Lance McCullers Happy With First Start Since 2018

McCullers told reporters he executed mostly what he wanted

SportsRadio 610 Staff
March 02, 2020 - 12:22 pm

Lance McCullers Jr. said he was happy with his first trip to the mound since 2018 on Sunday. 

McCullers, who is returning after missing the entire 2019 season to recover from Tommy John surgery, threw 16 pitches to three St. Louis Cardinals batters. He got Kolten Wong to bounce out, gave up a double to Paul DeJohn, before striking out Paul Goldschmidt on a curveball. 

McCullers told reporters he executed mostly what he wanted to and that he felt really good. 

"Out of the 16 I threw, really only maybe one or two that I didn't execute kind of the way I was hoping to, pre-pitch," McCullers said. "Really happy with just the way I felt overall and being out there again with the guys."

Astros manager Dusty Baker, who had never seen McCullers pitch in person before Sunday, said he thought the delivery was smooth. 

Baker said McCullers didn't seem to be overthrowing or laboring, and his velocity was also good.

McCullers hit 91-93 mph on his fastball. His breaking ball and changeup were also good, Baker said. 

McCullers said he feels he has a lot more in the tank and though he's not too focused on his velocity, it was better Sunday than he anticipated.

The Astros have been open about how much they're expecting from McCullers this season. His teammates have likened him to a big free agent signing.

Related: Lance McCullers Has No Regrets

Gerrit Cole left the Astros for the Yankees in free agency. Justin Verlander Zack Greinke and McCullers are expected to be the foundation of this pitching staff. 

If the Astros are going to have a chance at achieving their goals this season, they will need all three of those guys healthy and pitching at a high level.

“It was pretty emotional for me,” second baseman Jose Altuve told Houston Chronicle reporter Chandler Rome. “Even though it’s a spring training game, he was looking good. I’ve seen him every day working and working to get to this point, so I’m happy for him.

“One thing I like about him: his attitude about going out there and competing. He likes to compete, and we need that on our team.”

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