Pro Hogs:

Keuchel efficient in spring debut

Published: Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Houston Astros starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel throws during the first inning of an exhibition spring training baseball game against the Miami Marlins Monday, March 3, 2014, in Jupiter, Fla. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Houston Astros starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel throws during the first inning of an exhibition spring training baseball game against the Miami Marlins Monday, March 3, 2014, in Jupiter, Fla. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — Houston Astros left-hander Dallas Keuchel pitched so efficiently Monday that after he left the game, he went to the bullpen to get more work and threw a simulated inning.

He didn't allow any runs then, either.

Making his first start of spring training, Keuchel needed only 17 pitches in two scoreless innings, and the Astros beat the Miami Marlins 4-0.

All but three of Keuchel's pitches were strikes. He allowed one baserunner, on a single, before his final pitch induced a double play.

"Out of the gate my fastball command was pretty good," Keuchel said. "Early in the spring you don't want to be too fine, because guys don't want to be out here too long. You want to attack the zone and get as many strikes as possible."

Keuchel's off to a good start in his bid to win a starting job.

"I just think about me doing my job, and whatever happens happens," he said. "If it's to fall in my lap, I'll take it."

Keuchel began 2013 in Triple-A but finished the season in the rotation and went 6-10 with a 5.15 ERA in 31 games. He acknowledges there's room for improvement.

"Last year, two out of three times I did a good job of getting out of jams," he said. "That one inning was the one that got me. I'm going to do a better job of buckling down and battling that last little jam you get into. Stay away from those crooked numbers."

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