Results tagged ‘ spring Training ’
The biggest news of the day concerning the Astros actually happened nearly 1,000 miles away in Houston, where the club announced its 2013 radio and television broadcast team. There wasn’t much mystery to the names, but with the start of games only 10 days, the incoming broadcasters can talk publicly about their new roles. Stay tuned.
Today’s Astros notebook has tons of information, including injury update on catcher Max Stassi, what Bo Porter has to stay about leadership and a look who might hit leadoff for the Astros. We also take a closer look at manager Bo Porter and what he’s done in the first few days of camp to transform the mood of the club.
At Osceola County Stadium, another three groups of pitchers got on the mound for the first time.
Group 1B: Erik Bedard, Philip Humber, Jordan Lyles, Jose Cisnero, Rudy Owens.
Group 2B: Dallas Keuchel, Jose Veras, Josh Fields, Ross Seaton, Rhiner Cruz.
Group 3B: Paul Clemens, Chia-Jen Lo, Hector Ambriz, C.J. Fick, Sergio Escalona.
It was a big step for Escalona, who missed all of last season following Tommy John surgery.
“That is one step right now to just keep going to the goal,” he said. “I say ‘Thank God.’ That’s everything I have to say. I was patient, I was working for this day and, like I said, it’s one step at a time. I can’t get overexcited and just try to do everything to my best. I’m excited and really happy for today and just need to prepare for the second one.”
Here is the day in pictures:
Every day for Astros manager Bo Porter is simply about laying a foundation. Every day will be another brick in the team’s master plan of building a championship contender, he said, and the Astros took another step towards that process Tuesday when pitchers and catchers worked out for the first time.
“It was a good brick,” Porter said of the first workout.
The groups of pitchers that put in their first in the bullpen were:
Group 1A: Lucas Harrell, Bud Norris, John Ely, Jarred Cosart, Brad Peacock.
Group 2A: Wesley Wright, Edgar Gonzalez, Alex White, Sam Demel and Jose Valdez.
Group 3A: Xavier Cedeno, Josh Zeid, Kevin Chapman, Brett Oberholtzer.
Those who didn’t throw Tuesday will get on the mound Wednesday. When the pitchers weren’t throwing, they were rotated through three fundamental stations, covering pick-offs, fielding bunts and holding runners. The end of the day brought conditioning tests.
“When I heard running test, the first I heard as a pitching coach is, ‘I don’t want to lose anybody, I don’t want a groin tear or have a misshape with plantar fascistic,’” pitching coach Doug Brocail said. “They slowed some of our guys down. It was no big deal.”
Porter didn’t want the players to do too much on the first day.
“We don’t want them to come out here and blow out the first day,” he said. “It was good to see the guys get on the mound. I like the fact the majority of guys that stepped up there today, they kept the ball down and worked the outer half of the plate. It was good.”
The first day of workouts went smooth enough for Porter that the only thing he planned to change Tuesday was saving his voice. Porter was forced to yell across the fields several times to get someone’s attention, and by the end of the day the clubhouse staff had purchased air horns.
“I think the schedule went well,” he said. “The guys got a lot of work in.”
The pitchers will throw twice in the bullpen before throwing twice to live hitters once position players are here. They will take a three-day break before starting to work in games.
“Everybody looked good today,” Brocail said. “The adrenaline is starting to flow. I’ve been lucky. I’ve had Norris, Harrell, Zeid, [Ross] Seaton and Cosart at home for the last month and a half [in Houston] and on their bullpen day showed up and worked, and the other days we weren’t throwing bullpens I got to see who was coming in early and busting their hump every single day.”
There was some room for fun. Porter, who was a defensive back at the University of Iowa, pretended to cover Harrell, challenging him to get separation from him.
“It’s very important to have fun,” he said. “You come out here and look at the work schedule and there are portions of the day the work schedule is going to dictate you get right to it, but we get to certain aspects of the day we want these guys to be loose, we want them to have fun and at the same time get their work in.”
Another new wrinkle this year: The pitchers lined up to give each other congratulatory handshakes following the workout, mimicking what happens on the field after a win.
“If you want to be it, you have to be it before you are it,” Porter said. “We talk about the culture, we talk about winning. We’re going to do things around here that symbolizes winning and get these guys’ mindset used to shaking hands.”
Here is the day in photos:
Astros pitchers and catchers hit the field Tuesday morning at Osceola County Stadium for the first official workout of Spring Training. They’ll be joined on Saturday by the rest of the position players, many of whom are already in Kissimmee and working out.
Among those to arrive Tuesday were outfielders Rick Ankiel and Fernando Martinez, who said he has decided not to participate in the World Baseball Classic. Manager Bo Porter is thrilled to see so many position players in the field.
“It’s exciting,” he said. “We’ve had great participation in our offseason program and had guys in Houston working out throughout the offseason. You look around from a position-player standpoint, and I want to say we had about 15 players, position players, out yesterday doing a voluntary workout. It shows their anxiousness and excitement to get this thing started.”
Porter plans to address the team prior to Saturday’s workout, but he did have a few words before pitchers and catchers hit the field Tuesday.
“We talked about change,” he said. “You can look around and tell things are changed. We talked about the opportunities that present themselves in this organization. I told them, ‘Embrace both of them. Embrace change and embrace the opportunity,’ and we’re looking for guys to take the bull by the horn and take the opportunity to become Houston Astros.”
Here are some early photos:
Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow met with the front office and the field staff for a few hours Monday afternoon to pore over every player on the Spring Training roster. It’s standard procedure in advance of pitchers and catchers hitting the field Tuesday for the first official workout of the spring.
Pitchers and catchers were officially scheduled to report Monday, and the only player who didn’t show up was catcher Carlos Perez, who’s dealing with visa issues in his native Venezuela. Luhnow didn’t have a timetable for his return, but doesn’t think it will be a long-term issue. The Astros have 29 pitches and six catchers currently in camp.
“The staff, we just all got together upstairs and talked through every pitcher and catcher in camp and it look us a few hours to do that,” Luhnow said. “Really talking about what our expectations are this spring, what’s it’s going to take for them to make the club, what scouting reports do we have for them from last year, talking about new players we haven’t seen yet. Trying to give everybody who’s here in camp as much background as they can on the players that are here.”
Monday’s Astros notebook has updates on who might start on the mound on Opening Day, the health of left-hander Sergio Escalona and more.
Here are some pictures from Monday’s camp activity:
Here are some photos taken Thursday of the activity at Osceola County Stadium, which will host Astros Spring Training beginning next week. Photos are courtesy of Kiwi Global Solutions, LLC.
Seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens will be uniform as an instructor for the Astros at Spring Training next month.
Clemens, who has a personal services contract with the Astros, met for five hours Monday morning at Minute Maid Park with general manager Jeff Luhnow, pitching coach Doug Brocail, director of player development Quinton McCracken and the amateur scouts.
“We talked about pitching in the Minor Leagues, scouting pitching, pitching in the college ranks and high school ranks and teaching pitching, so it was a good working day,” Luhnow said.
Luhnow and Clemens also mapped out a plan for Spring Training that will see Clemens make at least a couple of trips to Kissimmee, Fla., beginning in late February for a Minor League mini camp. He’ll also work with the Major League club at that time and again later in camp.
“We feel pretty good about Roger’s level of involvement this year,” he said. “I think he’s going to be a lot more involved than he was last year and we’d welcome it on our side to have someone like him around.”
Clemens was a frequent sight around the back fields at Osceola County Stadium following his retirement in 2007, especially since his oldest son, Koby, played in the Astros system from 2005-2011. He’s kept a lower profile the last couple of years, but will take an active role this year.
“At this point, the plan to make two trips to Kissimmee to work with our pitchers and then he’ll be available and around during several of the homestands this year,” Luhnow said. “If we feel like we need him to send him on assignment to one of our Minor League affiliates or see a pitcher for the Draft, he’s open to doing that. We’ll play it by ear, but we expect we’ll see Roger in Kissimmee sometime before the end of February.”
Luhnow said having an asset like Clemens will be huge for a young team with several up-and-coming arms.
“It’s got a tremendous amount of value because not only does he understand where they’re coming from, he was an amateur player, he was a young professional and he had a long, storied career,” he said. “But he has a lot of anecdotes from throughout his career about different people that taught him different things and the successes and failures he had, and I think it really makes it real when you hear these stories.
“A lot of these kids probably watched him on TV when they were youngsters, so to hear it straight from his mouth will have a huge impact on them. Today was a good today because we felt we were very much in alignment in terms of our vision in terms of how Doug teaches it and Roger teaches it. It’s great Doug is welcoming Roger with open arms.”
In their final game of the year at Osceola County Stadium, the Astros lost to the Yankees, 11-9, when the game was called with two outs in the top of the ninth inning with rain falling (boxscore). Houston will take a 14-15 record into its Grapefruit League finale on Sunday against the Tigers in Lakeland, Fla.
Astros owner Jim Crane toured the Mets’ spring facility before flying to Kissimmee on Saturday for the Astros game. Here’s what he had to say about possibly moving the team out of Kissimmee when the lease expires in 2016.
For an update on the health of Jed Lowrie, click here.
Here’s the breakdown:
What went right: There were plenty of things to like offensively, with the Astros belting four home runs. Sure, the wind was blowing out, but several Astros players put good swings on some balls. The Astros hit four home runs — Justin Ruggiano (2-for-4, four RBIs) had a three-run homer and Brian Bogusevic (2-for-4), Carlos Lee and Chris Johnson (3-for-4) had solo shots to pace the Astros’ 14-hit attack.
Bogusevic homered off a left-hander, which pleased manager Brad Mills, and Johnson went the other way.
Elsewhere at the plate, Travis Buck went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and Jose Altuve, Chris Snyder, Landon Powell and Marwin Gonzalez each had a hit.
Only two Astros pitchers didn’t give up a run, and neither pitched a full inning. David Carpenter got the final out in the fifth to escape a mess, and Fernando Rodriguez got two outs in the ninth before the game was called.
What went wrong: The Yankees, taking advantage of a stiff wind (like the Astros did, too), slugged five homers. Starter Jordan Lyles’ final start of the spring wasn’t a good one. He allowed 11 hits and eight runs in 4 2/3 innings to raise his spring ERA to 8.41.
“Nothing went as planned,” Lyles said. “I didn’t throw it to my target, and when it was over the plate they hit it really hard. It wasn’t my day. I’ve got to do a better job of eliminating the big innings when I don’t have my control and my stuff.”
The Astros now have a difficult decision to make on Lyles, who made 15 starts last year at 20 years old but was out-pitched this spring by Kyle Weiland and Lucas Harrell.
“We’re discussing everything,” Mills said. “We’re going through all kinds of things right now with our starters and the games we have left [in exhibition season]. We want to look at everything and go from there.”
Brandon Lyon pitched for the second day in a row and gave up two homers in one inning. The Astros didn’t commit any errors, but they weren’t crisp on defense early in the game and allowed the Yankees to keep some innings going.
J.D. Martinez went 0-for-4 and was the only starter sans a hit.
What they said: “I know I’ve had a bad outing here or there. Hopefully, those couple of outings won’t hold me back or hinder me. They might feel like other guys have pitched better in Spring Training, which they might have. There’s no excuses. I should have pitched better if that’s the case.” — Astros pitcher Jordan Lyles on his chances of making the Opening Day roster.
What’s next: The Astros close out the Grapefruit League portion of their spring schedule when they face the Detroit Tigers at 12:05 p.m. CT in Lakeland, Fla. Wandy Rodriguez, the Astros’ Opening Day starter, will make his final start of the spring before facing the Rockies on April 6 in Houston.
Injury update: CF Jordan Schafer (left hand) took batting practice Saturday and should get a couple of at-bats Sunday, which would mark his first game action in two weeks. … SS Jed Lowrie (right thumb) is going to be out for a few more days.
Astros owner Jim Crane made another pass through Florida on Saturday, arriving at Osceola County Stadium and taking in batting practice with some of his partners.
Earlier in the day, Crane toured the Mets’ Spring Training facility in Port St. Lucie, which is down the road from his Floridian Golf Club. Crane has previously visited the Spring Training sites of the Yankees in Tampa and the Cardinals and Marlins in Jupiter, Fla.
The Astros are under contract with Osceola County Stadium through 2015.
“As we said last time, we’re kind of looking at all the different spots and we had time to go there this morning and take a tour of the field and look at their facilities,” he said. “Certainly, they’re interested in another team there, but we’ve still got a deal here for quite some time so we’re just kind of learning. We’ll probably go out to Phoenix this week and check out a couple of spots and look at a few more spots in Florida.”
Crane hasn’t said the Astros will move their Spring Training facility when their lease in Kissimmee expires, but the state of Florida is actively trying to keep its 15 teams in the Grapefruit League and prevent any further defections to the Cactus League in Arizona.
“The state of Florida wants to keep everybody here,” he said. “We’ve got to do what’s best for us, and certainly this is a nice facility.”
As far as the upcoming season goes, Crane said Friday’s Opening Day game against the Rockies is approaching a sellout.
“We’re trying to sell out the opening game,” he said. “We’re getting close. We might make it. We’re working hard at it.”
Meanwhile, Crane and the Astros have about a month to submit new uniform designs to Major League Baseball. The Astros have had focus groups with fans to gauge new uniform designs, and it certainly appears the club will have a new look when it begins play in the American League in 2013.
“We’ve got another pass next week and we’ll be making some decisions pretty quick,” he said. “We’ve gotten a lot of good input from the fans in the focus group, but also including some of the players and the guy that washes the uniforms. That’s very important. You’ve got to make sure the uniforms won’t break down on you.
“We’re leaning very heavily towards it and I’d be surprised if we didn’t [change].”