ASTROS SPRING NOTEBOOK
Wednesday verses the Braves, Dallas Keuchel threw three no-hit innings during a "B" game. Keuchel threw 35 of 47 pitches for strikes and had three strikeouts in his second outing of the spring.
Last week Keuchel appeared in his spring debut verses the Yankees, and had three strikeouts over two scoreless innings.
The continued growth and maturation process of Keuchel looms huge for the Astros expected growth spirt in the 2015 MLB season.
Also on Wednesday, Astros first year skipper A.J. Hinch, mixed things up somewhat when he used Jonathan Villar (SS) in center field.
Hinch also played Matt Dominguez (3B) at first base during a "B" game for the Astros.
A CBS.com report quoted Hinch saying, "a little bit of game live situations that it’s hard to simulate other than playing the game.” Hinch added, "Villar got a few balls. He looks the part out there. Athletes can move around the field pretty easily.
Hinch went on to say, "the key with Dominguez a first is there's a little more responsibility than people think at first base, whether it’s trailing runners or being the cutoff man or playing in, playing back, holding runners, stuff like that. It's an adjustment for him, so he needs as many reps as we can get him over there. He's certainly not spooked by the position."
There's often a misguided perception of what's required responsibility wise to play first base. Many casual baseball observers considers first base a position to hide offensive minded players with glaring defense deficiencies. Granted there is some degree of truth to that perception by many, but it's clear, A.J. Hinch has a healthy appreciation for the finer more detailed fundamentals of developing talent at the position. .