HOUSTON -- Astros left-hander J.A. Happ, who has posted a 3-9 record with a 5.54 ERA in 16 starts this year, took the unusual measure of throwing live batting practice Wednesday afternoon under the watchful eye of interim pitching coach Doug Brocail and teammate Brett Myers.
"I just wanted to get in there and reassure myself and kind of make sure I'm trusting my stuff up there getting guys out swinging the bat," Happ said. "I want to throw strikes and get a feel for throwing everything in the zone and make more competitive pitches. Today felt good."
Happ was scheduled to throw his standard bullpen session between starts Wednesday before approaching Brocail and asking if he could do live batting practice. Happ said he has felt good in the bullpen between starts but hasn't seen that translate in games.
"I thought it would be good to get some hitters in there and just switch it up a little bit, and hopefully it will help," he said.
Brocail said throwing to hitters helps Happ get a better reference point than simply throwing in the bullpen. He thought Happ was rushing his mechanics and arching his back in the first inning in his most recent start. Happ is scheduled to start Saturday's game against the Red Sox.
"If it's going to make him comfortable and he wants to throw three or four more bullpens like this, I'm all for it," Brocail said.