If things go well during this callup from Triple-A Oklahoma City, his stay could be a lot longer than the two starts he's slated to get in the absence of Wandy Rodriguez, who was placed on the disabled list Saturday with swelling in his left elbow.
"When he came in today I said, 'You could be here for two starts or 20 years,'" Astros manager Brad Mills said. "He's a pretty good pitcher. We just want him to continue to be that pitcher. That's all. He doesn't have to try to do any more or any less or anything else -- just be himself and pitch, and he'll be fine."
Lyles, a 20-year-old right-hander, nearly made the club out of Spring Training and has impressed at Oklahoma City. He was 3-3 with a 3.20 ERA and performed even better in his last seven starts (3-1, 2.00 ERA). He admitted there are some nerves building for his Tuesday debut with the Astros, but said that won't likely change his focus or approach.
"There's going to be nerves there, but it's more just being anxious to get out there," Lyles said. "Being nervous is not a bad thing. I just want to make my pitches. That's really all I'm concerned about. If I'm here for the long run, that will take care of itself. If not, I'm just going to continue coming to the field with the mindset of getting better every day."
That kind of attitude is the reason Mills doesn't expect nerves to be an issue when Lyles takes the mound to square off against Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano.
"He's so level-headed that [his pulse] is almost like a flat line, because that's just how he is and that's fine," Mills said. "His demeanor has always been very confident, and I don't expect to see that change at all with him."
Lyles was pulled a little early from his most recent start after throwing just 77 pitches, but Mills said that was precautionary and the rookie won't be on a set pitch count.
"It hasn't sunk in yet at all," Lyles said. "I'm just getting accustomed to everything and I'm ready to get out there on the field. It's going to be special."