In-game tidbits: Cosart impresses, Schafer nears return, and a few pregame photos.

Asked for his impression of top pitching prospect Jarred Cosart on Sunday, manager Brad Mills used one word: “Electric.”

Sunday’s game, a split-squad affair with the Pirates in Kissimmee, presented Cosart with his first real opportunity to impress the Astros’ skipper. The 21-year-old righty was slated to throw the final four innings and he nearly made it: Over 3 1/3 innings, Cosart allowed seven hits, four runs, one walk and five strikeouts. He struck out the side in his first frame and consistently hit 96 mph with his fastball, reaching 98 a couple of times.

Mills didn’t want to take any chances after Cosart started to labor through his final inning and ended the right-hander’s day after his 64th pitch. Mills sensed Cosart was still pretty amped up to be making his first appearance in a Major League spring game and thought it best to not let things get out of hand and risk injury.

Cosart was one of the marquee names, along with first baseman Jonathan Singleton, in the Hunter Pence trade. He’s been ranked as the Astros’ No. 2 prospect by Baseball America. He’s likely ticketed for Double-A Corpus Christi to start the season.


Jordan Schafer was originally planning to play in the Astros’ game on Monday in Viera, but he’s been bumped back a day. Schafer sprained his wrist about a week ago and is still slowly working his way back. Tentatively, he’ll play two or three innings when the Astros host the Tigers on Tuesday.

(UPDATE, 3:45 ET): Mills tells reporters Schafer will not play Tuesday. Also, Bud Norris will be given two extra days of rest to ensure his elbow is OK. Norris will now start Friday at home vs. the Braves).


General manager Jeff Luhnow will appear on the final Astroline of the 2011-12 offseason, joining Milo Hamilton at the ESPN Club at the Disney Boardwalk on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET/7 CT.

The show can be heard on 740 am KTRH and


One week from today, the Astros will be on their way to Corpus to play the Hooks in an exhibition game (April 2), and then will head to Houston to get ready for Opening Day (April 6).

In the meantime, there’s still business to finish up in Florida. Enjoy these images from batting practice in Viera Monday morning:

Jose Altuve

Chris Johnson, Scott Moore.

Hitting coach Mike Barnett, JD Martinez.

Radio announcer Dave Raymond interviews Houston Chronicle beat writer Zachary Levine for the pregame show on 790 KBME.

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