With Myers closing, a door opens for Astros
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- At Osceola County Stadium, the Astros' relievers sit out in the open in foul territory, just a few feet down from the end of the dugout.And so when Brett Myers, the Astros' newly converted closer, did some customary in-game barking the other day, pumping up his teammates and riling up the opposition, manager Brad Mills could hear him loud and clear -- much like he used to hear every word when Myers was right beside him in the dugout. "When he's 300 feet away [in the regular season]," Mills joked, "it will be a little bit different. That'll work out just fine." The Astros, though, aren't moving Myers to the bullpen to save Mills' ear drums. That's merely an unintended benefit of the decision. On the surface, it might seem the strangest decision of the spring to date. A team that won just 56 games and had just 50 save opportunities -- blowing 25 of them -- in 2011 is asking the veteran Myers to close out what few save chances it has in 2012. They're moving a guy who averaged 220 innings pitched over the last two seasons to a role in which he might work about 70.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and his blog, CastroTurf, and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.