KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Admitting he didn't feel quite right when he pitched in a game for the first time this spring, Astros reliever Brandon Lyon went to work in the bullpen for the next week with the goal of refining his mechanics before getting back into a game.
Lyon, who hasn't pitched a Grapefruit League game in more than a week, is scheduled to get an inning of work Monday against the Yankees in Tampa, Fla.
"After that first outing, I went out there and didn't give up any runs, but I didn't feel right," he said. "I wanted to get on the side and not worry about having a hitter up there. I decided I needed a couple of more bullpens, and it was good. I was able to worry about other things than getting people out."
Lyon's outing March 3 against Washington marked his first appearance in a game since June 13 of last year. He underwent surgery to repair the detachment of his right biceps tendon and to mend a tear in his labrum.
He said the work on the side has paid off.
"I feel really good now with everything," he said. "The ball's coming out of my hand pretty good, and I'm locating pretty well."
Weiland set for first Grapefruit League start
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Kyle Weiland never got a chance to face the Yankees when he made seven appearances for the Red Sox last season, but he'll get that opportunity Monday when he makes his first Grapefruit League start for the Astros.
Weiland, acquired by the Astros on Dec. 14 along with Jed Lowrie in exchange for Mark Melancon, is among a handful of players in the mix for a slot in the starting rotation. The chance to pitch under the lights against the Yankees in Tampa will be a good test.
"I'm excited about it," he said. "It's the first start of the year for me, and I'm looking forward to it. It will be a good opportunity for me to get down there and see where I'm at as far as command and how my pitches are doing going up against good hitters. I think I'm ready for it, and my arm is feeling good."
Weiland was 0-3 with a 7.66 ERA in seven games (five starts) for the Red Sox last year, including going 0-2 with a 9.26 ERA in three starts in September. Astros manager Brad Mills said he's scheduled to pitch three or four innings against the Yankees.
Weiland is taking the rotation slot of Bud Norris, who will instead throw a simulated game at 8:30 p.m. CT Monday in Kissimmee.
Ruggiano, Buck being careful with injuries
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Justin Ruggiano and Travis Buck have both been through oblique injuries in the past, so when they felt some discomfort in their rib cage areas last week, they chose to err on the side of caution. Ruggiano was scheduled to start Sunday's game before it was rained out, and Buck was scheduled to start Monday before being pulled off the travel roster following the rainout.
Ruggiano said the injury is a thing of the past.
"It was more precautionary than anything," he said. "It never really hurt to be honest with you. It was just a little bite one day. We decided to back it off for a couple of days."
Both are fortunate the injuries came early in camp, but as non-roster players battling for a spot on the team, they need to get as many at-bats as possible. Buck tore his right oblique in 2010 and missed three months, so he wasn't about to push it this time when he felt a little tweak.
"That's the thing with these things -- the more swings you take the worse it's going to get," Buck said. "A couple of years ago I tore it, and I was out for a couple of months. It's not even close to being that bad, but it would kind of bite on some swings, so I figured it would be best to let people know and shut it down for a little bit.
"If I'm out there injured and not playing to the best of my abilities, I'm not going to help myself and the ballclub to get a good evaluation. It was still early in camp and there's still time to get a lot of at-bats."
Astros manager Brad Mills wants to ease both back into action.
"When they say they caught it before it became bad, that helps us kind of weigh that, and you have to listen to them a little bit," Mills said. "When they say they're OK and ready, we'll go with it, because they've had it before."
Wandy throws simulated game after rainout
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- With the rain coming down and conditions getting worse by the minute, Astros manager Brad Mills decided about 45 minutes prior to Sunday's game being cancelled that left-hander Wandy Rodriguez wasn't going to start the game.
Rodriguez threw a simulated game indoors, throwing 60 pitches in four innings. The Astros know what Rodriguez is capable of doing and wanted to keep the rotation on the same schedule of days instead of pushing Rodriguez back a day.
"I tried to throw the same as in a game and I located my pitches," said Rodriguez, who will start Friday against the Braves in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Rodriguez, who's expected to be the Astros' Opening Day starter, had been dealing with back tightness early in spring camp, but he appears to be healthy now.
Catcher Humberto Quintero (bulging disk) caught in the bullpen Sunday for the second day in a row. Quintero caught Livan Hernandez's side session Saturday and felt some stiffness in his back, though it got better the longer he was out there. He caught Sergio Escalona on Sunday and will swing off a tee Monday.
Chris Snyder was scheduled to be in the lineup Sunday to catch consecutive games for the first time this spring. Jason Castro will be behind the plate on Monday. Manager Brad Mills said the way the catching rotation was set up, Snyder was making most of the road trips and facing all the right-handed pitchers and Castro was staying in Kissimmee, Fla., and facing all the left-handed pitchers. "That's not quite how we wanted to work things out, and we had to mix it up," Mills said. "I don't have any problem with Castro facing lefties, but we want to mix it up."
Escalona (left elbow) threw his first bullpen session Sunday since being shut down for a few days and came through it fine. Escalona threw at about 90 percent effort and reported no problems with the elbow inflammation that's kept him out of spring action.
Infielder Angel Sanchez (back) was scheduled to see his first action of the spring Sunday before the game was rained out. He was also scheduled to be in the starting lineup at second base Monday against the Yankees in Tampa, Fla., but that was before Sunday's game was called off.