiel and Dave Trembley

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Jose Altuve

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High knees for Trevor Crowe, Brandon Laird and J.D. Martinez

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Jake Elmore appears to clean his glasses on Rick Ankiel’s jersey

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Jason Catro leads morning stretch

Lyles: ‘I’m going to try to be ready for April’

Astros pitcher Jordan Lyles was roughed up by the Jays on Tuesday afternoon in Dunedin, Fla., allowing 10 runs and six hits – two home runs – in 3 2/3 innings while throwing 65 pitches. It’s been rough going this spring for the 22-year-old, but he remains confident he’ll be where he needs to be when the season starts.

“My stat lines this spring haven’t been good in any way, but at the end of the day you can’t look at that,” he said. “Personally, I would like to be better, but I’m working on things and I’m going to try to be ready for April and not this month. I’m looking forward to the season. This is the best I felt in Spring Training and the numbers aren’t there for me right now. I’m not overly worried about that.”

Lyles, who has allowed 36 hits and 23 earned runs in 11 2/3 innings this spring, gave up a solo homer to Melky Cabrera in the first inning and a two-run homer to Jose Bautista in the fourth. He said he was working on spotting his slider in Tuesday’s outing.

“This is probably the first time I’ve not thrown any cutters,” he said. “I really worked on that today, just throwing sliders and I really like the direction we’re going with that so I can lay off the cutters more. I got some good swings out of guys in that aspect and I like where that’s headed.

“A couple guys made me pay on fastballs today. I’m not too worried about that. They were just balls over the plate and good players making good swings. The 2-0 fastball to Bautista, that’s just a good swing by a really good player.”

This was the first time this spring Lyles was paired with catcher Jason Castro, which is something the big right-hander liked.

“It was nice getting back out on the mound working with Jason again for the first time this spring,” he said. “It was fun to work with him again and going into the season hopefully we can get together a couple of more times and get in sync. But like I said, it was good to get back with him today.”

Castro said he’s not worried about Lyles.

“I thought he had good stuff today,” he said. “I was really impressed with his slider. That’s something I know he’s been working on for a while. He plays with the slider-cutter thing, and he went with the slider today and I really liked how that looked. His change-up’s gotten a lot better and his movement on his fastball is good when we wanted to. I was happy with the way he looked today, and hopefully he can stick with that and keep getting that feel. He’ll be ready when the season starts.”

Game 21: Harrell dazzles, Correa makes debut

What happened: Lucas Harrell threw four scoreless, hitless innings and Rene Garcia broke a tie in the eighth with a two-run single to lead the Astros to a 4-2 win over the Nationals on Saturday night at Space Coast Stadium (boxscore).

What we learned: RHP Lucas Harrell appears to be over his groin problems. Harrell, who missed his turn in the rotation a week ago because of a strained groin, threw four hitless innings and walked a pair of batters in his fourth start of the spring.

“Last time I pitched against them I went in a lot, so I was trying to work on going down and away,” Harrell said. “Working with [catcher Carlos] Corporan, we were on the same page all game and I threw a lot of changeups, threw a couple of curveballs, threw some sliders. It wasn’t real good today but it’s something I can address the next few days.”

What we learned II: SS Carlos Correa, the No. 1 overall pick in last year’s Draft, can handle the bright lights. At least in Spring Training anyway. Correa stroked a game-tying RBI single to left field off Drew Storen in the eighth inning on the first pitch he saw in Grapefruit League action and wound up going 1-for-2 with a stolen base.

“My first experience in a big league game, even though it was in Spring Training, it was a lot of fun to be with the players over here and play against the Washington Nationals,” Correa said. “It was a really great experience for me.”

What else: RHP Edgar Gonzalez continues to solidify his role as a long reliever by throwing three scoreless innings, allowing three hits and striking out two batters. … RHP Hector Ambriz threw a scoreless fifth inning. … OF Trevor Crowe went 3-for-5 with a double. … OF Rick Ankiel launched a towering home run in the fourth inning off Stephen Strasburg and is hitting .429 this spring.

What went wrong: The Astros let a pop up in the infield drop in the sixth inning on a ball that clicked off the glove of 3B Marwin Gonzalez. The error allowed a pair of unearned runs to score with two outs.

What they said: “You have to be appreciative for this stuff. I just got drafted last year and they invited me to play here. All the hard work is playing off and I have to be thankful for the opportunity they gave me to play over here.” — Astros prospect Carlos Correa on joining the big league team for Saturday’s game.

What’s next: RHP Bud Norris, who could start for the Astros on Opening Day, makes his fourth appearance of the spring when the Astros meet the Blue Jays at 12:05 p.m. CT on Sunday in Kissimmee, Fla. Norris (1-0, 7.27) has appeared in three Grapefruit League games, allowing 11 hits and seven earned runs in 8 2/3 innings. LHP Erik Bedard, who’s been limited to two games this spring because of a strained gluteal muscle, will also get on the mound. The game will be carried on CSN Houston with Bill Brown and Steve Sparks calling the action.

Who’s injured: OF Fernando Martinez left Saturday’s game with tightness in his lower back.

Tweet of the day: GM Jeff Luhnow on SS Marwin Gonzalez’s tremendous play behind second base in the second inning:

Links of the day: Astros notebook has more on prospects Carlos Correa, Jonathan Singleton and Domingo Santana joining the Major League club, Dave Clark’s thoughts on getting knocked down by a ball during batting practice, Lucas Harrell talking about his outing and why manager Bo Porter chose to forgo the DH for Saturday’s game.