Results tagged ‘ Zach Duke ’
Left-handed pitcher Zach Duke and outfielder Jack Cust, a pair of veterans trying to find a home in Houston, were both released by the team Tuesday morning in a move that certainly was no surprise.
Cust, who signed a one-year, non-guaranteed, $600,000 contract with the Astros with an option for 2013, and Duke, who was on a Minor League contract, both struggled mightily this spring. Cust had one hit in 25 spring at-bats and never appeared in the outfield because of discomfort in his left elbow.
“The thing with Cust, we weren’t able to use him in the outfield all of spring really,” Astros manager Brad Mills said. “He got to play a couple of innings of a ‘B’ game out there and the bat wasn’t there and what we had hoped. We know he’s got the ability to do that, but it wasn’t able to show in the 30-something plate appearances we gave him,”
Duke was 0-3 with an 11.30 ERA in four games (three starts) for the Astros this spring and had allowed 25 hits and 18 runs in 14 1/3 innings.
Duke was a candidate for the fifth starter spot, leaving youngsters Kyle Weiland and Jordan Lyles battling for that position. The moves leave the Astros with 39 players in camp.
“Any time you have to give a release to somebody, that’s a difficult thing to do,” Mills said. “In Duke’s case, we thought that the location of his pitches wasn’t quite where it needed to be and then his breaking ball wasn’t quite the breaking ball we thought we could transfer over into our bullpen.
“We thought his sinker was on top of his game, and the command wasn’t there. It just didn’t translate into a starter for us, and with that breaking ball being so inconsistent we weren’t able to use him out of the bullpen.”
Other news from Tuesday morning:
- Center fielder Jordan Schafer will be held out of hitting drills completely Tuesday to give his left hand more time to heal, and there’s a chance he could be given Wednesday of as well. Schafer injury his left hand making a diving catch in the outfield March 18 and irritated a nerve in the hand.
- Right-hander Bud Norris said he could have pitched Wednesday, but the Astros are giving him two extra days. Norris says he’ll be ready to go on Friday against the Braves in Kissimmee
Tuesday’s lineup vs. Tigers:
CF J.B. Shuck
SS Jed Lowrie
RF Brian Bogusevic
1B Carlos Lee
3B Chris Johnson
DH Chris Snyder
LF Matt Downs
C Jason Castro
2B Jose Altuve
LHP Wandy Rodriguez
Astros manager Brad Mills identified four candidates Tuesday morning who remain in the mix for the team’s final two spots in the starting pitching rotation: right-handers Kyle Weiland, Jordan Lyles and Livan Hernandez and left-hander Zach Duke. The team isn’t saying it, but Hernandez appears to be a lock, leaving Weiland, Lyles and Duke for the final spot.
Mills said right-handers Lucas Harrell and Henry Sosa are being looked at in bullpen roles.
“Because they haven’t been getting the [starts], I don’t know if you can put them in the mix right now over those other four guys,” Mills said. “If they were to show something and light our eyes they might throw themselves back into that mix, but we’re looking at spots in the bullpen as well. Or if they do something we feel would warrant them to get back into the mix, then we’ll put them right back into the mix.”
Mills expects nothing to be decided until end of camp.
“The way we’re going about it is allowing us to look at them almost to the end of camp,” he said. “There’s no doubt we’ve already seen quite a bit from those guys and we’re forming opinions as we move forward because we’ve been able to see quite a bit of them. We want it to go as long as possible so we can have as much information to make the best decision.”
– CF Jordan Schafer, who sprained his left wrist two days ago, feels better, Mills said. He’s still several days away from getting back to action.
– C Humberto Quintero will catch the second half of today’s game against the Cardinals, following Chris Snyder.
– RHP David Carpenter and Fernando Rodriguez will pitch in a Minor League game today.
– Infield Joe Thurston made his first start of the spring against the Cardinals at second base. He was also scheduled to start in the morning B game, also at second base.
Here is the Astros’ lineup for Tuesday’s 12:05 p.m. CT game against the Cardinals, which can be seen on FS Houston and heard on 790 AM.
CF Jason Bourgeois
SS Jed Lowrie
RF Brian Bogusevic
1B Carlos Lee
DH Jack Cust
3B Chris Johnson
LF Justin Ruggiano
C Chris Snyder
2B Joe Thurston
RHP Jordan Lyles
The Astros suffered their first Spring Training loss of the season when the Braves came to Kissimmee and beat them, 10-5, on Monday afternoon. And here I thought they were going to go undefeated. Here’s the boxscore.
Before we get to the breakdown, make sure you read the story of how Brett Wallace and Chris Johnson are pushing each other while they battle for the same spots on the field.
Here’s the breakdown:
WHAT WENT RIGHT: The only Astros pitcher who took the mound and didn’t allow a run was Henry Villar, who gave up one hit in his scoreless innings. Starter Jordan Lyles had a crisp second inning after a tough first inning, and Zach Duke stretched out to three innings and pitched out of trouble a few times.
Relief pitcher Xavier Cedeno struck out three batters in one inning of work around giving up a home run to Dan Uggla.
J.B. Shuck (2-for-2), Jed Lowrie (2-for-2) and Matt Downs (2-for-3), who got a start at third base, led the Astros’ 11-hit attack, which was their most in three spring games. Jordan Schaefer, Jason Bourgeois, J.D. Martinez, Chris Snyder and Joe Thurston also had hits. Jonathan Villar walked twice.
Bogusevic stole two bases. The Astros also turned three double plays. Also, the Astros didn’t strike out in 34 at-bats.
There certainly were plenty of teachable moments for Astros manager Brad Mills, who watched his pitchers allow 13 hits and six walks. The Braves had runners on base in all nine innings, allowing his pitching staff and his defense to see plenty of different situations.
WHAT WENT WRONG: Astros pitchers had trouble finding the strike zone, walking six batters. Lyles endured a 27-pitch first inning and wound up only going two innings, allowing four hits, two runs and one walk. Duke gave up three hits, two walks and one run in three innings.
Rhiner Cruz, the Astros’ Rule 5 pick, made his first appearance and didn’t retire any of the five batters he faced, giving up two hits, four runs (three earned) and two walks. Juan Abreu and Enerio Del Rosario each gave up one hit and one run in one inning of work.
Jack Cust went 0-for-3 and Fernando Martinez went 0-for-2, a day after hitting a three-run home run
WHAT THEY SAID: “There was a lot of defensive things we can take from this game because there were guys on and offensively there are some things we can take from the game. Again, I thought we ran the bases pretty good and were aggressive. Getting to the latter innings, the all-important strike kind of eluded us a little bit.” – Astros manager Brad Mills.
WHAT’S NEXT: First baseman Carlos Lee, who sat out the first three games of the spring season to rest his strained right hamstring, will make his Grapefruit League debut for the Astros against the Mets at 12:05 p.m. Tuesday in Kissimmee. Lefty Wandy Rodriguez will make his first start of the spring for the Astros and is scheduled to pitch three innings.
INJURY UPDATE: Catcher Humberto Quintero (back/hip) is still a few days from getting in the lineup. … Third baseman Jimmy Paredes (wrist) and infielder Angel Sanchez (back) continue to progress and are taking batting practice.
Here is the day in photos:
Before Astros pitchers and catchers hit the field early Tuesday for the second day of workouts, manager Brad Mills said left-handed pitcher Zach Duke, a non-roster invite to camp, would be looked at as both a starter and a reliever. Duke will make a couple of Grapefruit League starts, Mills said.
“We’re going to see what he’s able to bring to the table,” Mills said. “We’re going to give him a chance to start a couple of games, but he’s also pitched out of the pen, and when you have a lefty like that with his experience is an opportunity he might be able to earn a spot in the bullpen as well.”
Duke is 48-74 with a 4.56 ERA in his career, mostly with the Pirates. He’s pitched in 181 games, including 168 starts.
Much more to come later, but enjoy a couple of morning photos: