KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Justine Siegal, who earlier this year became the first woman to throw batting practice to a Major League team, pitched to one round of Astros players Saturday in the fifth stop of her scheduled six throwing sessions in the Cactus and Grapefruit Leagues.
Siegal threw to Astros players Carlos Lee, Clint Barmes, Matt Downs and Bill Hall on one of the back fields at Osceola County Stadium. She had previously thrown to the Cleveland Indians, Oakland A's, Tampa Bay Rays and St. Louis Cardinals, and is scheduled to pitch to the New York Mets on Sunday.
"This was the first time I wasn't as nervous as I usually am," she said. "Usually, my heart is coming out of my chest. I was singing a U2 song while I was up there and trying to chill out. It was a lot of fun."
Siegal pitched herself to general managers at the Winter Meetings last December, and got a positive response from Ed Wade. She started "Baseball for All," an organization that promotes baseball everywhere with an eye toward participation by women, a program that grew from an all-women's baseball league in Cleveland.
2010 Spring Training - Major League Baseball
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From 2007-10, she served as an assistant coach with the men's baseball team at Springfield College in Massachusetts. She was a first-base coach for the Brockton Rox of the Can-Am League in 2009. Currently she is pursuing a Ph.D. in sport and exercise psychology at Springfield. And now her dream to pitch batting practice to Major Leaguers has become a reality.
She travels with her 13-year-old daughter, Jasmine, and pitches in the memory of Christina Taylor Green, the 9-year-old who was killed in the Jan. 8 shooting in Tucson, Ariz. Green was the granddaughter of Dallas Green, former Major League player, manager and baseball executive. Siegal wears a memorial patch in tribute to Green.
"The Green family gave me the best comment possible," she said. "The said they're proud of me."
Mills: Pitchers to begin hitting in games
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Astros manager Brad Mills said his pitchers will begin hitting in National League parks starting with Sunday's split-squad game against the Braves in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The Astros have used the designated hitter all spring.
Mills admitted the ability of the pitchers to make contact in the nine hole is important.
"If you can get contact and be able to move runners via the bunt, it's big in the National League to be able to do that," Mills said. "Obviously, you don't do that in the American League, but when you have a guy that can do something he puts you in a much better position."
Astros pitchers have been taking batting practice throughout the spring, but they will begin taking more next week.
"If you look at where we've traveled and the amount of games we've had [in the last week], everything starts settling down next week and those guys will be able to get more swings on a consistent basis," he said.
Bud Norris is scheduled to start Sunday's game against the Braves for the Astros.
Fan injured by foul ball Saturday
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Saturday's game between the Astros and Orioles at Osceola County Stadium was delayed about 15 minutes in the top of the seventh inning after a fan was struck in the head by a foul ball and taken away on a stretcher.
The unidentified female was struck near the right eye by a line drive off the bat of Orioles first baseman Jake Fox while sitting in the first row down the left-field line, near the Astros' bullpen. The extent of her injuries is unknown, and eyewitnesses said that her husband fainted while she was being taken to an Orlando-area hospital.
"It was real scary," Astros manager Brad Mills said. "I know the game stopped, but our hearts stopped, too."
Astros catcher Carlos Corporan was in the bullpen and saw the ball strike the woman.
"It was scary," Corporan said. "They were talking to each other, and somebody yelled 'Watch out!' She turned right as the ball hit her in the eye. As soon as the ball hit her, she passed out. She had a really bad cut in the eye. It was a real scary moment."
Corporan said that the woman regained consciousness after she was put on a stretcher and was responding to paramedics.
"If you're going to come to the ballpark, you can have fun, but you have to pay attention or the ball can kill somebody," he said. "It could be a really sad moment, you know? It was really, really hard today."
When the game resumed, Fox fouled off a pitch before striking out swinging.
Braves Minor League coach Luis Salazar was knocked unconscious on Wednesday after being hit by a foul ball in the dugout and striking his head on the dugout floor. Salazar has undergone two surgical procedures and remains hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.
At least one fan had to be carried off in a stretcher after being hit by a ball at Osceola County Stadium earlier this year, but this was the first time the game was stopped.
Happ not entirely pleased with outing vs. O's
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Left-hander J.A. Happ would have felt much better about his third outing of the spring on Saturday afternoon against the Orioles had he not allowed two runners to reach base via the walk.
Happ went four innings and gave up five hits and three runs and says that he's close to where he'd like to be at this point in the spring. He walked two batters in two innings in his previous outing, on Monday against Washington.
"I don't know if you're ever where you'd like to be," Happ said. "I'm definitely on track. I feel like my arm is holding up good, and getting up and down four times is big. Just getting that pitch count up and staying comfortable, I feel pretty good. Take away the two walks, and I'll be real happy."
Happ threw 60 pitches (34 for strikes), and came out of the game after four innings. He was scheduled to throw 70 pitches but exited lest he was forced to throw more pitches in the fifth inning than the team would have been comfortable with.
"Other than [the walks], his stuff is there," manager Brad Mills said. "We just want him to continue to get those innings and pitches up and get that consistency going where it needs to get."
Expect the Astros to make their first roster cuts as early as Monday, the day following their fifth split-squad date of the season. "It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that we're really going to have to start getting our regular guys work, both pitchers and so forth," manager Brad Mills said. ... Jeff Keppinger, who had his protective boot removed Friday, eight weeks following his surgery, played catch for the first time Saturday morning. ... Mills chose to leave several regulars out of the lineup Saturday afternoon because of Monday night's road game in Viera, including first baseman Brett Wallace, right fielder Hunter Pence and third baseman Chris Johnson. ... Catcher Carlos Corporan, who was sick and sent home Friday, was back in uniform Saturday, but pitcher Arcenio Leon became ill and went home Saturday.
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.