Harrell looking at positives after tough outing

Harrell looking at positives after tough outing

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Right-hander Lucas Harrell was one of the club's biggest bright spots through the first two weeks of Grapefruit League action, entering Saturday having allowed six hits and three runs in nine innings of work over three starts.

Things went a little awry for Harrell against the Tigers, who rocked him for 12 hits and 10 runs (nine earned) in just 1 2/3 innings of work in Houston's 14-3 loss. The Tigers definitely hit some balls hard -- Ian Kinsler hit the first of his two homers off Harrell -- but they also made some weak contact for hits, plus the Astros righty didn't have a few plays made behind him.

"Sometimes things go your way when you're getting ground balls, and sometimes [they don't]," said Harrell, competing for a spot in the starting rotation. "Just one of those things today, even though I was making pitches. Sometimes you have to tip your cap. They made better hits."

Eight of the first nine batters to face Harrell got on base with hits, including a two-run double by Torii Hunter and back-to-back RBI hits by Nick Castellanos and Danny Worth, whose single was deflected off the glove of third baseman Jesus Guzman. Kinsler hit a two-run homer in the second.

"I felt pretty good about the first inning," Harrell said. "I made some pretty good pitches in some counts where I needed to. Unfortunately, they didn't hit the ball to guys. In the second inning, I felt like I left some pitches up in the zone -- Kinsler, a slider that backed up -- and then felt like I made a couple of good pitches to [Miguel] Cabrera. But he's such a good hitter, he's just going to get hits.

"Overall, it didn't really go my way, but I take a lot of good things out of that first inning. I got some weak contact. Three of the hits were broken-bat hits, all on good pitches."

Brian McTaggart is reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.