3/21/2014 6:47 P.M. ET
Lefty Downs feels Chapman's pain
By Brian McTaggart / MLB.com
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Any time a fellow pitcher takes a line drive off the head or face, such as the one that sent Reds left-hander Aroldis Chapman to the ground in a Spring Training game Wednesday, Astros left-hander Darin Downs feels his pain.
Downs suffered life-threatening injuries when he was hit above his left ear by a batted ball during a Minor League game with Double-A Montgomery in 2009. He spent three days in intensive care with a skull fracture and brain swelling, and he struggled with speech problems for quite some time before getting back on the mound six months later.
"Everybody handles it differently," Downs said. "No matter what you say, it's trauma to the body and trauma to the mind. You're always going to go through that. Like me coming back, I was timid and I was scared early. You're still going to think about it every time. I don't care. You get in a bad car accident, you're going to think about every time you get in a car after that. Not when you take the mound every time, but I think about it a lot."
Veteran right-hander Jerome Williams has had a lot of close calls with line drives over the years, but he has managed to avoid taking one to the head. He was hit in the chest by a batted ball this spring.
"You just have to react," Williams said. "I remember what happened last year to [Angels pitcher Jered] Weaver, and he just got out of the way and broke his elbow. For us pitchers, you can't shy away from it, but it's always in your mind, especially if you got hit before. I remember Brandon McCarthy got hit with a line drive. That's scary. I couldn't imagine that situation with Chapman."
Chapman underwent surgery Thursday to repair a fracture above his left eye, one day after being hit in the face by a line drive off the bat of Royals catcher Salvador Perez. A metal plate was placed on the bone above Chapman's eye to stabilize the injury. Chapman also suffered a nose fracture from the incident. He's out four to six weeks.
Righty Moylan diagnosed with tear in elbow
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Astros relief pitcher Peter Moylan has been diagnosed with a high-grade tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, and he is hoping to meet next week with renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion.
Moylan, a non-roster invitee to camp who was having a strong spring in his battle to win a spot in the bullpen, said he injured his elbow while throwing in a game on Saturday against the Tigers in Lakeland, Fla.
"I was having control issues and it kind of felt weird in my elbow, but not weird enough I was willing to come off the field," he said. "I kept pitching and I got through the inning. The nastiest three pitches I threw were the three I struck out [Alex] Avila with. I went to the field the next day and tried to play catch and couldn't do it."
Moylan had an MRI earlier in the week and found out the results on Friday morning after he returned from Atlanta, where he spent a couple of days dealing with a family matter.
Moylan had pitched in five games, allowing two runs and four hits this spring. An eight-year veteran who saw some success with the Braves from 2006-12, Moylan spent last season split between the Minor Leagues and the Dodgers, appearing in 14 games.
Steadily improving, White likely to stay in Florida
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- When the Astros break camp next week and head to Texas for the start of the regular season, right-hander Alex White will likely stay at Osceola County Stadium and continue his rehab from Tommy John surgery.
White is certainly no stranger to working out in Kissimmee. He spent nearly the entire summer at the team's spring complex after undergoing surgery on April 11 to repair the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. White made Houston's Opening Day roster a year ago before injuring his elbow in an exhibition game at Minute Maid Park.
"It's a little different this year," White said. "Obviously, I'm working for a goal that's a lot closer than it was last year. For me, it's about getting in games. I haven't been in a game in a long time, so this is the place to be to start that process, and hopefully once that starts, it will be a quick process."
White has thrown several live bullpen sessions this spring, but he hasn't pitched in any games. He's made significant process even in the last 10 days when it comes to his velocity. White was pitching in the low 80s 10 days ago, but he is now in the high 80s.
"Over 10 days, that was a good improvement, I think, and for all of us, it was nice to see that we can do that and hopefully just continue," he said. "We're doing well right now. Everything feels great, and we're just trying to build some arm strength and get the velocity back. We had a really good improvement over the past 10 days, and if we keep on that trajectory, it shouldn't be too long here where I can actually get out and pitch."
Krauss in strong position to make roster
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- While the Astros continue to look externally to find possible solutions at first base, it appears Marc Krauss has put himself in good position to break camp with the club, especially considering that he can play the corner outfield spots and designated hitter.
Jesus Guzman is still squarely in the mix and could platoon with Krauss, and infielder/outfielder Marwin Gonzalez was taking ground balls at first base during drills on Friday morning and will see time there in games. Astros manager Bo Porter said Japhet Amador, who reported late to camp because his wife was ill, is behind the others.
"You look at early in the [camp] and the time in which he missed, the other guys are ahead of him at this point," Porter said. "We have to get those guys ready for the season, but we want to try to get him as many plate appearances as well, to prepare for his season as well."
Porter isn't ready to say Guzman or Krauss has made the roster just yet. Guzman, a right-handed hitter, is hitting .154 with one homer and two RBIs entering Friday, and Krauss, a lefty, is hitting .344 with two homers and three RBIs.
"We've obviously had guys that have had good springs, and if you look at the number of guys we have left in camp, you could project they made the roster," Porter said. "Have we made any official announcements? No, we haven't made any official announcements, except for the ones as far as the rotation goes, but that will be coming real soon."
• Porter said he plans to manage the Astros' exhibition game next Friday against the Rangers in San Antonio, but he will return to Houston to manage the exhibition games at Minute Maid Park on Saturday and Sunday against Rojos del Aguila de Veracruz from the Mexican Baseball League. The Astros will also play the Rangers on Saturday in San Antonio, so the squad will be split.
"We have so many guys going, I don't even know which way they're going," Porter said. "They gave me a list, but it's guys going every which way but loose. I need to sit down with our staff and figure out exactly where the staff is going."