03/19/11 6:07 PM ET
New pitch benefiting Melancon
By Brian McTaggart / MLB.com
"At the end of Spring Training and if things fall into place, whatever I've done, that's where I deserve to be," said Melancon, who went 2-0 with a 3.12 ERA in 20 games after being traded to the Astros from the Yankees in the Lance Berkman deal.
Melancon has been working on a cutter this spring and said catcher Humberto Quintero has shown a lot of confidence in the pitch. He wouldn't yet be comfortable using the pitch in a regular-season game, but thinks it could be a valuable weapon to cut in to left-handers.
"I still want to keep the same approach of fastball, with the curveball as an out pitch, and use my changeup in there," he said. "As a reliever, sometimes it's hard to work all the pitches, but there's certain situations when throwing a cutter is the right time. I'm going to have to locate it consistently and throw it some more to start to feel really comfortable."
Myers undaunted by Opening Day nod
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Brett Myers, in his first public comments since he was told he was going to start on Opening Day for the Astros, downplayed the assignment, saying he didn't want to get too worked up and lose focus on the task at hand.
Astros manager Brad Mills said Friday that Myers would get the ball April 1, when Houston begins the season in Philadelphia against the Phillies. Myers will be the first Astros pitcher other than Roy Oswalt to start on Opening Day since Wade Miller in 2002. Oswalt had made eight consecutive Opening Day starts, a club record.
"If I read too much into it, it's like one of those things where you get too amped up for something and then you have to control your emotions and be able to pitch," Myers said. "It is Opening Day and it's kind of like a playoff game, but you're starting the season. So you have to control your emotions and try to make pitches and don't get too hyped up. I'm not thinking too much about it right now."
2010 Spring Training - Houston Astros
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Sights & Sounds
Spring Training Info
This will be Myers' fourth Opening Day assignment in five years. He was the Phillies' Opening Day starter from 2007-09, and he said he doesn't anticipate any extra emotions pitching against his former team.
"I won't know until I get there," he said. "I pitched there last year, so I think I should be OK. It is Opening Day and there will be a lot of adrenaline going. I try not to think too much about it and go out there and make pitches."
Future up in the air for Pendleton
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- For left-hander Lance Pendleton, the Houston area native taken by the Astros from the Yankees in the Rule 5 Draft last year, the final 10 days of spring camp figure to be nerve-wracking.
Pendleton, who's allowed five earned runs and walked six batters in seven innings this spring, is among five players competing for the fifth spot in the rotation, which includes fellow Rule 5 pick Aneury Rodriguez. Pendleton would love to stick with the Astros, but knows he could be back with the Yankees at the start of the season.
"I try my best not to think about it, but it's impossible to not think about this situation," he said. "But I feel like I still have a chance. If I didn't, I don't think I'd be here. They would have sent me back, but I hope I've done something to open their eyes."
Pendleton is scheduled to pitch again Sunday against the Pirates in relief, and he knows he has to make the most of his last few outings of the spring. If he doesn't make the 25-man roster, he would have to be offered back to the Yankees.
"The season is getting close and everybody is getting game ready," he said. "I need to try to do the best I can to take advantage of these opportunities, the last few, and try to get a spot on the team."
Left-hander Wandy Rodriguez, whose previous scheduled start last Tuesday was scratched because of mild tendinitis in his left shoulder, will throw in the bullpen Sunday and is scheduled to return to the mound Tuesday against Washington in Viera, Fla. ... Infielder Angel Sanchez (back) fielded ground balls Saturday, but didn't take batting practice. He said he plans on taking batting practice Sunday. ... Center fielder Michael Bourn will return to the lineup Sunday after being held out Saturday as a precaution. "He was under the weather a little bit, but he played in the heat and I don't want to get him run down and so tired he has a setback and get really sick," manager Brad Mills said.
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.