WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- There's nothing like the sound of a thrown ball hitting the bat, unless you're a pitcher. Regardless, the Astros' first round of live batting practice was another step closer to pitchers being ready to throw in exhibition games, which begin Saturday.Among the pitchers to throw
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- There's nothing like the sound of a thrown ball hitting the bat, unless you're a pitcher. Regardless, the Astros' first round of live batting practice was another step closer to pitchers being ready to throw in exhibition games, which begin Saturday.
Among the pitchers to throw batting practice to hitters on Monday on the back fields at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches were Chris Devenski, Joe Musgrove, Luke Gregerson, James Hoyt, Brad Peacock, Jandel Gustave and Tony Sipp.
"For the first time, you try not to put any expectation on it, but just having a guy in there kind boosts that intensity up a little bit and at least gets you some feedback, seeing how your pitches look," Sipp said. "I think that's the most important thing. You try not to look at results. Whatever they do in the swing, that's up to them -- they're trying to get work in, too -- but to get that feedback from them and get an honest opinion from the batter, it means a lot. I felt good where my pitches were and where I located."
Astros manager A.J. Hinch said live batting practice is for the benefit of the pitchers, most of whom have thrown twice in the bullpen in camp before facing hitters. Some hitters use the first day of live BP to simply track the ball, while others go up swinging.
Not surprisingly, Jose Altuve laced a single into the outfield on the first swung, while Tyler White homered on a pitch thrown by Gregerson. Results, of course, mean nothing, but a good swing is a good swing.
"I rolled over a changeup a little bit, was a little late on it, and I was like, 'OK, look for a fastball here and try to be on time,'" White said. "The first day I got lucky and found the barrel. It felt good. It's good to hit one on the barrel and get that feeling back."
Gregerson said he was happy with his movement on the ball and his location, especially for the first day of live BP.
"I think it gives you something to work off of when you're throwing certain pitches, especially for me, my slider," he said. "Having that hitter, especially a right-handed hitter, to look at, gives you something to throw off of. It's easy to pick a spot and throw my slider off of it instead of when there's no one in the box and you have to eyeball it."
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.