Left-handers Fernando Abad, Sergio Escalona, J.A. Happ, Wandy Rodriguez and Wesley Wright, as well as right-handers Jeff Fulchino, Arcenio Leon, Wilton Lopez, Jordan Lyles, Brandon Lyon, Brett Myers, Lance Pendleton, Aneury Rodriguez, Fernando Rodriguez Jr. and Henry Villar were the 15 pitchers for the Houston Astros who threw live batting practice Monday morning at Osceola County Stadium in Kissimmee, Fla.
Without a surprise, the collective group of pitchers presented a tough challenge for the hitters, considering they’ve had a four-day head start over the majority of position players in camp.
“I was very happy with the rotations and the timing of it,” manager Brad Mills said. “I thought it went really well out there. We got to see guys like [top prospect] Jordan Lyles in his first live BP turn it up a notch. Sergio Escalona, I thought threw the ball well. Arcecio Leon threw the ball extremely well. Again, Brett Myers was very consistent the way he threw. I thought J.A. Happ threw the ball extremely well, too. There are a lot of guys I haven’t been able to see, but it was nice to see them, at least, finally face some hitters and to see them throw the ball well.”
According to third baseman Chris Johnson, the live batting practice session wasn’t too awkward, despite the fact that pitchers are typically ahead of hitters during the early portion of Spring Training.
“Awkward? No, surprisingly it was really good,” Johnson said. “The pitchers are a little ahead of us right now, so we’re going to try to catch up. I was pleased with Day One. Camp is good. Day Two, we’re already in the swing of things. It was good to be here early, I think, for that week, and we just rolled right into it.”
At this point, general manager Ed Wade finds himself content with the optimism surrounding the coaching staff, especially Mills’ energy.
“I just think the whole tone and tenor has been very, very positive,” Wade said. “I think part of it flows from the staff and the attention to detail as regard to the schedule, and Millsie [Brad Mills] preaching energy to the staff during the eight o’clock meeting before they ever go out onto the field to interact with the players. Let’s keep the energy up. I think a lot of it flows from the approach they’ve taken. It hasn’t been a case of any particular player standing out. It’s a case of the guys collectively looking like they understand why they’re here and having fun in the process.”
Right fielder Hunter Pence stated the following on his Twitter page Monday: “This team has come together more than any I’ve been a part of.”
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