Morton works 2 scoreless innings
Pitcher Charlie Morton threw two scoreless innings Friday in his Houston Astros debut, his first competitive start in 314 days.
Morton, 33, who tore his hamstring last April and didn’t pitch the rest of the season, allowed one hit and walked on while throwing 33 pitches (19 strikes) in an 11-3 loss to the New York Mets on Friday. He had one strikeout, catching Lucas Duda looking at a sinker on the inside corner in the second inning.
One radar gun had Morton’s sinker ranging from 94 to 96 mph. The right-hander also mixed in a few cutters and curveballs and at least one change-up.
“I felt like it was coming out good,” Morton said. “It was a good feeling being back out on the mound.”
Things didn’t go as well for right-hander Brady Rodgers, who is likely to begin the season in the Triple-A rotation. He was shelled over two-plus innings, allowing six runs — four in the third inning and two more in the fifth. A tworun home run by Neil Walker ended the 26-year-old’s afternoon before he was able to record an out in the fifth.
“It was a rough one,” Rodgers said. “I didn’t really have command of anything. It felt like if I was missing my spot it was either way off the plate or right down the middle.”
The Astros got a homer from center fielder Jake Marisnick, who went 3 for 3. Second baseman Tony Kemp went 2 for 2.
McCullers to pitch next week: The Astros are targeting late next week for Lance McCullers’ first spring game.
McCullers, whose 2016 season was cut short by an elbow injury, is in line to pitch one of the first games after the team’s off day Tuesday. The right-hander is scheduled to throw a simulated game this weekend, likely his last step before game action.
McCullers faced hitters in a live batting practice setting for a second time this spring Monday and “came through great,” according to manager A.J. Hinch. The team measured his fastball velocity in the low 90s.
Tough outing for Peacock: Astros right-hander Brad Peacock, a roster long shot who is out of minor league options, was knocked around Thursday by the Washington Nationals.
Peacock allowed five runs and five hits in only three innings, which he needed 66 pitches to complete. Jayson Werth drove a hanging curveball off the left-field foul pole for a three-run homer in a four-run first inning for the Nats.