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McCullers easing his way into throwing sessions

Astros righty on a more deliberate schedule because of his age, 2015 workload
MLB.com @brianmctaggart

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- While the first two groups of pitchers in camp got on the mound to face hitters Thursday morning, second-year right-hander Lance McCullers threw off the bullpen mound for the first time. He's on a more deliberate schedule than the other pitchers because of his age and big workload a year ago.

"It felt great to be back on the hill, just to get the feel again and start to get ramped up the next couple of weeks and get ready for the season," McCullers said.

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- While the first two groups of pitchers in camp got on the mound to face hitters Thursday morning, second-year right-hander Lance McCullers threw off the bullpen mound for the first time. He's on a more deliberate schedule than the other pitchers because of his age and big workload a year ago.

"It felt great to be back on the hill, just to get the feel again and start to get ramped up the next couple of weeks and get ready for the season," McCullers said.

The majority of the pitching staff threw twice in the bullpen before facing live batters. The first round of live BP was Thursday and the second round will be Friday. McCullers will throw his second bullpen session in the next couple of days before facing hitters.

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"I know they're doing what's best for me and the team," he said. "It was kind of cool to see these guys throwing [live BP] today. I know my time will come. It's not like I never will be able to throw, so I'll be patient."

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Astros manager A.J. Hinch said the first day of live BP is all about the pitchers. The majority of hitters weren't swinging and were simply tracking the pitches.

"It's important those guys get the adrenaline of facing live hitters," Hinch said. "Firsts are pretty cool to start the year. Watching these guys start to get ramped up is nice."

Hinch got a close look at hard-throwing Dominicans Jandel Gustave and David Paulino.

"All of our newer Latin kids that are coming through the program are showing really extreme arm strength, but they're also handling their big league camp very well -- Gustave, Paulino, [Juan] Minaya, in particular," Hinch said. "Those three, high-end velocity right out of the gate, but also a calm demeanor, especially Paulino. First time you're at big league camp, and he's staring in there at [Jake] Marisnick and [George] Springer and guys that he's not used to competing against. I thought their demeanor was just as good as their stuff."

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, Lance McCullers