'It was really good': No. 3 prospect deals scoreless outing

Verlander ramps up recovery, set for more intense bullpen

February 26th, 2024

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Astros top pitching prospect Spencer Arrighetti was as sharp as he could be in his Grapefruit League debut on Monday afternoon. He threw two scoreless innings, allowing one hit and striking out three batters, in the Tigers’ 4-0 win over the Astros at Publix Park.

Arrighetti, ranked as the team's No. 3 prospect by MLB Pipeline, threw 22 of his 32 pitches for strikes while mixing his four-seam fastball, slider and changeup. He averaged 92.7 mph with his fastball. Arrighetti generated six whiffs on 17 swings.

“That’s my main goal in Spring Training -- is just find the zone with everything and make sure I’m feeling good, feeling like I’m spinning the ball well and getting the shapes I want to see,” Arrighetti said. “[Stats are] important, but once you’re in the game it’s more about throwing the ball to a good spot in the zone, and I think I did that a lot today.”

Arrighetti is working on a sinker this year but didn’t see the need to throw it in his outing Monday. Overall, he was pleased with how he landed his breaking ball.

“I could have done a little bit better with sliders,” Arrighetti said. “My curveball was pretty good today and I like where the cutter and four-seam were at. I got a punchout on a changeup, which is big for me. That’s another development goal -- is just throwing that one to a really good spot. I think in general, with spin today, it was really good.”

Verlander to ramp up bullpens
Tuesday will be a key day for Astros ace , who will throw another bullpen session, but this time with more intensity. Houston manager Joe Espada said the goal is for Verlander to build more intensity to see if he’s able to move forward and face live hitters soon.

“We’ve got to start making some decisions here pretty soon, so the bullpen tomorrow will determine what’s next,” Espada said.

Verlander, who showed up at camp two weeks behind schedule because of a shoulder issue, said Monday it’s too soon to tell if he’d be ready for Opening Day. He admitted the timeline could be tight and has started throwing sliders off flat ground in case he starts facing hitters soon.

“We’ve still got some time,” Verlander said Monday. “Obviously, it’s tight but things are progressing. It’s kind of like the same as I’m doing with my rehab right now -- day by day. We’re not even looking a week out or two weeks out and it’s hard to forecast anything past that.”

-- Right-handed pitcher won’t throw for three days after being diagnosed with shoulder inflammation. He was scheduled to pitch on Monday.

-- , a non-roster infielder, flew to Houston on Monday to be examined by team doctors after leaving Sunday’s game against the Mets with a possible meniscus or patella injury to his right knee, manager Joe Espada said.

-- Espada said No. 15 prospect Will Wagner “will get some looks” at first base. Wagner has played mostly second base and third base in his Minor League career and has seen a few games at first base and shortstop. He’s the son of former Astros closer Billy Wagner.

-- Left-hander will make his Grapefruit League debut on Friday against the Nationals in West Palm Beach; Right-hander will make his spring debut on Saturday. Relievers Ryan Pressly, Josh Hader and Bryan Abreu will also pitch in games this spring around that same window.