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Giles as advertised in first live BP session

New Astros reliever brings the heat, impressing hitters, spectators
MLB.com @brianmctaggart

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- He might not quite have been "100-mph Giles" in his first time facing live hitting this spring, but right-hander Ken Giles was bringing enough heat on the back fields at Osceola County Stadium on Friday to garner some extra attention.

Astros manager A.J. Hinch, general manager Jeff Luhnow and even American League Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel made it a point to watch the hard-throwing Giles face hitters for the first time this spring. Carlos Gomez, Marwin Gonzalez and Preston Tucker took turns facing Giles.

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- He might not quite have been "100-mph Giles" in his first time facing live hitting this spring, but right-hander Ken Giles was bringing enough heat on the back fields at Osceola County Stadium on Friday to garner some extra attention.

Astros manager A.J. Hinch, general manager Jeff Luhnow and even American League Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel made it a point to watch the hard-throwing Giles face hitters for the first time this spring. Carlos Gomez, Marwin Gonzalez and Preston Tucker took turns facing Giles.

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"Everyone knows he has pretty good stuff," Gonzalez said. "That was his first day and ... we were just watching pitches, seeing pitches, but his stuff looks pretty good, pretty sharp. His fastball is really good, as everyone knows. He has some run, too, which I didn't know. His slider is really sharp."

Giles said he was focusing on his mechanics, timing to the plate and holding runners with his quick step. He also wanted to make sure he was around the zone and wasn't too concerned with velocity at this point.

Tweet from @brianmctaggart: Giles buzzes Marwin pic.twitter.com/I65FRabKAq

"It's a different perspective on the batters and having the batter standing there," Giles said. "You've got a good idea how you're placing the ball and how the ball is coming out of your hand, because you can use that reaction to your advantage to know what you're doing is wrong or right. You're seeing on the breaking ball if they're seeing it early and they just lay off it, so you know how to make that adjustment and make sure they get a good attempt to go after it and maybe get their knees to buckle."

Hinch said Giles, acquired from the Phillies in a six-player deal in December, came as advertised.

"It's his first day on the mound [facing hitters], so there's not too many takeaways other than he looks healthy, he looks strong, he's got a little edge to him when he gets on the mound," the manager said. "He's got a nice presence about him on the mound, and even the way he goes about his work. He's pretty serious with being his best."

Astros catcher Jason Castro, who had a tough time catching Giles' slider because he was trying to break in a new mitt, said Giles was bringing the heat.

"He's like a next-level, kind of above typical speed you see at this point," Castro said. "That's definitely good to see. The good thing about it is it looks pretty effortless, so it doesn't look like he's overexerting himself and trying to do too much, so I'm excited work with him."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Houston Astros, Ken Giles