Still Making Adjustments

Astros' Seaton is making progress mechanically





HOUSTON—Last year, the Astros downplayed concerns over the drop in velocity that characterized Ross Seaton's first full professional season, and to an extent, that appears to be justified.

But as Seaton has seen his velocity improve from 87-88 to the 90-91 mph neighborhood, according to manager Tom Lawless, with his fastball touching 94. Those are the numbers the Astros are trying to focus on, because the other numbers for Seaton at high Class A Lancaster aren't pretty.

"His velocity is up from last year, which has hurt his command this year," assistant general manager Ricky Bennett said. "He's still making adjustments mechanically. We're trying to keep him over the rubber longer and get his arm slot lower and freer.

"He's doing everything we've asked him to do, it just hasn't translated into games yet."

The statistics reflect the same. Through 17 starts with Lancaster, he was 3-9, 6.22 with 53 strikeouts, 34 walks and 116 hits allowed in 88 innings. However, as with all pitchers who pitch for Lancaster, the home-road numbers have to be factored in. Seaton was 1-5, 8.92 through eight home starts, and a respectable 3-5, 4.55 on the road. At home, opponents had 63 hits in just 35 innings, batting .391 with 11 home runs. On the road, Seaton limited batters to a .279 average and just four home runs in 63 innings.

While numbers accrued in the hitter's paradise in the desert must be kept in perspective, Seaton admits, "It didn't go exactly the way I planned it."

"Obviously it could have been better," said Seaton, a 20-year-old native of the Houston area. "But I'm still plugging away every day. I haven't had the best results, but I'm still making progress. The results will start coming again soon."More than the mechanical changes, Seaton said he needs to focus on his mental game. "Just stay relaxed, let my body do everything and get out of my own way," Seaton said. "I tend to overthink things a lot. Just get the ball, see where I want to throw it and just throw it there."

SPACE SHOTS

• Needing to bolster catching depth after the trade of Kevin Cash to the Red Sox, the Astros acquired catcher Edwin Bellorin from the Royals organization. He was assigned to Triple-A Round Rock, where he made his debut on July 5. He was 6-for-27 (.222) in his first seven games.

• Double-A Corpus Christi reliever Chia-Jen Lo had a prolonged rehabilitation from a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament. He has been out since April, and the Astros weren't optimistic about his being able even to begin throwing before the end of July.