The Houston Astros have brought 14 starting pitchers in camp competing for just five spots. Scott Feldman is all but a lock to start Opening Day for the Astros, and Jarred Cosart, Brett Oberholtzer, and Brad Peacock figure to be favorites for three other spots given their second-half performances last season. That leaves close to 10 other starters battling for the 5th spot. Lucas Harrell gets the first shot to strut his stuff this Friday as he has been given the Spring Training Opening Day nod this season. Harrell will face the Atlanta Braves this Friday. Check out the rest of the links for more.
- Brian McTaggart (MLB.com) on Darin Down’s comeback.
“I can recall the whole thing, the status of the runners, what the count was and everything,” said Downs, a left-handed reliever whom the Astros claimed off waivers in November from the Tigers.
Downs, 29, went through a tough recovery, but managed to get on the mound six months later, and within three years was pitching in the Major Leagues with the Tigers. Now he’s in Astros camp competing for a spot in the bullpen and grateful for any opportunities that come his way.
- Evan Drellich (Houston Chronicle) on the Astros future plans in Venezuela.
- Brian McTaggart (MLB.com) with many news and notes from today’s workouts.
- Astros tweet of the day…
Go figure: ESPN2 has picked up the Wednesday, April 9 @astros at Blue Jays game.
— David Barron (@dfbarron) February 24, 2014
- Jason Schwartz (Grantland) on the Rio Grande Valley Vipers amazing pace.
“Let’s go!” Nevada Smith’s instructions are not complicated. A year ago, Smith, the coach of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the Houston Rockets’ Development League affiliate, was leading the men’s basketball program at Division III Keystone College in La Plume, Pennsylvania. Now, the 33-year-old has been entrusted with running what amounts to Rockets general manager Daryl Morey’s grand experiment, and all he wants is for his team to push the ball. Off turnovers, rebounds, made baskets, whatever — it doesn’t matter.“Let’s GO!”
- Bill Ingram (Basketball Insiders) asks if the Rockets needed to make a trade.
- Jason Friedman (Rockets.com) (Video) launched Rockets TV with Craig Ackerman. Great listen.
- Rockets tweets of the day…
Rockets have 3rd best record against top teams after Oklahoma City and Miami
— Daryl Morey (@dmorey) February 24, 2014
- John McClain (Houston Chronicle) says you shouldn’t expect the Texans to draft Jadeveon Clowney.
At this stage of the evaluation process, the only non-quarterback worth the top pick is South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. Don’t expect the Texans to draft Clowney, who is a weak-side 4-3 pass rusher and not a 3-4 defensive end or outside linebacker.
- Nathan Jahnke (ProFootballFocus) takes a look at the most overvalued and undervalued Texans in 2013.
- Dan Hanzus (NFL.com) on the Texans running backs.
- Texans tweet of the day…
When I think about #Texans draft decision, I go back to facing Luck 2x a year for next decade. That’s why I like Clowney. Tough choice
— Robert Flores (@RoFloESPN) February 22, 2014