Results tagged ‘ Wandy Rodriguez ’

History of Luhnow’s major trades in Houston.

Here’s a look at the significant deals made by Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow since he took over 14 months ago (you can click on each player’s name for his 2012 stats):

Date: Dec. 14, 2011.

Astros receive: SS Jed Lowrie, RHP Kyle Weiland.

Red Sox receive: RHP Mark Melancon.

The skinny: Luhnow’s first trade as GM was a good one. Weiland showed promise last spring before a serious arm infection ended his season, but Lowrie proved to be one of the team’s top offensive weapons when healthy. Luhnow wound up dealing Lowrie to the A’s for three players earlier this week, giving this trade even a more significant return. Melancon was a bust in Boston and has landed in Pittsburgh.

Date: March 21, 2012.

Astros receive: LHP Kevin Chapman, player to be name named later (OF D’Andre Toney).

Royals receive: C Humberto Quintero, OF Jason Bourgeois.

The skinny: Quintero and Bourgeois were back-ups who couldn’t crack the starting lineup of a last-place team, and Luhnow managed to trade them for two Minor Leaguers. Chapman had a good year in relief at Double-A Corpus Christi last season and could be a left-handed option in the pen down the road. Toney played at Greeneville and remains a work in progress.

Date: July 4, 2012.

Astros receive: IF Matt Dominguez, LHP Rob Rasmussen.

Marlins receive: 1B Carlos Lee, cash.

The skinny: The first of five major trades in July, the Marlins were desperate for first base help and gave the Astros two Minor League players for the aging slugger. The Astros were happy to get him off their roster, and were even willing to pay the bulk of his remaining contract. Dominguez was brought up to the Majors and was impressive, hitting .284 with five homers and 16 RBIs in 109 at-bats. Everyone knew he could play defense, but he showed enough offensively that he’ll enter spring as the starting third baseman. Rasmussen was shipped to the Dodgers for RHP John Ely a few months later.

Date: July 20, 2012.

Astros receive: RHP Francisco Cordero, OF Ben Francisco, RHP Asher Wojciechowski, RHP Joe Musgrove, LHP David Rollins, C Carlos Perez, a player to be named later (RHP Kevin Comer).

Blue Jays receive: LHP J.A. Happ, RHP Brandon Lyon, RHP David Carpenter.

The skinny: The Astros acquired seven players, including four Minor Leaguers and a player to be named later, in a 10-player deal with the Jays. Happ had been with the team two years and could never gain consistency, while Lyon was in the final year of his three-year deal. This trade was more about the Minor League arms the Astros received, while addressing a catching shortage in the system, more than it was about the two big league players they received. Neither Cordero nor Francisco made it to the end of the season in Houston. Musgrove, Comer and Perez are among the Astros’ top 20 prospects.

Date: July 21, 2012.

Astros receive: RHP Matthew Heidenreich, LHP Blair Walters, a player to be named later (RHP Chris Devenski)

White Sox receive: RHP Brett Myers, cash.

The skinny: With Myers having a good shot at vesting his 2013 option that would have paid him $10 million, the Astros sent him to the White Sox and stockpiled a few more Minor League arms. Myers was having a solid season as closer after starting 66 games the previous two years in Houston. Heidenreich finished the year in the rotation at Double-A Corpus Christi and pitched well, while Walters took his lumps as a starter in the hitter-friendly environment in Lancaster.

Date: July 25, 2012.

Astros receive: LHP Rudy Owens, OF Robbie Grossman, LHP Colton Cain.

Pirates receive: LHP Wandy Rodriguez, cash.

The skinny: The rebuilding effort continued as the Astros sent Rodriguez – the last remaining member from the 2005 World Series team – to the Pirates for three more prospects. The Astros had to pay a substantial part of Rodriguez’s remaining contract, but they felt getting more prospect was worth the price. Owens will come to Major League camp and will likely start the year in the rotation at Triple-A Oklahoma City. Grossman will also be at big league camp after getting on-base at a .422 clip in 36 games last year in Double-A Corpus Christi.

Date: July 29, 2012.

Astros receive:  IF Bobby Borchering, OF Marc Krauss.

D-backs receive: 3B Chris Johnson.

The skinny: The Astros pulled off their fifth trade of the month. Houston wasn’t actively shopping Johnson, but he had recently gone on a tear and some teams were getting aggressive in their pursuit of the 27-year-old third baseman. Unlike the previous trades in July in which the Astros stockpiled the pitching, the Johnson trade brought a pair of bats, and in the case of Borchering, maybe some much-needed power to the system. Borchering hit four homers in 30 games at Double-A Corpus Christi, giving him 24 homers and 86 RBIs for the season as a whole. Krauss killed it in Corpus Christi, hitting .414 with a .514 on-base percentage and a 1.000 slugging percentage with five homers and 16 RBIs in only seven games. He finished the year in the outfield at Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Date: Dec. 5, 2012.

Astros receive: RHP Alex White, RHP Alex Gillingham.

Rockies receive: RHP Wilton Lopez and player to be named later or cash..

The skinny: Less than a week after the Astros tried to send Lopez to the Phillies, they were able to use the arbitration-eligible relief pitcher to acquire White and right-hander Gillingham. White appeared in 23 games (20 starts) for the Rockies last season and was 2-9 with a 5.51 ERA. He split the season between Colorado and Triple-A Colorado Springs, where he went 3-4 with a 3.71 ERA. He will battle for a spot in the rotation this spring, but could pitch out of the bullpen.

Date: Dec. 19, 2012

Astros receive: RHP John Ely.

Dodgers receive: LHP Rob Rasmussen.

The skinny: The Astros gave up a 23-year-old left-hander they had acquired only months earlier for a 26-year-old right-hander in Ely, who gives them Major League experience. Ely, who is 4-13 with a 5.70 ERA over three seasons with the Dodgers, is expected to compete for a spot in Houston’s rotation, though he could begin the season in Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Date: Feb. 4, 2013.

Astros receive: RHP Brad Peacock, OF/1B Chris Carter, C Max Stassi.

A’s receive: SS Jed Lowrie, RHP Fernando Rodriguez.

The skinny: The Astros shipped Lowrie, who was set to make $2.4 million this year, to the A’s along with Rodriguez and go three young players. The trade was text book for a rebuilding club — trade an established player with a rising salary for youth. Peacock will compete for a rotation spot, and Carter is expected to be a fixture in the lineup. He’s a right-handed hitter with plenty of power. Stassi becomes one of the Astros top catching prospects in a position where there was a definite need in the Minor Leagues.

Luhnow excited to add more talent to system

More has been written about the players the Astros have dealt in the past few weeks, proven veterans like Brett Myers, Carlos Lee and Wandy Rodriguez, than the bushel of players the Astros have gotten in return.

That’s natural when you consider the prospects the team has acquired are unknown commodities, but general manager Jeff Luhnow likes what the Astros were able to do in Tuesday’s trade of Wandy Rodriguez to the Pirates.

The Astros sent Rodriguez to the Pirates and acquired left-handed pitchers Rudy Owens and Colton Cain and outfielder Robbie Grossman. Owens is on the 40-man roster and headed to Triple-A Oklahoma City, Grossman is going to Double-A Corpus Christi and Cain is headed to Class A Lancaster.

In all, the Astros have acquired 11 Minor League players and two players to be named later in four July trades.

“We’ve accumulated quite a lot of talent in our system, and it’s everywhere – from rookie ball to Triple-A – and we feel good about that,” Luhnow said.

Owens, 24, has posted an 8-5 record and a 3.14 ERA in 19 starts for Triple-A Indianapolis this season. He has 85 strikeouts and has walked only 25 in his 117 1/3 innings pitched. Owens, who will join the club’s 40-man roster, was Pittsburgh’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2009 and 2010.

“To have a left-handed starting pitcher that’s that close to the big leagues is huge for us,” Luhnow said.

Grossman, 22, was hitting .262 with 20 doubles, seven home runs, 35 RBIs and a .374 on-base percentage in 94 games for Double-A Altoona this season. Primarily a center fielder, Grossman was named Pittsburgh’s Minor League Player of the Year last year after hitting .294 and leading the Florida State League with 124 runs scored and 104 walks in 134 games.  The switch-hitting Grossman is currently ranked by as Pittsburgh’s No. 7 prospect. He was originally a sixth-round selection in the 2008 Draft out of Cy-Fair High School in Houston.

“Grossman has a unique ability to get on base, and it’s something we’ve always liked,” Luhnow said. “He did it in high school when he was here in Houston and he’s done it his entire career. He really profiles as a good, plus center fielder who can lead off and get on base at a high clip.

“Something we’ve stressed all year with this club is pitch selection and not chasing and getting on base and doing the things that set up for big innings. We’ve done better, but we haven’t executed that as well as I would like to see. We’re doing a lot of reenforcing of that playing style in the Minor Leagues, and so we get someone who excels in that. He’s the first Minor League player to have 100 walks and 100 runs since Nick Swisher, who’s well-known for that kind of stuff. He has tremendous offensive upside for us and can play defense.”

Cain, 21, is 3-5 this season with a 4.20 ERA in 16 starts for Class A Bradenton in the Florida State League. He has allowed just a .242 opponent’s batting average, including a .226 mark against right-handed hitters. A graduate of Waxahachie High School in Texas, Cain was considered one of the top high school players in the state before being selected by Pittsburgh in the eighth round of the 2009 Draft.

Wandy on his way to Pittsburgh

Wandy Rodriguez, the last remnant from the Astros’ 2005 National League championship team, was shipped to the Pirates on Tuesday night in the latest of a flurry of deals Houston has made this month.

Rodriguez told getting traded was difficult, especially when he went into the dugout and hugged teammates and coaches before leaving the ballpark. He’ll join the Pirates when they arrive in Houston on Thursday.

“I feel like I could cry,” he said. “It’s a hard situation. We’ve been together for years in Spring Training and through the season and when he I said goodbye to my teammates, it was very emotional.”

Rodriguez, signed by the Astros as an un-drafted free agent in 1999, had been in the organization for more than 13 years.

“I’ve been in this organization for a long time,” he said. “The city and the fans have been great to me.”

That being said, Rodriguez understands the club is headed in a new direction as it rebuilds.

“I understand for the Astros organization, they want young guys,” he said. “Pittsburgh is very, very good and playing really good now.”

The Astros, who also sent cash to the Pirates, also acquired left-handed pitchers Rudy Owens and Colton Cain and outfielder Robbie Grossman. It’s the third trade the Astros have made in a span of five days as they continue to stockpile Minor League talent.

“Wandy has been a terrific pitcher for the Astros for a long time,” Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said. “Trading a player like Wandy is not easy, but we know this deal is a very good one for us, the Pirates and for Wandy. We thank him for all he has done for the Astros and wish him continued success.”

Rodriguez was 80-83 with a 4.04 ERA in his seven seasons in Houston. He’s struck out more batters than any left-hander in Astros history and is second on the team’s all-time charts among lefties in starts (218), wins and innings pitched (1,306 2/3).

Rodriguez, 33, is making $10 million this season and $13 million next year. There’s a $13 million option for 2014 that essentially kicks because Rodriguez is traded. It’s unknown how much money the Astros are sending in the deal.

Owens, 24, has posted an 8-5 record and a 3.14 ERA in 19 starts for Triple-A Indianapolis this season. He has 85 strikeouts and has walked only 25 in his 117 1/3 innings pitched. Owens, who will join the club’s 40-man roster, was Pittsburgh’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2009 and 2010.

Grossman, 22, was hitting .262 with 20 doubles, seven home runs, 35 RBIs and a .374 on-base percentage in 94 games for Double-A Altoona this season. Primarily a center fielder, Grossman was named Pittsburgh’s Minor League Player of the Year last year after hitting .294 and leading the Florida State League with 124 runs scored and 104 walks in 134 games.

The switch-hitting Grossman is currently ranked by as Pittsburgh’s No. 7 prospect. He was originally a sixth-round selection in the 2008 Draft out of Cy-Fair High School in Houston.

Cain, 21, is 3-5 this season with a 4.20 ERA in 16 starts for Class A Bradenton in the Florida State League. He has allowed just a .242 opponent’s batting average, including a .226 mark against right-handed hitters. A graduate of Waxahachie High School in Texas, Cain was considered one of the top high school players in the state before being selected by Pittsburgh in the eighth round of the 2009 Draft. <p>

Game 24: Astros storm from behind to bolster Wandy

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.

Game 18: Bats can’t touch Dickey

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:

Jimmy Paredes and Angel Sanchez chat in dugout prior to game.

Wandy Rodriguez chills in the dugout before his start.

J.D. Martinez heads to the cage.

Travis Buck takes batting practice.

Carlos Lee signs autographs.

Jimmy Paredes makes contact during BP.

Game 4: Rodriguez, Lee make debuts, Snyders make noise

The Astros (3-1) got a two-run home run by Brad Snyder and a solo home run by Chris Snyder — his second homer in as many starts — to beat the split-squad New York Mets, 4-1, Tuesday afternoon at windy Osceola County Stadium. Here’s the boxscore.

In addition to marking the spring debuts of Wandy Rodriguez and Carlos Lee, Astros outfielder Fernando Martinez was playing against his former team for the first time. Catch up on his story by clicking here.

Here’s the breakdown;

WHAT WENT RIGHT: Plenty. Wandy Rodriguez allowed one hit in three scoreless innings in his first start of the spring, despite struggling with his location. Aneury Rodriguez worked two scoreless innings, and David Carpenter, Wesley Wright and Wilton Lopez each worked a scoreless inning. Carpenter struck out a pair of batters.

Rodriguez threw 51 pitches and wasn’t hampered at all by the lower back strain that bothered him earlier in camp.

“I felt good today, but I need to work a lot because I missed a lot of my spots,” he said. “That’s normal because it’s my first outing. My arm felt very strong today.”

Chris Snyder started and caught six innings behind he plate and went 1-for-3 with his second home run of the spring. Brad Snyder, a non-roster outfielder, hit a two-run homer in the second inning, cutting his ball down the right-field line and into a stiff wind. Jason Bourgeois scorched the ball three times and had one hit to show for it.

J.B. Shuck had a hit and another walk and Marwin Gonzalez, Chris Johnson, Chris Wallace and Jose Altuve each had a hit. Carlos Lee made his spring debut after missing the first three games because of a strained right hamstring and was 1-for-3.

“I felt like I was in a good position to hit,” Lee said. “The timing was a little off, being the first time out there in a real game. But I like the way I had a good approach today and stayed back and used my hands. It’s all about timing now.”

The Astros didn’t commit and error for the third time in four spring games, and they outhit an opponent (9-5) for the first time this spring.

WHAT WENT WRONG: There’s not too much to be worried about here. The only run the Mets scored came against Brett Myers, who paid for a two-out walk in the fourth. But Myers still located pretty well and he will be fine.

I could get nit-picky and write the Astros were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position, but I won’t do that.

WHAT THEY SAID: “I don’t care if it’s Spring Training or the regular season or intra-squad, I want to lock it in right now and stay locked in as much as I can. To get results is a good sign, but I’m still trying to put together good at-bats, see some pitches and make good contact.” — Astros C Chris Snyder, who’s 2-for-5 with two homers in two spring starts.

WHAT’S NEXT: Right-hander Bud Norris will be the last Astros starting pitcher to make his first appearance of the spring when he starts against the Phillies at 12:05 p.m. CT Wednesday in Clearwater, Fla. Fernando Rodriguez, Jorge De Leon and Fernando Abad are also scheduled to pitch for Houston

INJURY UPDATE: Catcher Humberto Quintero traveled to Houston on Tuesday to have his ailing back examined by a team doctor and was expected to get a cortisone shot. . … Third baseman Jimmy Paredes, who has yet to appear in a spring game because of left wrist inflammation, will face live pitching Tuesday afternoon on one of the Minor League fields. … Infielder Angel Sanchez (back) took two sets of batting practice with the coaching staff and tracked pitches with Minor Leaguers.

Here is the day in photos:

Delino DeShields Jr. gets down for a ground ball in drills.

A group of pitchers awaits morning drills.

Jose Altuve works on his bunting.

Jed Lowrie looks pensive at the cage.

Fernando Martinez catches up with former teammate Ruben Tejada.

Former University of Houston catchers Rob Johnson and Chris Snyder talk.

Escalona to undergo an MRI

Astros left-handed relief pitcher Sergio Escalona, who injured his elbow swinging a bat early in camp, will be examined by doctors today and is scheduled to undergo an MRI, manager Brad Mills said. Escalona’s elbow didn’t respond well following his live batting practice session Wednesday.

Mills also provided health updates Thursday morning on pitcher Wandy Rodriguez (back) and infielder Angel Sanchez (back).

“Escalona’s arm, after he threw yesterday, just wasn’t where he feels it needs to be and really our doctors and staff feels it needs to be,” he said. “We’re going to get him some more tests on that to see where he’s at, so he’s probably not going to throw for a while with that. Wandy’s feeling better. Sanchez is feeling better. He’s still got some issues and we’re trying to bring him along slow with his back.”

Mills also said third baseman Jimmy Paredes has been cleared to take batting practice from the left side of the plate. He’s been dealing with wrist inflammation since January.

“We’re going to have to monitor him real close,” Mills said. “He’s still a ways away.”

Wandy likely to get Astros’ Opening Day nod

With Brett Myers having been moved into the closer role, Wandy Rodriguez appears to be in line to start Opening Day. In fact, Rodriguez probably deserves the honor more than any other pitcher considering he’s got seven years with the club and is third on the club’s all-time for wins by a left-hander and first in strikeouts by a left-hander.

Still, manager Brad Mills remains non-commital.

“We’re dealing with the situation with his back tightness and so forth right now, and we’re hoping to be able get that all taken care of so we don’t have to worry about that,” Mills said. “He’s got to be considered very heavily.”

Meanwhile, Mills said Jordan Lyles would start Monday against the Braves in Kissimmee in the team’s third Grapefruit League game of the year.

Much more to come later today from what promises to be a hot day in Central Florida.

Carlos Lee yucks it up with Fernando Rodriguez, Livan Hernandez and J.D. Martinez.

Escalona, Wandy battling nagging injuries

Astros left-hander Sergio Escalona, who hyper-extended his left elbow swinging a bat earlier in the week, won’t throw his scheduled bullpen session Friday, manager Brad Mills told reporters early today.

“We wanted to give it a day of rest,” Mills said. “He’s still going to go through some things on the other fields. He’s not going to throw on the other fields. He’ll do some bunting, but no hitting. As of right now, we’re not concerned about it because he didn’t hurt it while throwing.”

Also, left-hander Wandy Rodriguez, who experienced tightness in his lower back while throwing Thursday, will go through all of the pitcher’s fielding and hitting drills, but the team told him to take it easy. He’s still on schedule to throw again Saturday in his last bullpen appearance before facing live hitting.

Much more to come later.

Astros catchers put on their gear after morning stretch.

Pence reacts to being honored in Houston

Despite playing for the Phillies for the final two months of the regular season, right fielder Hunter Pence was still voted as the Astros’ Most Valuable Player for 2011 by the Houston chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

Pence, who was traded to the Phillies on July 29, hit .308 with 11 homers and 62 RBIs in 100 games for the Astros. It’s the second consecutive year Pence has been named the team’s MVP, but this one caught him off-guard.

“Yes, that surprises me,” he said Friday after the Phillies finished working out in preparation for their National League Division Series against the Cardinals.

“Honestly, I’m very honored and humbled that they would select me for that,” he said. “It’s tough to explain. I know there’s a lot of guys that played the whole season there that had good seasons. I don’t really know what to think about that other than it makes me feel better about my accomplishments there and they recognize how I played the game. That’s cool, I guess.”

Left-hander Wandy Rodriguez was named the team’s Pitcher of the Year after going 11-11 with a 3.49 ERA in 30 starts. Outfielder J.D. Martinez was named Rookie of the Year and outfielder Jason Bourgeois was named the winner of the Darryl Kile “Good Guy” Award for his community efforts and good relationship with the media.

Also winning awards as voted on by the BBWAA were Cardinals outfielder Lance Berkman (Houston area Player of the Year) and long-time Astros broadcaster Bill Brown (Fred Hartman Long & Meritorious Service). All award-winners will be recognized at the Houston Baseball Dinner in January.