Results tagged ‘ spring Training ’

DeShields, Springer among Astros’ first cuts

The Astros made their first roster cuts of the spring Sunday morning, reassigning second baseman Delino DeShields Jr., outfielder Jake Goebbert, outfielder Marc Krauss, center fielder George Springer and catcher Chris Wallace to Minor League camp and optioning left-hander Rudy Owens and right-hander Sam Demel to Minor League camp.

The cuts leave the Astros with 54 players in camp.

“The important thing for players like DeShields and Springer, who are a part of our future, was to come up here and make a good impression with a new staff and both of them absolutely did that,” Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said. “Goebbert has been a part of our Minor League system for a while and made a good impression, and Krauss had some big hits for us.

“The message to all those guys basically is you accomplished what your goal was this spring, you came up here and made a good impression on the staff. Krauss is a little bit closer. He’s a guy you could see having some time in Houston this year, and it’s nice when the staff has positive feelings about them so when we have a discussion, if there’s an opening later in the summer, they’ll be inclined to want him to come up.

“For all those guys, they did exactly what we wanted them to do.”

Minor League games begin on Thursday, and the Astros are expected to make another round of cuts later in the week, likely Wednesday. Players who were added to the 40-man roster for the first time this year can’t be cut from camp until Wednesday.

“It makes sense for them to go down there and get regular playing time rather than struggling to get at-bats up here,” Luhnow said. “As we get deeper and deeper into spring, the pitchers are going to be extended, but we want to see the position players be out there longer than two or three at-bats. It’s just a matter of allocating that resource of playing time.”

Luhnow said it hasn’t yet been determined at which level of the Minor Leagues the players cut on Sunday will begin the season. DeShields, the team’s first-round pick in 2010, was Houston’s Minor League Player of the Year after stealing a combined 101 bases last year. Springer, the team’s top Draft pick in 2011, put up big numbers at Class A Lancaster last year.

“Obviously, the more impressions they made here the better chance they have of starting at a higher level,” Luhnow said. “Realistically, given that Springer got a taste of Double-A last year and DeShields got a taste of high A, we don’t want to be too unrealistic about what the right level is for their development.”

Astros make first roster cuts

The Astros made their first roster cuts of the spring on Sunday morning.

Reassigned to Minor League camp:

2B Delino DeShields Jr.

OF Jake Goebbert

OF Marc Krauss

CF George Springer

C Chris Wallace

Optioned to Minor League camp:

LHP Rudy Owens

RHP Sam Demel

Game 15: Astros can’t hang with Mets

What happened: The Mets scored three times in the third inning and four times in the fourth inning and held off a late charge to beat the Astros, 9-6, on Saturday afternoon at Tradition Field in Port St. Lucie, Fla. (boxscore)

What we learned: Veteran RHP Edgar Gonzalez is a candidate to make the club in long relief. Gonzalez, who went 3-1 with a 5.04 ERA in six starts with the Astros at the end of last season, threw the final three innings and allowed one hit and one run while striking out two batters. With all the extra arms in competition for the rotation, Gonzalez’s future might lie in the bullpen. And he has extensive Major League experience in relief.

“He came in and threw three solid innings, attacked the strike zone and changed speeds and worked fast,” Astros manager Bo Porter said. “He was in the big leagues last year. He can start games, he can be in long relief. He’s a strike-thrower and changes speed and keeps the defense on their toes and ready to go. He did a tremendous job today.”

What else: 1B Carlos Pena cranked a two-run homer in the fourth inning. … 1B Nate Freiman had a two-run single to the opposite field.RHP Chia-Jen Lo had another scoreless outing, striking out two batters in one inning. … Delino DeShields Jr., who came into the game in the sixth inning, had a pair of hits. … Porter was happy with the team’s fundamental play in the outfield, and they had plenty of chances considering the Mets bashed 12 hits, including five doubles. LF Marc Krauss and SS Jose Martinez had a terrific relay combination late in the game that nearly resulted in an out at the plate.

“We were pleased with the outfielders,” Porter said. “The relays were great, and this time of year you just want to make sure fundamentally you’re doing things right, you’re getting aligned right. Our guys are doing a good job with that.”

What went wrong: The Astros fell behind early for the second game in a row and couldn’t recover, despite swinging the bats pretty well. After starter RHP Alex White gave up five hits and four runs in 2 2/3 innings, LHP Kevin Chapman allowed three hits and three runs in one inning, and LHP Rudy Owens allowed a run and three hits in one-third of an inning. … LF Fernando Martinez‘s errant throw from left field in the fourth inning allowed a run to score.

What they said: “[The numbers] are always important, especially when I’m trying to make the club. Right now I”m trying to get my work in and get better at some things I need to get better at and I felt like I did that today. Just keep pitching.” — Astros starting pitcher Alex White.

What’s next: RHP Brad Peacock, acquired in last month’s trade that sent Jed Lowrie to Oakland, will get the start in place of RHP Lucas Harrell, who’s nursing a slight groin strain when the Astros face the Phillies at 12:05 p.m. CT on Sunday. Peacock has pitched three innings in three different stints this spring, allowing six hits and five earned runs as he battles for a spot in the rotation.

Who’s injured: RHP Lucas Harrell (right groin strain) will miss his start Sunday and is day-to-day. … LHP Erik Bedard (right glute strain) threw in the bullpen on Saturday and should be close to game action. … IF Jake Elmore (left oblique strain) is day-to-day.

Links of the day: Astros notebook takes a closer look at Marc Krauss, has Jeff Luhnow talking about the scouting trail and more on Jake Goebbert’s life on the farm.

The day in photos:

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Astros players get ready for morning stretch

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Dave Clark shows George Springer how to shield the sun from his eyes with two fingers

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George Springer, Kevin Chapman, Robbie Grossman

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Fernando Martinez catches up with old teammates

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Brandon Barnes yells into the stands

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Rene Garcia, Jimmy Paredes, Jonathan Villar

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Brandon Barnes is pensive

Debating the roster part of daily routine for Luhnow

Greetings from Port St. Lucie, Fla., where the Astros will play the Mets at 12:10 p.m CT today.

Traditions Field

Traditions Field

Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and assistant GM David Stearns are on the trip, and Luhnow said he’s pleased with some of the players who are having consistent performances, such as Brandon Laird, Rick Ankiel and Brandon Barnes.

“Those have been good outcomes,” he said. “It’s nice to have a couple of starting pitchers do well like [Philip] Humber and [John] Ely, so you can find good news and bad news in every game during the spring. It’s still early on, but I’m very excited about some for the early strong performances and hoping that more guys jump on that train.”

Luhnow and manager Bo Porter talk roster composition on a daily basis, but with three weeks before the start of the regular season, a lot can change. Remember last year? It wasn’t until halfway through spring a year ago when Lucas Harrell was stretched out and put in the rotation, and he wound up being their best starting pitcher, going 11-11.

“Bo and I are talking about it constantly, and upstairs we’re hypothesizing on scenarios on who makes the club and what it means for everybody else,” Luhnow said. “Our conversations will different today than they will a week from now and than they will at the end of March. If spring would end today, what we would we do? We have that conversations every couple of days.”

Starting lineups

ASTROS

2B Marwin Gonzalez

LF Fernando Martinez

1B Carlos Pena

DH J.D. Martinez

3B Brett Wallace

CF Rick Ankiel

C Jason Castro

RF Trevor Crowe

SS Jonathan Villar

RHP Alex White

METS

RF Marlon Byrd

2B Justin Turner

1B Ike Davis

LF Lucas Duda

C John Buck

CF Matt den Dekker

DH Anthony Recker

SS Ruben Tejada

3B Wilmer Flores

RHP Jeremy Hefner

Game 14: Rough day on the mound

What happened: The split-squad Braves sent 10 batters to the plate in the first inning and batted around again in the second inning to jump on the Astros and hold on for a 14-9 win over Friday afternoon at Osceola County Stadium (boxscore).

What we learned: RHP Jordan Lyles is struggling, but he’s healthy and hasn’t yet thrown his full arsenal, so there’s no reason to be concerned yet. The Braves sent nine batters to the plate against Lyles, who threw 33 pitches, and seven of them reached base via a hit, including a hard-hit double by Reed Johnson and a two-run homer by Freddie Freeman.

“Today they just hit balls where guys weren’t, they balls hard, they hit balls soft,” Lyles said. “The credit goes to them. It has nothing to do with me really. When it comes right down to it, I need to make better pitches. But I’m not throwing all my pitches right now. The scoreboard doesn’t look good but that’s not the main focus right now.”

What we learned II: RHP John Ely has some good contol, which is why the Astros traded for him. Ely, whose first two outings were rough, righted the ship and threw three scoreless innings on a day when Astros pitchers struggled to keep the Braves off the board.

“Ely was great,” manager Bo Porter said. “He came in and stabilized the game and gave our offense a chance to go on the run we were on. I kept telling our pitchers, whether middle relief, long relief, you get an opportunity to put up zeroes, we’re going to score runs. We have a bunch of guys in our offense that can change the game with one swing. If we continue to put up zeroes, you never know what will happen.”

Here is Porter talking about starting pitching:

What else: Trailing 14-1, the Astros outscored the Braves 8-0 the rest of the way. … OF Brandon Barnes (.368) went 2-for-2 with his third homer, IF Brandon Laird (.429) went 2-for-2 and 3B Matt Dominguez and IF Jose Martinez each had two hits. OF Trevor Crowe had a three-run triple. … RHP Ross Seaton finished the game by throwing two scoreless innings. … OF Jake Goebbert made a terrific sliding catch on the left field line in the eighth inning, earning a handshake from Porter. … OF Marc Krauss hit his first homer of the spring.

What went wrong: Lyles, RHP Sam Demel and LHP Wesley Wright combined to allow 13 hits and 14 runs in two innings of work. Wright has allowed eight hits and six runs in four innings this spring, and Demel has given up 10 hits and 11 runs in 2 1/3 innings.

“He’s had some tough outings,” Porter said of Demel. “A lot of it is deep counts and getting into hitter’s counts and they’ve been able to put some good swings on the ball. Hopefully next time out he’s able to get some things cleaned up and able to get some hitters using his slider, which is a really good pitch to put hitters away.”

What they said: “From the fourth inning on, we won the ballgame, 7-0. It speaks to the never-say-die attitude of our ballclub and those guys fighting back to make it a ballgame. When you have guys diving at the balls in the type of game that was on the scoreboard, from a staff standpoint we take notice of those things and we realized those guys continued to fight.” –– Astros manager Bo Porter.

What’s next: RHP Alex White, acquired by the Astros from the Rockies in a trade in December, gets another chance to try to win a spot in the starting rotation when the Astros travel to Port St. Lucie to face the Mets at 12:10 p.m. CT. White has worked 3 2/3 innings this year and allowed five hits and three runs.

Who’s injured: LHP Erik Bedard (strained glute) threw off the mound Friday and could throw in the bullpen Saturday. … IF Jake Elmore (strained left oblique) is day-to-day. … C Max Stassi (sports hernia surgery) is out until April.

Tweet of the day:

Links of the day: Astros notebook as Erik Bedard and Lucas Harrell talking about their injuries, neither of which is major, Geoff Blum talks about his first game as a TV analyst and Ross Seaton is learning plenty in his first big league camp despite a lack of inning.

The day in photos:

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Bud Norris goes over mechanics with Ryan McCurdy

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Minor Leaguers warm up

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Rudy Owens throws in the bullpen

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J.D. Martinez

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Justin Maxwell

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Brett Wallace

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Rio Ruiz

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Mike Foltynewicz

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Austin Wates

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Ernesto Genoves

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Tyler Heineman

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Bobby Borchering

Game 9: Astros play long ball again

What happened: J.D. Martinez and Carlos Pena each hit their first homers of the spring to lead the Astros to a 6-5 win over the Braves on Saturday afternoon at windy Osceola County Stadium (boxscore).

What we learned: It takes 1B/DH Carlos Pena a little bit of time to get comfortable at the plate. Pena certainly appeared to be in a comfort zone when he hit his first homer of the spring in the first inning, the only hit in a 1-for-3 day that raised his spring batting average to .214.

“Sometimes you get out there and it feels like an alien planet when you’re in the box in a game situation,” he said. “I’ve had enough experience to understand I need to be patient and keep on working on the process and the results will take care of themselves.

“It definitely felt good to get one today and I thought my timing was pretty good, my contact was pretty good and it ended up going over the fence. I’m happy with the type of move I made on it and the contact and the way everything clicked in that particular swing.”

What we learned II: Getting a couple of hits, including a home runs, can do wonders for players in the spring, even if the stats really don’t mean much. RF J.D. Martinez has retooled his swing as he tries to make the club, and he went 2-for-3 with a long homer to left-center – his first of the spring.

“It’s Spring Training and you want to get in those situations where you go up there and hit the ball hard,” he said. “You don’t care about anything else. That’s all I can control, and everybody did a great job in front of me. [Justin] Maxwell hit that double and Fernando [Martinez] drove him in and it started a rally. Hitting’s contagious.”

What else: RHP Philip Humber was much sharper in his second outing of the spring, working three innings in relief and allowing two hits and one run while striking out three batters.

“I threw more strikes and I was behind the ball a little bit better,” Humber said. “All in all, a step in the right direction. It’ s not where I want to be yet, but definitely an improvement over that first one. That’s what you want.”

What went wrong: The Astros made a season-high four errors – 2B Marwin Gonzalez, C Jason Jaramillo, SS Tyler Greene, CF George Springer. Gonzalez and Springer both made errors in the seventh inning that led to three unearned runs and prompted manager Bo Porter to huddle the infield for a talk.

“When you’re up by four runs in the seventh inning, at that point you want to play outs,” he told the team. “You don’t want to do anything drastic with the baseball, you want to take the outs they give you and take it one out at a time and go ahead and secure the game. I don’t think that we took care of the baseball in that inning, and that allowed them to get back into the ballgame.”

What they said: “I love the fact our starters are all throwing strikes. They’re down in the strike zone and if you look at the reports, they’re getting a lot of ground balls, which is huge for our defense.” – Astros manager Bo Porter.

What’s next: RHP John Ely, who pitched two innings in relief in his only spring outing Feb. 26, gets the starts for Houston when it travels to Bradenton, Fla., to face the Pirates at 12:05 p.m. CT on Sunday. Ely is competing for a spot in the rotation. Also scheduled to pitch are Jordan Lyles, Sergio Escalona, Sam Demel, Chia-Jen Lo and Jose Valdez.

Who’s injured: RHP Hector Ambriz (ankle sprain) is close to appearing in his first game. … C Max Stassi (sports hernia surgery) has returned to camp and is expected to miss 6-8 weeks.

Tweets of the day:

Links of the day: Astros notebook has Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez’s thoughts on Porter taking over the Astros. Porter played for Gonzalez in the Minor Leagues. We also catch up with Chris Johnson of the Braves in his first trip to Kissimmee since being traded by the Astros, and much more.

The day in pictures:

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Fred McGriff shares a laugh with Fredi Gonzalez, Bo Porter and Enos Cabell

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Fredi Gonzalez catches up with Bo Porter, who he managed in Triple-A in 2002

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Fredi Gonzalez gets animated with Bo Porter and Fred McGriff

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Nate Freiman

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Marwin Gonzalez from the left side

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Peter Gammons, Bo Porter and Dan Uggla

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Brett Wallace catches up with friend and former teammate, Chris Johnson

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My man Jose Cruz can still hit I bet

Game 7: Big inning lifts Astros past Yankees

What happened: Brandon Laird’s grand slam to right-center field in the sixth inning keyed a six-run outburst and propelled the Astros to a 7-6 win over the split-squad Yankees on Thursday afternoon at Osceola County Stadium (boxscore).

Here’s the video clip of Laird’s grand slam:

What we learned: RHP Lucas Harrell has his sinker working. Harrell attacked the strike zone and coasted through three innings  against a Yankees team that didn’t have any of its marquee players. Still, Harrell was sharp and threw 32 pitches and then went to the bullpen and threw 20 more to get his work in.

“I was hoping I could go another inning,” he said. “I was hoping to get up to 50 pitches. I told [pitching coach Doug Brocail] before the game my goal is to try to throw around 50 pitches. You try to be efficient but sometimes at Spring Training it works the other way. You want to go ahead and throw the 50 pitches, but you also want to get those pitches in against live batters.”

What we learned II: OF Rick Ankiel is a little locked in right now. Ankiel, who’s having a terrific spring at the plate, led off the fifth inning with a solo homer — his first with the Astros. He is 6-for-9 this spring with 12 total bases.

“I just take it day by day on what pitches we’re seeing,” he said. “I feel like it’s early and [opposing pitchers] are working on their heaters, but later on in camp you’ll start seeing more breaking stuff, cutters, and that type of stuff. It might be more important to get at-bats later on as it is now.”

What else: A hustling double by OF Brandon Barnes drew praise from manager Bo Porter, who said: “He made the guy make a play to get him out. It was a great, aggressive play.” … The Astros had a pair of runners thrown out trying to steal, and Porter later said they missed a couple of signs. … The Astros turned three double plays, with SS Jonathan Villar and 2B Jose Altuve playing well up the middle.

What went wrong: RHP Ross Seaton made a throwing error in the sixth that was costly. He fielded a come-backer to the mound with one out, turned to fire to second and threw the ball away. It was a potential inning-ending double play ball, and the Yankees went on to score five runs in the inning.

“A 1-6-3 double play and the inning’s over,” Porter said. “We don’t execute it, and 32 pitches later the score is 5-1. … It’s the perfect example of how big innings happen and something we still continue to stress to our guys that you have to play the game fundamentally sound.”

What they said: “Everybody wants to be up in a situation like that. He was a guy that couldn’t find the zone and I was looking for a pitch that I could handle, and he left one over the plate and I put a good swing on it.” — IF Brandon Laird on his sixth-inning grand slam.

What’s next: RHP Bud Norris makes his second start of the spring when the Astros play host to the Cardinals at 12:05 p.m. CT at Osceola County Stadium on Friday. Norris, who could be the club’s Opening Day starter, threw two innings in his first outing of the season on Sunday and is scheduled to pitch three innings against St. Louis. The game will be broadcast on CSN Houston.

Who’s injured: C Max Stassi underwent surgery Thursday morning in Philadelphia to repair a sports hernia. He’s out four-to-six weeks. … RHP Hector Ambriz (sprained ankle) threw off the mound Thursday and is near game action.

Links of the day: Had RHP John Ely not been traded to the Astros, he’d be playing in Korea. The Astros notebook has Dave Clark’s thoughts on Chris Carter’s progress in LF, C Jason Castro discussing plate collisions, OF Jimmy Paredes talking about working out with the Yankees’ Robinson Cano, and much more.

Tweet of the day:

The day in photos:

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Alan Ashby and Bill Brown brush up for first broadcast by talking to Bo Porter

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Roger Clemens, in boots and jeans, is back in camp

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Bud Norris gets conditioning work in

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Hector Ambriz throws as trainers watch

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J.D. Martinez having fun

Game 5: Springer leads offensive surge

What happened:  The Astros bashed out 18 hits, including a pair of home runs by George Springer in his first start of the spring, to beat the Blue Jays, 10-1, on Wednesday afternoon in Dunedin (boxscore).

What we learned: RHP Alex White will be a huge factor in the race for the rotation. White, acquired in last December’s trade that sent Wilton Lopez to the Rockies, threw two scoreless innings in his spring debut against a tough Blue Jays lineup, but his entire body of work this spring has opened some eyes.

“I put in a lot of time this offseason and made a lot of changes throughout my delivery to be more consistent,” White said. “I think now I’m just kind of seeing that I’ve put in the work and hopefully good things will happen. I have to make sure I throw a lot of strikes, and that’s the key.”

What we learned II: CF George Springer could be ready for prime time. Springer, who barely got his feet wet last year at Double-A, made his first spring start and clubbed a pair of impressive homers, a three-run shot in the fourth and a two-run shot in the fifth.

“It felt good,” he said. “I was trying to get my timing back and just hitting the ball hard. I honestly say the key to those at-bats were the guys who were on base ahead of me. [Matt] Dominguez and [Carlos] Corporan had some great at-bats and was able to get me into a fastball-hitting count.”

What we learned III: RHP Jarred Cosart is looking forward to getting a start. Cosart, a starter, has pitched twice in relief, throwing two scoreless innings Wednesday. He’s been piggybacking other starters, but should get a turn to start a game the next time through the rotation.

“It’s a little different as far as warming up and stuff,” he said. “I like to go out there pretty early before a game and get going. I’m in big league camp for the first time so I’ll go with my role and whatever they want me to do, I’ll do. I’ve adjusted well to it. We’ll see what happens from here, but hopefully I can get back in the starting routine.”

What else: Ten of the Astros’ 18 hits were for extra bases – eight doubles and two homers. … The Astros have 68 hits in six games. … C Carlos Corporan went 2-for-2 with two doubles and continues to draw praise from the pitchers. He’s hitting .667 early in the spring. … 1B Nate Freiman had a line drive double off center field wall, going 1-for-3 to raise his average to .385. … OF J.D. Martinez, starting in right field, had a pair of hits. … 3B Matt Dominguez went 2-for-2 with two runs scored.

What went wrong: Well, not much. Tyler Greene let a ball get past him at shortstop in the second, but the Astros wound up getting an out on the play to end the inning. … J.P. Arencibia homered off LHP Wesley Wright, who gave up three hits in one inning.

What they said: “Outstanding. He really laid into those two balls with really good swings and got the head out. I thought the second one was better than the first one. It was a good day all around. We swung the bat well and the pitching was outstanding.” – manager Bo Porter on Springer.

What’s next: RHP Lucas Harrell will become the first Astros starter to take the mound for the second time when he gets the ball for Thursday’s 12:05 p.m. CT game against the Yankees in Kissimmee. Harrell, the Astros’ Pitcher of the Year last season, went two innings and allowed four hits and two runs on Saturday against the Phillies in Clearwater in his first spring start. The game will be televised on CSN Houston with Alan Ashby making his return to the Houston airwaves.

Who’s injured: RHP Hector Ambriz (sprained ankle) is scheduled to face live pitching soon. . … C Max Stassi (oblique) was scheduled to get an MRI on Philadelphia on Wednesday for a possible sports hernia.

Links of the day: Check out the Astros notebook for Delino DeShields Jr. talking about getting to hit together in the lineup, prospect Telvin Nash on how/why he lost 30 pounds and the plan for J.D. Martinez to get time in right field.

And don’t miss the feature story on Wesley Wright, who has gone from Rule 5 pick to elder statesman in five years:

The day in photos

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Robbie Grossman

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J.D. Martinez

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MLB.com’s Richard Justice talks to Bo Porter

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GM Jeff Luhnow talks to bullpen coach Dennis Martinez

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Matt Dominguez

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Robert Ford interviews Nate Freiman

Game 4: Wallace, Castro stay hot in win over Tigers

What happened:  The split-squad Astros got a two-run homer from Jason Castro — his second in as many games — and a solo shot from Brett Wallace to pull away from the Tigers for a 9-4 win on Tuesday afternoon at rainy Osceola County Stadium (boxscore).

For the game story and boxcore on the Astros’ 7-2 split-squad loss to the Rays in Port Charlotte, click here.

What we learned: C Jason Castro feels as good at the plate as he has in a long time, going 2-for-2. He homered to left-center field in his first at-bat and later singled, also to the opposite field. He has two homers in two games this spring. He’s made a minor adjustment to allow him to stay on the ball a little bit more and drive it the other way.

“I’ve been seeing the ball pretty well and been getting some good pitches, trying to be aggressive,” he said. “I know it’s early in spring and guys throw a lot of fastballs right now. I’m trying to take advantage of that and it’s been good so far. The swing feels really good and I think I’m seeing the ball well. So that’s part of it. That’s what I’m looking for right now is comfort-ability and getting back in the rhythm of hitting and facing live pitching.”

What we learned II: The work IF Brett Wallace put in during the winter with hitting coach John Mallee is paying quick dividends. Wallace went 3-for-4 with a long homer to center field in the win while starting at third base.

“The ball I hit to center was a changeup, and that was something we worked on, being able to stay on my legs and if it’s not a fastball down the middle that I won’t come out of them and I will stay back on them,” Wallace said. “It’s definitely something we worked on and it’s encouraging and I just have to try to repeat it over and over.”

What else: SS Tyler Greene did a nice job at top of the lineup with two walks. Porter said when you’re not getting hits you sometimes get anxious, but it was a good sign for him to expand the zone and take his walks. … RHP John Ely, who’s battling for a starting spot, allowed a two-run homer in the fourth before coming back with a clean fifth. … OF Michael Burgess, who was taken in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 Draft, made a nice diving catch in foul territory to end the game. … RHP Josh Fields got on the mound for the first time, closing out the eighth and finishing the Tigers off in the ninth. … OF Robbie Grossman and OF Trevor Crowe each had two-run extra-base hits in the fifth.

What went wrong: Wallace, starting at third base, made a fielding error in the fifth inning that led to a run, but manager Bo Porter shrugged it off: “I think he knocked in more than he let in.”… Minor League IF Nolan Fontana had a throwing error.

What they said: “From a hitter standpoint, this is the time of year that you really want to work  on being on time with the fastball. Castro laid out some great swings, [Rick] Ankiel laid out some good swings, Wallace swung the bat well today. From a pitching standpoint, our pitchers did a great job, especially the starters [Erik] Bedard and Ely, of locating their fastballs well,” — Astros manager Bo Porter.

Here’s Erik Bedard, Brett Wallace, Jason Castro and Bo Porter on the game:

What’s next: RHP Alex White, acquired from the Rockies in a trade for Wilton Lopez in December, will make his first start of the season for the Astros when they travel to Dunedin, Fla., to meet the Toronto Blue Jays at 12:05 p.m. CT Wednesday. He was 2-9 with a 5.51 ERA in 23 games (20 starts) for Colorado last year.

Who’s injured: RHP Hector Ambriz (sprained ankle) has thrown in the bullpen and could face live pitching soon. . … C Max Stassi (oblique) was scheduled to travel to Philadelphia on Tuesday to get an MRI and see a specialist about a possible sports hernia.

Links of the day: Jose Martinez, who was MVP at Double-A Corpus Christi last year, has overcame an unthinkable tragedy and has taken advantage of his second chance with the Astros. Here’s video of Martinez talking about his struggles:

The Astros notebook has Ambriz and Stassi talking about their injuries, prospects Nolan Fontana and Mike Foltynewicz on their appearance on the spring roster, Wallace on his comfort level at third base, plus much more.

The day in photos

Bud Norris.

My man Bud Norris.

Jose Altuve

Jose Altuve.

Brett Wallace and Michael Burgess.

Brett Wallace and Michael Burgess.

Delino DeShields.

Delino DeShields.

Brett Wallace.

Brett Wallace.

Dallas Keuchel.

Dallas Keuchel.

Nolan Fontana.

Nolan Fontana.

Nolan Fontana and Robbie Grossman.

Max Stassi and Robbie Grossman.

Game 2: Astros rally to tie Mets

What happened: The Astros rallied from five runs down and scored once in the bottom of the ninth on an RBI hit by George Springer to finish in a 7-7 tie with the Mets (boxscore). The Mets were playing a split squad and didn’t have enough bodies to continue.

“It was great just to battle back and come back from an early deficit,” Astros manager Bo Porter said. “The guys had great ABs and [ground] the at-bats out and really gave us a chance to win the game late in the ballgames.”

What we learned : C Jason Castro can really swing it when he’s healthy. This was the first winter Castro had to prepare for the season following his catastrophic knee injury of two years ago, and he homered in his second at-bat of the spring. Remember, he hit four homers in his final seven games of last year and has shown some pop.

“One of the things I noticed real early on in the spring by watching him catch bullpens and watching how he was moving around, he’s finally healthy,” Porter said. “He’s legs are underneath him. When your legs aren’t underneath you, it’s hard to drive a baseball. I think we’re now starting to see the Castro we all believed we were getting when we drafted him.”

What else: RHP Bud Norris battled while using just his fastball and change-up (he didn’t throw any breaking stuff). He located his pitches well and got his work in. … RHP Jose Veras missed some spots a few times, but he worked through a difficult inning. … 2B Delino DeShields Jr. made things happen with his legs when he pinch-ran at first, stole second, went to third on an error and scored on a wild pitch. He’s fun to watch. … RHP Chia-Jen Lo threw the ball well and was down in the zone consistently in the ninth inning and had an explosive fastball with late life. … OF Fernando Martinez homered in his first at-bat on Sunday. If he can stay healthy, he’ll be a threat.

What went wrong: RHP Bud Norris and RHP Brad Peacock gave up homers and RHP Jose Veras struggled to find the zone at times, but it was the first time in a game for everyone that threw on Sunday so results aren’t as important as getting in the work.

“I struggled to find the strike zone the first couple of hitters, but I’m going to work at it every day and it will get better,” Peacock said. “I threw everything today. It wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be, but it will get better as spring goes on.”

What they said: “The first at-bat of spring, there’s always a lot of intensity and I just tried to relax my second at-bat. It definitely helped me free up my hands a little bit. I’m trying to go through the process and build up the results will come, but I’m really focusing on just getting to where I’m comfortable heading into the season.” — C Jason Castro, who was 1-for-2 with a homer.

What’s next: Right-hander Philip Humber makes his first start for the Astros when they travel to Jupiter, Fla., to meet the St. Louis Cardinals at 12:05 p.m. CT. Humber, a native Texan who played college baseball in Houston, signed a one-year deal with the Astros after being claimed off waivers.

Who’s injured: RHP Hector Ambriz (sprained ankle) has thrown in the bullpen and could face live pitching soon. . … C Max Stassi (oblique) will travel to Philadelphia to see a specialist about a possible sports hernia.

Links of the day: Feature on Vince Coleman, the great base stealer who is in camp this year with the Astros as an outfield/baserunning instructor. The notebook has an update on health of Max Stassi, Trevor Crowe’s thoughts of coming to Houston and manager Bo Porter explaining how to defend a shift.

The day in photos

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Hitting coach John Mallee talks to a player.

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Matt Dominguez.

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Jose Altuve and J.D. Martinez.

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J.D. Martinez and Justin Maxwell.

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Jason Castro and Carlos Corporan.

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Bo Porter.

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Jimmy Paredes.

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