Results tagged ‘ spring Training ’
The Astros trimmed their Major League roster by five more players Wednesday morning, reassigning infielders Angel Sanchez, Scott Moore and Brian Bixler to Minor League camp, optioning right-hander Enerio Del Rosario to the Minor Leagues and releasing infielder Joe Thurston. They’re down to 34 players in camp.
Bixler was the biggest surprise, considering he’s had a good camp at the plate and has shown his versatility by playing in the outfield. He slugged his third homer of the spring on Tuesday.
“It’s tough to talk to a guy about that, but he knows the situation we’re in,” general manager Jeff Luhnow said. “He’s going to go to Triple-A and he’s going to be ready. He’s the type of guy who can play a lot of positions, has tools and is well-liked with our big league staff. I have a feeling if an opportunity arises, he’ll be back.”
Bixler will see time at shortstop and center field at Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Sanchez, meanwhile, spent all of last season with the Astros and was the Opening Day starter at shortstop. He was slowed by a back injury early in spring, but was hitting .412 in Grapefruit League play.
“That’s one of his best assets is that he does swing the bat and takes a really good Major League at-bat,” Luhnow said. “That’s going to give him an opportunity to have a career at the big league level. Right now, we need him to go to Oklahoma City and play shortstop almost every day and be ready in case there’s a need.”
The moves leave the Astros with seven infielders, meaning one more cut will need to be made. If you have Carlos Lee, Jose Altuve, Jed Lowrie and Chris Johnson starting on the infield, the final two spots will come down to Matt Downs, Brett Wallace and Rule 5 pick Marwin Gonzalez.
The Astros are settled with Jason Castro and Chris Snyder at catcher (Carlos Corporan and Landon Powell are still in camp) and have to cut one more outfielder, likely from among Justin Ruggiano, Travis Buck or J.B. Shuck.
“We still have a couple of extra position players, but you guys can look at it and take your best guess,” Luhnow said. “We’re still going to use all our available time to figure it out. As we’re making decisions, we’re being quick about letting players know they’re not longer in the mix. Anybody that’s still in the club is still in the mix.”
Remaining 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, Livan Hernandez, 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.
The Astros came from five runs down in the second inning and drilled the Tigers, 14-7, on Tuesday afternoon at Osceola County Stadium (boxscore).
Before we get to the breakdown, be sure to check out the Astros notebook, which is chock full of Astros news, including an update on center field Jordan Schafer, what Jed Lowrie is doing to swing the bat so well and how Angel Sanchez is trying his hand in the outfield. And there’s much more.
The big news came earlier in the day when the Astros released veteran pitcher Zach Duke and veteran outfielder Jack Cust after both struggled throughout the spring.
Here’s the breakdown:
What went right: Wandy Rodriguez got off to a very shaky start by giving up five runs in the first two innings and then settled down to finish with four very strong innings against the Tigers. He allowed six hits and five runs and threw a spring-high 90 pitches in six innings, but he got better as the game progressed and retired 12 of the final 14 batters he faced.
“I told you the other day, I wanted to go longer in the game and I did it today. I tried to throw everything, my breaking ball, my fastball, my change-up,” Rodriguez said. “I used a lot of my change-up today and threw a lot of good ones today.”
Fernando Abad came into the game and got a big out in the seventh, and Brandon Lyon threw a scoreless inning.
The Astros bashed out 13 hits, including four doubles and two home runs, en route to scoring 14 runs. Jason Castro ripped a two-run double in the second inning and went 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Jed Lowrie hit the ball hard once again, including a two-run single to right field from the left side of the plate.
Brian Bogusevic went 2-for-3 with three runs, two RBIs and two walks and hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning for the last of the Astros’ nine unanswered runs after falling behind 5-0. Jose Altuve went 2-for-2 with two runs scored and also walked a pair of times, which is a very good sign.
Brian Bixler came off the bench and launched a long, three-run homer to left field in the eighth inning, giving him three homers in 25 spring at-bats. The other hits belonged to J.B. Shuck, Angel Sanchez, who’s hitting .412, Carlos Lee, Chris Johnson and Jake Goebbert.
The Astros didn’t commit an error and were 7-for-15 with runners in scoring position.
What went wrong: Rodriguez struggled early, giving up a Brennan Boesch homer in the first and allowing four more runs in the second, including a inside-the-park homer by Austin Jackson. J.B. Shuck couldn’t corral Jackson’s fly ball at the wall and it rolled back towards the infield.
Mills said he is continued to be concerned with the number of runs the Astros are giving up in first innings this year. He said they’ve given up 25 runs in the first inning in 24 games this spring.
“We need to kind of clean that up a little bit,” he said.
Rhiner Cruz’s run of good pitching ended when he gave up a run, a hit, two walks and hit a batter in two-thirds of an inning in the seventh, raising his spring ERA to 8.53. Wilton Lopez allowed two hits and a run in the ninth.
What they said: “The big thing was to see Wandy come back and pitch like he did. He was frustrated with himself when they were able to jump out in front of us with that five-run lead. He wasn’t happy with himself, but he saw the guys get right back into the game and Wandy was able to continue and pitch very well.” — Astros manager Brad Mills on Tuesday’s outing by left-hander Wandy Rodriguez.
What’s next: Lucas Harrell will start against the Marlins at 12:05 p.m. CT on Wednesday in Kissimmee. Harrell is starting in place of Bud Norris, whose start was pushed back two days because of tightness in his triceps. Harrell is trying to win a bullpen spot as a long reliever, but he could start the year in the rotation at Triple-A.
Injury update: Center fielder Jordan Schafer flew to Atlanta on Tuesday to be examined by the same hand specialist he saw when he broke his wrist in 2009. General manager Jeff Luhnow said he’s likely out of game action until the weekend. … Right-hander Bud Norris, who’s dealing with tightness in his right triceps, said Tuesday he hopes to be 100 percent when he starts Friday against the Braves.
There are no photos today, but check back tomorrow. Until then, stay cool.
It was a rough day at the ballparks (plural) on Sunday for the Astros, whose split squad was beaten, 11-1, by the Braves in Lake Buena Vista (boxscore) and 9-7 in 10 innings by the Pirates in Kissimmee (boxscore).
I chose to stay in Kissimmee, mostly for the chance to see top prospect Jarred Cosart make a Grapefruit League appearance and I’m glad I did. More on that later.
Here’s the link to the notebook, which includes Brian Bixler’s thoughts on playing the outfield and Brian Bogusevic talking about his struggles. Check back soon for reaction from Cosart about his performance.
Here’s the breakdown of the loss to the Pirates:
What went right: Jarred Cosart, the team’s top pitching prospect, pitched in his first Major League Grapefruit League game and gave up seven hits and four runs and struck out five batters in 3 1/3 innings. I put this under the “What went right” category because he was electrifying at times, pitching at 96, 97-mph and hitting 98-mph. He struck out the side in his first inning of work and had a 1-2-3 inning in his third inning. The two other innings were messy, but Cosart is here to learn and improve.
J.A. Happ’s line of five innings and nine hits and three runs wasn’t terrific, but he made some big pitches at key times and limited the damage. It didn’t hurt the Astros turned a pair of double plays behind him, either. When Cosart couldn’t finish the ninth because of his pitch count, Fernando Abad came in and got the final two outs.
At the plate, J.B. Shuck went 1-for-4 with a three-run triple in the seventh inning that tied the game at 6. Jed Lowrie hit his second homer of the spring, and both have been from the left side of the plate, which is huge. Brian Bogusevic went 2-for-3 with two walks and appears to be having better at-bats. Catcher Chris Snyder hit his third homer of the spring, off fellow University of Houston product Brad Lincoln.
Left-fielder J.D. Martinez threw out a runner at first base in the first inning after a running catch for a nice double play. The Astros didn’t make an error…officially.
What went wrong: Astros pitchers gave up 20 hits, including 18 singles. Happ allowed nine hits, Cosart seven and Enerio Del Rosario four hits in the 10th inning in his only inning of work. Del Rosario was having a pretty good spring prior to that outing. J.D. Martinez and Carlos Lee each went 0-for-3.
Minor League infielder Ben Orloff allowed the Pirates to tie the game in the ninth with Cosart on the mound when he lost a popup in the sun and couldn’t catch it, allowing a runner to scamper home from third. Orloff threw to second to get a force out, which is why he wasn’t charged with an error.
Happ was inconsistent, working in and out of trouble in all five of his innings. He loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth and allowed only one run, which was a good result at the time.
What they said: “It was a good experience with ups and downs. I did some good and some bad, and it’s part of the game and the learning curve, I guess. I was very excited and had a lot of adrenaline and tried to learn some stuff while I was there.” — Astros pitching prospect Jarred Cosart on his first Grapefruit League outing Sunday.
What’s next: Center fielder Jordan Schafer, who’s been out of action since March 18 with a sprained left wrist suffered while making a diving catch, is scheduled to return to the lineup Monday when the Astros face the Washington Nationals at 12:05 p.m. CT in Viera, Fla. Jordan Lyles, a candidate for the fifth starter spot, will start the game for the Astros.
Injury update: RHP Wilton Lopez, who hadn’t pitched since March 9 because of forearm tightness, returned to the mound and worked a 1-2-3 inning against the Braves with two strikeouts. … CF Jordan Schafer, who’s been out of action since March 18 with a sprained left wrist suffered while making a diving catch, is scheduled to return to the lineup Monday when the Astros face the Nationals. … OF Jack Cust (elbow) was again limited to pinch-hit duties Sunday and drew a walk against the Pirates. … Bud Norris (triceps tightness) threw 30-40 fastball in the bullpen Sunday in an effort to get ready for his next start. … LHP Sergio Escalona (ulnar collateral ligament) will miss the entire season and will under Tommy John surgery next week.
Here are the photos:
The Astros will play their first split-squad games of the spring today when they meet the Pirates in Kissimmee and send another team to play the Braves down the road in Disney. Both games are scheduled to start at 12:05 p.m. CT.
“You hate having split squads this late in camp, but at the same time to get these guys some extra at-bats is good,” Astros manager Brad Mills said. “Other than that, you’d probably prefer not to have them. We’re getting enough innings from our pitchers right now, but to get these guys enough at-bats is big.”
Mills will stay with the team in Kissimmee, sending bench coach Joe Pettini and pitching coach Doug Brocail to the game against the Braves.
“The biggest thing is I wanted to be around some of the guys that are here,” he said. “We kept [outfielder Brian Bogusevic] here and I want to see him. I want to see the middle infielders, Jed [Lowrie] and [Jose] Altuve, as well. That was the biggest determining factor for me. Plus, Broke wanted to see [Zach] Duke and we were going to be split up there and that meant I stayed here.”
Here are some morning notes:
- Astros center fielder Jordan Schafer, who sprained his left hand making a diving catch in the outfield a week ago, is scheduled to return to the lineup Monday when the Astros face the Nationals in Viera, Fla. “He took some swings in the cage this morning and he feels a lot better,” Mills said.
- Jack Cust, who has yet to play in the outfield in the Grapefruit League this spring because of a sore elbow, still isn’t ready to play defense. Cust will get a pinch-hit at-bat on Sunday against the Pirates and was scheduled to have another pinch-hit at-bat Monday against the Nationals.
- Mills isn’t ready to commit to shortstop Jed Lowrie in the No. 2 spot in the batting order, but he’s certainly leaning that way. “He sees a lot of pitches, gets on base,” Mills said. “I like having a left-hander in that spot because if you’ve got a guy on, you’ve got a big hole there [on the right side of the infield]. He, especially, is able to utilize that hole.”
- Jarred Cosart, the Astros’ top pitching prospect, will make an appearance on the mound in a Grapefruit League game for the first time this spring when he pitches against the Pirates in relief. He’s scheduled to throw four innings.
- Catcher Jason Castro will start back-to-back games for the first time this spring when he starts against the Braves today. Catcher Chris Snyder, who starts today against the Pirates, will catch Monday against the Nationals in his first back-to-back outings.
- Bud Norris threw 30-40 pitches during his Sunday bullpen session, throwing nothing but fastballs. Norris is trying to work though some minor tightness in his triceps and forearm.
Here is the lineup for the game in Kissimmee against the Pirates:
CF J.B. Shuck
SS Jed Lowrie
LF J.D. Martinez
1B Carlos Lee
RF Brian Bogusevic
C Chris Snyder
3B Brett Wallace
2B Jose Altuve
LHP J.A. Happ
Here is the lineup for the game at Disney against the Braves:
CF Brian Bixler
2B Scott Moore
RF Travis Buck
1B Matt Downs
3B Chris Johnson
C Jason Castro
LF Justin Ruggiano
SS Marwin Gonzalez
LHP Zach Duke
Of course, the big news of the day at Astros camp was the announcement that Jimmy Paredes was being sent to Minor League camp to work at second base, meaning Chris Johnson is the likely starter at third base. Here’s a video package of Astros manager Brad Mills and GM Jeff Luhnow talking about the decision.
Here is the breakdown of Friday’s game:
What went right: Pitching, pitching, pitching. The Astros held the Nationals to three hits and didn’t give up a hit until Jayson Werth singled with two outs in the seventh inning off Brett Myers. Starter Bud Norris walked one batter in three hitless innings and Lucas Harrell retired all nine batters he faced. Then there was another strong outing by Myers, who pitched a scoreless innings while working in back-to-back games for the second time this spring. Brandon Lyon also had a scoreless inning.
Astros manager Brad Mills said early Friday he wanted to see the Astros tighten things up with only two weeks left before the start of the regular season, and the team did just that. Houston bashed 12 hits and didn’t make an error. Brian Bixler, starting in the outfield, strengthened his case to make the team by going 2-for-4 with a homer against his former team while starting in the outfield. Chris Johnson also belted a homer.
Carlos Lee also had a pair of hits and an RBI. Jed Lowrie, Travis Buck, Justin Ruggiano, Jose Altuve, Jack Cust and Brett Wallace also had hits. For Cust, his pinch-hit single in the third inning was his first of the spring, snapping an 0-for-24 drought. Cust still isn’t seeing any time in the outfield because of cranky left elbow.
What went wrong: Bud Norris was held to three innings because he woke up Friday with tightness in his triceps, but manager Brad Mills has no concerns and says Norris will be able to make his next start.
Other than a homer allowed by Fernando Abad to Jason Michaels, there’s not much that went wrong for the Astros. The only starting position player to not get a hit was Brian Bogusevic, but he walked and stole a base and scored.
What’s next: The race for the fifth spot in the starting pitching rotation will take center stage when Kyle Weiland takes the mound to face the Pirates at 12:05 p.m. CT in Bradenton, Fla. Weiland has allowed four hits and two runs in seven innings in his last two spring starts.
What they said: “He really had a tough time getting his arm loose and had a little tightness in his triceps. So when he went out there, [pitching coach Doug Brocail] was saying, ‘Let’s see if we can get 45 pitches out of you anyway and get some work in and get through three innings.’ Sure enough he did, and he threw the ball really well.” — Astros manager Brad Mills on starting pitcher Bud Norris.
Injury update: CF Jordan Schafer, who sprained his left hand making a diving catch in the outfield on Sunday, said he’s still a few days away from being able to return to the lineup. Schafer took some swings off a tee Friday but had to shut it down when he tried to hit live pitching. … LHP Sergio Escalona has hit a roadblock in his recovery from a hyper extended left elbow suffered swinging a bat early in camp. The Astros said he was set to be examined by a doctor. … OF Jack Cust was originally scheduled to start in the outfield in Friday’s B game, but was moved to designated hitter because of his balky left elbow. Cust has yet to make an appearance in the outfield during a Grapefruit League game this spring, but he came off the bench and delivered a pinch-hit in the third to snap an 0-for-24 spring drought.
Here are the pictures:
Behind a dominant pitching performance from Mets knuckle-baller R.A. Dickey, the Astros lost to the Mets, 8-2, on Thursday afternoon to fall to 9-9. Here is the boxscore.
Now, onto the breakdown:
What went right: Rhiner Cruz, a Rule 5 pick from the Mets, had easily his best outing of the spring, and it came against his old team. He struck out a batter to end the fourth and strand runners at second and third, and then pitched a 1-2-3 fifth inning and finished with two strikeouts.
Closer Brett Myers continues to pitch extremely well. He pounded the strike zone in his one inning of work, pitching around an error, and was at 90-92 mph on the radar gun. “He was spotting his fastball and his curveball had good depth,” manager Brad Mills said. “He was able to throw the curveball two different speeds — a hard one and a softer one, and both of them had real good depth. Obviously, he’s starting to get the feel for that because it was the same way last time.”
Henry Sosa also pitched well, allowing one hit and striking out two batters in 1 2/3 innings of work.
Not much to brag about at the plate, though the Astros did scorch some balls in the ninth inning, including a hit by Brad Snyder. Justin Ruggiano came off the bench and had a pair of hits, including a double. The only other hit was a single by Scott Moore, who also made a tremendous defensive play at third base in the eighth.
Matt Downs hit a rocket in the ninth inning that would have been extra bases had the left fielder not made an acrobatic catch at the wall.
What went wrong: The Astros didn’t manage a hit against Mets starter R.A. Dickey until Justin Ruggiano’s pinch-hit in the sixth inning. Among those going 0-for-3: J.B. Shuck, Travis Buck, J.D. Martinez, Jimmy Paredes and Jason Castro. When Dickey changes speeds like that, he’s tough to hit.
Wandy Rodriguez battled command problems all game, throwing 80 pitches in 3 2/3 innings. He allowed six hits, four runs and walked five batters and said after the game he understands he needs to pitch deeper into games. Rodriguez hasn’t had a good spring, but he did the same thing last year and was pretty good in the regular season.
Sergio Escalona, in only his second appearance of the spring because of an elbow hyper-extension, gave up four hits and four runs (three earned) in one-third of an inning.
The Astros also committed three errors: a fielding error by Paredes at third, a missed catch by Carlos Lee at first on a throw from Paredes that was a little wide and a fielding error by Moore. Ruggiano and Snyder collided in right-center field chasing a ball, but Snyder hauled it in.
What they said: “His concern comes from he wants to be out there throwing to work on things. When his pitch count gets so high early the game, those are stressful innings and I don’t want to kill him out there.” — Astros manager Brad Mills on pulling starter Wandy Rodriguez in the fourth after 80 pitches.
What’s next: Bud Norris starts when the Astros return home to face the Washington Nationals at 12:05 p.m. CT on Friday. Norris gave up five hits, five runs and four walks in his previous outing Saturday against the Yankees. Shortstop Jed Lowrie, who fouled a ball off his foot Tuesday and hasn’t played since, is scheduled to make his return to the lineup.
Injury update: Center fielder Jordan Schafer (left hand sprain) is day-to-day, but won’t play until Saturday at the earliest. … Shortstop Jed Lowrie, who fouled a ball off his foot Tuesday and hasn’t played since, is scheduled to make his return to the lineup Saturday.
Here are a few pictures from Digital Domain Park:
The Astros broke out the big bats, getting the first home runs of the spring from Carlos Lee and Jed Lowrie, to beat the Mets, 9-5, on Sunday and snap a three-game losing streak. Here is the boxscore.
Here is the breakdown:
What went right: The Astros pounced on Mets starter Mike Pelfrey and finished with 12 hits, including eight extra-base hits (six doubles, two home runs). The top of the batting order was especially productive, with Jordan Schafer walking twice and scoring two runs, Jed Lowrie going 2-for-3 with a homer and a double from the left side of the plate, Travis Buck going 3-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBIs and Carlos Lee going 2-for-3 with a double, a home run and five RBIs.
Mills continues to like Lowrie in the No. 2 spot.
“The games he’s hit second, he’s really swung the bat well and that’s nice to see,” he said.
Elsewhere, Brett Wallace was 1-for-1 with an opposite-field double, Scott Moore was 1-for-4 with a double, Jimmy Paredes was 1-for-4 with a run scored and Humberto Quintero, who had been slowed by a bulging disk in his back, made his Grapefruit League debut and went 1-for-3 while catching for five innings.
The Astros turned a pair of double plays, and Paredes stole a base.
On the mound, three relief pitchers combined for four scoreless innings. Enerio Del Rosario allowed one hit in two clean innings, and Brandon Lyon and Fernando Abad enjoyed 1-2-3 frames.
What went wrong: Starting pitcher Livan Hernandez got knocked around a little bit, allowing five hits, four runs and three walks in three innings. He said he felt he was rushing to the plate a little bit and wasn’t too worried, considering he’s got a few more starts left in Florida.
“He just really wasn’t killing himself out there and he went back out for 11 more pitches [in the fourth] and then I went and got him,” manager Brad Mills said.
Fernando Martinez went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts and a walk against his former team, and Matt Downs went 0-for-4 and committed a fielding error while playing second base.
What they said: “I feel comfortable at the plate and I feel I’m in the right position to hit. I’m seeing the ball pretty good, and I’m happy where I am at right now.” — Astros first baseman Carlos Lee on driving in five runs Sunday, including a three-run home run.
What’s next: Right-hander Kyle Weiland, who has allowed no runs and three hits in eight innings this spring, makes the start for the Astros when they travel to Jupiter, Fla., to meet the Miami Marlins at 12:05 p.m. CT. Weiland threw four hitless innings Monday against the Yankees in Tampa and is in the thick of the race for the fifth starter’s spot.
Injury update: CF Jordan Schafer left Sunday’s game in the third inning after spraining his left hand while making a diving catch. He’s listed as day-to-day after X-rays were negative. … LHP Sergio Escalona (elbow inflammation) is available to pitch and could get into a game as early as Monday, but most likely Tuesday. … OF Jack Cust (right elbow tendinitis) played three innings in the outfield in a Minor League game Sunday and threw out a runner, while going 1-for-1 with two walks. Cust has yet to play in the outfield in Grapefruit League play because of the elbow.
Here are some photos:
There might not be a more difficult environment to judge pitchers, especially early in camp, than in central Florida. The wind is usually whipping around and bright, sunny skies make tracking fly balls difficult. What does this have to do with pitchers? Astros starter J.A. Happ was victimized by the conditions when left fielder J.D. Martinez lost a fly ball in the sun in the first inning Friday, and right Jason Bourgeois couldn’t quite corral a ball in the fourth as it darted through the wind and the sun’s rays.
Still, Happ was the first to say he needs to pitch around that stuff, and ultimately the outfielders know they need to make those plays. It was just one of those days at the ballpark for the Astros, who lost consecutive games for the first time this spring, 11-2, to the Jays at Osceola County Stadium. You can see the boxscore here.
The big news from camp Friday was the decision by the Astros to keep the pistol on the retro Colt .45s jerseys they will wear twice this year. You can read all about it here, including reaction from an original Colt .45.
Here’s the breakdown:
What went right: Let’s start with two guys coming off injuries — third baseman Jimmy Paredes and catcher Jason Castro.
Castro caught six innings — his longest stint of the spring — and continues to look strong. He went 1-for-2 at the plate with an RBI and a double and threw out the speedy Anthony Gose trying to steal. You remember Anthony Gose, right? He was one of the players the Astros acquired from the Phillies in the Roy Oswalt deal, but they quickly spun him to the Jays for Brett Wallace.
Paredes, meanwhile, made his first start of the spring after nursing a wrist injury and went 1-for-3 with a run scored and three balls that were hit hard, to both fields. He also made a nice defensive play at third base on a bases-loaded dribbler, picking the ball and throwing out the runner at first. He’s going to be fun to watch for sure.
The other Astros hits came off the bats of Brandon Barnes, Carlos Lee, George Springer and Jose Altuve.
Eight Astros pitchers took the mound, and David Carpenter, Wilton Lopez and Wesley Wright each threw a scoreless inning to end the game. Carpenter struck out two batters, and Lopez whiffed all three batters he faced. Wright had one strikeout.
The Astros didn’t commit an error.
What went wrong: Starting pitcher J.A. Happ was shaky and needed 64 pitches to make it through 2 2/3 innings, allowing five hits, three runs and three walks. It’s early and he’s still working on stuff, but Happ would like to see better results. Left fielder J.D. Martinez lost a ball in the sun in the first inning that led to a run, and perhaps both runs Happ allowed.
“With Happ, I would have liked to have seen him stay in control of the [first] inning a little bit,” manager Brad Mills said. “After that first guy gets on, that kind of shook him up a little bit. And then the ball got right in the sun for J.D. and it was kind of tough. At least we were able to talk about it with him and hopefully we can get away from that.”
Brett Myers is trying to build arm strength as he gets geared up to be the closer and allowed three hits and three runs in one inning, throwing a lot of fastballs. He, too, saw an outfielder misplay a fly ball because of the elements, which could have affected his line. Don’t worry about Myers. He’ll be fine.
Aneury Rodriguez was simply just knocked around. Rodriguez had a 1-2-3 fifth inning, striking out a pair, before getting tagged for five hits, five runs and two walks in the sixth as the game got out of hand.
“He had such a good first inning and then lead-off home run got to him and the four-pitch base on balls got him in trouble. All in all, the six walks was a big detriment to what happened today,” Mills said.
At the plate, the Astros were held to six hits. Jordan Schafer, Jason Bourgeois and Brian Bogusevic were 0-for-3.
What they said: “Offensively, their guy [pitcher Henderson Alvarez] was getting head of us throwing quality strikes right away. We still did a pretty good job of having some pretty good at-bats. We did hit quite a few balls hard. I’m trying to look at some of the bright things. We scored two runs, but when you get down like that it takes a lot out of your offense as well.” — Astros manager Brad Mills.
What’s next: Left-hander Zach Duke will state his case to be in the starting rotation when he makes his first start of the spring when the Astros meet the Blue Jays at 12:05 p.m. CT Saturday in Dunedin, Fla. Duke pitched three innings in relief Monday. Jordan Lyles will pitch behind Duke and could go three innings.
Injury update: Catcher Humberto Quintero, who had a cortisone injection into his back on Wednesday to help alleviate the pain from a bulging disk, will catch in the bullpen on Saturday and attempt to block balls and throw on Sunday, with hopes of making his return Monday against the Yankees. … Infielder Angel Sanchez, who has been dealing with back pain, didn’t play in Friday’s game against Toronto as originally planned. Astros manager Brad Mills said he didn’t want to put Sanchez in a game that was out of hand. Mills said the team doctors don’t want Sanchez riding the bus for four hours Saturday when the Astros travel to Dunedin, Fla., to play the Jays, so he plans to have him in the starting lineup Sunday at home against the Tigers. … LHP Sergio Escalona (elbow soreness) continues to play catch.
Here are the photos: