By Derek Fogel

Houston (SPORTSRADIO 610) – Dallas Keuchel made his spring training debut Monday at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches as the Astros hosted the Marlins. He was not as sharp as his fellow starters, but that is to be expected in the spring. Dallas went just 1.2 innings while facing 11 hitters with 45 pitches.

“He was really amped up, excited to pitch. I think he’s thrilled with how good he feels and he was a little overly amped. He couldn’t find the strike zone at the rate he normally does,” Astros Manager A.J. Hinch said.

Keuchel allowed 4 hits, 2 earned runs, a walk, a hit-by-pitch, but collected 3 strikeouts. The Astros would go on to win the game 5-3 over the Miami Marlins.  Monday’s emphasis though was less about results and more about building up a pitch count. Despite some other rotation pitchers looking stronger than Dallas, Hinch still has plenty of faith in how he has planned out their spring to prepare for Opening Day.

“Forty-five pitches was enough to build up some endurance and get him to the next start,” A.J. said.

Also during his in-game television interview, Hinch went on to say that Justin Verlander would be the Astros Opening day starter.