BY RYAN ABER
Warming up to start the third, Houston starter J.A. Happ felt a twinge in his right side.
Happ pitched through the inning, retiring the side in order before leaving the game before the fourth.
Happ suffered a strained right oblique that throws into question whether he’ll be able to start Sunday in Philadelphia.
“I’m sort of delirious with frustration right now,” Happ said.
Happ went 6-4 with a 3.40 ERA last season,, splitting time between Philadelphia and Houston.
The 28-year-old suffered an intercostal strain in 2009 which kept him out three weeks.
“I don’t plan on doing that again,” Happ said. “My goal is still to start Sunday but my body, it’ll tell me.”
Happ said he held back in the third after feeling the initial pull before it tightened up between innings.
“I was being tentative,” Happ said. “It’s on my right side so it’s kind of where your strength is. I wasn’t pushing it too hard there. I got through that inning. I just think it’s a good thing I came out at that point without doing more damage to it.”
Happ, who was acquired in the deal last year that sent Roy Oswalt to Philadelphia, said the chilly weather wasn’t too blame.
“I don’t think that was a factor,” he said.
BY RYAN ABER
Here’s the lineups for tonight’s game between the RedHawks and the Houston Astros:
Michael Bourn LF
Angel Sanchez SS
Hunter Pence RF
Carlos Lee CF
Brett Wallace 1B
Bill Hall 2B
Joe Inglett DH
Chris Johnson 3B
Humberto Quintero C
J.A. Happ P
Jose Vallejo 2B
Jonathan Gaston DH
Brian Bogusevic RF
Brian Dopirak 1B
Drew Locke lF
Robinson Cancel C
David Flores 3B
Collin Delome CF
Wladimir Sutil SS
Cesar Carrillo P
BY RYAN ABER
It’s cold and rain remains a possibility for tonight but I’ve arrived at Bricktown Ballpark, RedHawks Field, RedHawks Field at Bricktown or whatever it’s being called now.
Here’s a look at the most noticeable differences from last year:
BY RYAN ABER
Jordan Lyles couldn’t have done much more in Spring Training to earn a spot in the big leagues with Houston.
In five appearances for the Astros, Lyles threw 13 2/3 innings, with a 1.98 ERA, allowing 11 hits and walking two while striking out 9.
But being just 20 years old and having struggled in his six-game stint at Triple-A Round Rock last season, the Astros chose to give the fifth spot to Nelson Figueroa and give Lyles some more time to develop with the RedHawks.
Figueroa has a 3.86 ERA over 14 innings this spring. But the 36-year-old has plenty of experience in the majors.
It isn’t likely going to be a long stint for Lyles in Oklahoma City, though. Sending him down not only gives Lyles a chance to prove himself during the regular season against Triple-A competition but helps Houston control Lyles’ rights for an additional season. That’s a precious commodity for a team with a renewed emphasis on building from within. As Houston works to restore what was a depleted minor-league stock, it’s no surprise that they’d gives Lyles some time in Triple-A, especially since Figueroa has had a solid spring.
“I think I opened some eyes this spring,” Lyles told MLB.com’s Bryan McTaggart. “I know they haven’t seen me before, but now they have. Whenever they need a guy to go out there on the mound for them during the season, maybe I’m first in line.”
Last season, Lyles was a combined 7-12 with a 3.57 ERA between Double-A Corpus Christi and Triple-A Round Rock. He was 0-3 with a 5.40 ERA after moving up to Round Rock. He earned Astros’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year honors.
Now, Lyles gives the RedHawks their first big-time prospect of the Astros era. Houston is the team’s Triple-A affiliate after a nearly 30-year affiliation between Texas and Oklahoma City ended after last season.
Lyles is the consensus top prospect in Houston’s system and ranked No. 31 on MLB.com’s Top 50 prospects list.