Astros pitchers Zack Greinke and Josh James looked sharp out on the mound in their first pitching performances of spring training.
Starter Zack Greinke and hopeful starter Josh James of the Astros looked in midseason form in their spring training debuts. They each threw two efficient innings against the Miami Marlins surrendering only one unearned run while striking out six.
Greinke showed no ill effects from showing up more than a week past the report date of the pitchers and catchers. He arrived in West Palm Beach 10 days after his fellow pitching mates. There was no specific reason for his delayed appearance other than the fact that it actually wasn’t mandatory. He stated that if he’d known it wasn’t mandatory in the past he would have shown up late every year.
From the looks of his performance yesterday, it is apparent that he’s been staying healthy and working out on his own. After surrendering a lead-off single to Magneuris Sierra in the first inning, he mowed down the next six batters to complete his two innings for the day. Sierra stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by Martin Maldonado. He then scored on a sac fly as an unearned run.
Greinke struck out three batters and threw 22 strikes out of his 29 total pitches. After the game, he talked about how he’s working on improving his slider and was happy with the way they were working out in the game. He added that he wants to make sure he doesn’t concentrate too much on the slider allowing his other pitches to suffer as a result.
Josh James came in to pitch the third and fourth innings and did his best impression of a starting pitcher. He faced the minimum six batters striking out three and keeping the ball in the infield inducing three groundouts. His command looked good throwing 20 of his 25 pitches for strikes. He made an adjustment to his delivery late last season to improve his pitch location and so far, so good.
James is one of several pitchers competing for a spot in the Astros starting rotation along with Jose Urquidy, Austin Pruitt, and Framber Valdez. Pruitt and Valdez looked good in their first appearances while Urquidy struggled a little. Valdez will be on the mound this afternoon against the New York Mets for his second time of the spring.