When Verlander speaks, Astros hurlers listen
Astros vet assists McCullers, talks pitching with Keuchel, Cole
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- In his first Spring Training with the Astros, pitcher Justin Verlander has been spreading tons of knowledge. He was spotted Saturday getting hands-on with pitcher Lance McCullers during his bullpen session, and on Sunday, he was at his locker talking pitching with Dallas Keuchel and Gerrit Cole.
Even some of the younger pitchers in camp were training their eyes toward the corner of the clubhouse Sunday where Verlander was dropping insight.
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"I like to work with younger guys, older guys, whoever," Verlander said. "Especially in Spring Training time, it's a time to have new ideas, try new things, tweak things. Any information that I have that can help the guys, I'm kind of trying to see opportunities I can maybe help and impart some wisdom of a guy who's been around for a while. And thankfully this organization and a lot of the guys in the clubhouse are very open, even though they've had good success already, of trying new things and hearing different opinions. I think that's how you ultimately get better."
On Saturday, Verlander appeared to be showing McCullers ways to grip the ball while McCullers was throwing in the bullpen. The pair were also viewing photos and videos of the bullpen on a device while standing on the mound.
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"Him and I are working on some similar stuff in Spring Training when it comes to spinning the ball or offspeed spin, just a few different things," Verlander said. "Honestly, [Saturday] we were back and forth. He would throw a pitch and we'd talk about how it felt and see some different results and go back and forth between pitches."
Verlander says he gets great satisfaction in helping his teammates, as long as it works. The goal, he says, is for everyone to get better.
"You're never pleased with where you're at. You're always looking forward and trying to improve in any way possible," he said. "If you have that atmosphere, guys tend to gravitate to guys that have been around for a while. It's kind of like, 'respect your elders.' I've been around a little longer, a little wiser. You just have more information processed that you've had over time in the big leagues. Hopefully, something I've seen or heard or felt, can help them."
First full-squad workout Monday
The Astros went through an abbreviated workout Sunday, with most players leaving the facility by 9:30 a.m. CT. Sunday marked the final workout before the first full-squad workout Monday. Most of the position players who had reported early to camp weren't spotted at the facility Sunday, with the exception of outfielder Josh Reddick.
The Astros will open Grapefruit League play on Friday against the Nationals.