Astros pleased with improved lefty Reymin Guduan

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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. —The Astros have seen both renditions of Reymin Guduan. In 2017, when the 26-year-old southpaw made his major league debut, he yielded 12 walks in 16 innings as a lefthanded reliever.

“When he’s spraying the ball all over the place, it’s really hard to get him through complete outings,” manager A.J. Hinch lamented on Monday.

“I love the good version of him, because he can be dominant. He does some things that you don’t normally see.”

When Guduan is right, he possesses an arsenal few lefthanders can duplicate: A four-seam fastball that resides in the upper 90s paired with a devastating slider. The Astros advised him to throw his slider more frequently once he got to spring training.


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Since then, Hinch and the Astros have harnessed the good Guduan. The lefthander entered Monday’s game with nine strikeouts in five innings of two-run ball. He’s issued only one walk and hit one batter.

Guduan has pitched well enough to garner strong consideration for the vacant spot in Houston’s opening day bullpen, Hinch said Monday. Subtle mechanical adjustments — like proper head alignment — are paramount to his success. So, too, is commanding his two-pitch arsenal.

“I think a guy that has the arm strength that he has probably has always been encouraged to use it,” Hinch said. “But he needs to throw his slider a little more and, stylistically, change a little bit of how he uses his pitches.”

The one vacant spot in Houston’s opening day bullpen is not necessarily reserved for a lefthander. Hinch said Monday morning he would not “go that far” in assuring a southpaw reliever breaks camp with the team.

Still, Guduan and fellow lefthander Cionel Perez represent the most logical candidates. If Framber Valdez loses the fifth starter job to Brad Peacock, Valdez emerges as another lefthanded option.

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