03/08/2013 3:07 PM ET
Blum gets feet wet in Astros' broadcast booth
By Brian McTaggart / MLB.com
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- His mother thought he did a great job, and his brother didn't think he was too bad. Geoff Blum was his toughest critic after his first game as the Astros' television analyst, which was Thursday. The former Astros infielder joined the broadcast team this year and will do about 80 games on TV.
"I was a little nervous," said Blum, who will work games with Alan Ashby when Bill Brown is taking time off. "Ashby does such a great job up there. Part of the time I was listening and enjoying what he had to offer, but I know it's a job and I have to contribute a little bit. So talking about what I know, which is baseball, it should come easy. It's a work in progress to figure out how to translate that and deliver it to the people."
Blum, whose 14th-inning homer in Game 3 of the 2005 World Series for the White Sox sank the Astros, is less than a year removed from playing. He retired after playing in 17 games for the D-backs last year, and played five seasons (2002-03, 2008-10) with the Astros.
"It's interesting, but at the same time, it's such a big change to go from on-field stuff to sitting back in a booth and having time to think about stuff going on down on the field," Blum said. "I miss being on the field, but I'm happy to be with the Astros because it's going to be an interesting year. They've got a good group of talent, and it's one of those wait-and-see type situations."
Bedard throws off mound, bullpen session on tap
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Astros left-hander Erik Bedard, who's been limited to two innings this spring because of a right glute sprain, threw about 10 or 12 pitches off the mound Friday morning under the supervision of pitching coach Doug Brocail and assistant athletic trainer Rex Jones.
"That was just to see if it feels good, and it feels good, so [Saturday] I'll throw a regular bullpen," Bedard said. "If that goes well, the next step is probably a game."
Bedard admitted he's getting antsy to get on the mound, especially considering he's trying to make a new team and impress a new set of eyes.
"When you come to a new team, you always want to make a good impression and be out there with the guys and throw when your turn is up," he said. "I missed my turn one time, so I'll try to get on the mound as quick as I can."
Bedard, 34, is in camp as a non-roster invitee. He went 7-14 with a 5.01 ERA in 24 starts last year for the Pirates and was their Opening Day starter. He has a 63-64 career record with a 3.85 ERA in 192 games (189 starts) in stints with Baltimore, Seattle, Boston and Pittsburgh.
Harrell's start pushed back due to tweaked groin
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Right-hander Lucas Harrell will have his next start pushed back a few days after straining his right groin in Tuesday's game against the Nationals when he darted from the mound to cover first base. Right-hander Brad Peacock will start in his place Sunday against the Phillies.
"I tweaked it a little bit," Harrell said. "We're just being cautious. I don't think it's anything serious. Over the last couple of days, it's already gotten better. In four or five days, I'll be able to make a start."
Harrell, who was the Astros' Pitcher of the Year in 2012, has been playing catch on flat ground and doesn't expect the injury to be a lingering issue.
"It's something they want to make sure I'm fully OK going into the season," he said.
Harrell, 27, went 11-11 with a 3.76 ERA in 32 starts for the Astros last year and is a candidate to make his first Opening Day start this year. He ranked second in the Major Leagues in innings pitched by a rookie at 193 2/3.
Seaton taking it all in during first big league camp
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- The first Major League spring camp has been a learning experience for right-hander Ross Seaton, the Houston-area product who was taken in the third round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft. His innings have been limited, but his eyes have been open.
"I honestly think the best part about it is getting to watch all the other guys pitch and seeing how they all operate," Seaton said. "That's where you really learn from the most is the older guys."
Seaton spent the bulk of the 2012 season at Double-A Corpus Christi, where went 8-8 with a 4.07 ERA in 25 starts. He got his feet wet at Triple-A Oklahoma City at the end of the year, going 0-1 with a 3.09 ERA in four starts. Seaton is expected to open the season in the rotation at Oklahoma City.
"Obviously, there's always little mechanical things you're working on, but the main thing for me is learning how to pitch and learning effective pitch sequences, and getting to the point I can completely focus on that and execute it on a more consistent basis," Seaton said. "They say if you can pitch in Double-A, you have the stuff to pitch in the big leagues. It's about being more consistent and figuring out the mental side of it. That's the main part I want to get better at now."