Results tagged ‘ spring Training ’
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.”
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
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:
Greetings from Port St. Lucie, Fla., where the Astros will play the Mets at 12:10 p.m CT today.
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.”
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
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
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:
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:
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
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