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Astros closer Giles working to ensure he's around to finish
By CHUCK KING
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) Houston manager A. J. Hinch elected to give the Astros a shortened work schedule Sunday, the day before for position players report for workouts.
Closer Ken Giles was having none of it.
"I don't take light days," Giles said. "That's the thing with me. I don't like taking short break days. I always go out there with a mindset of getting something done. I set a goal for myself and I'm going to go do it."
Sunday work for most of the Astros pitchers and catchers involved little more than stretching.
Many weren't on the field for more than an hour.
"This will be as close to an off-day as we get when we actually still show up," Hinch said. "We have some long days coming ahead."
Giles, however, went through his normal program of full long toss along with additional throwing off flat ground.
"I'm going to probably go in the gym right now when no one's in there," Giles said after many of the Astros had already headed home for the day.
Many of the World Series champion Astros are trying to counterbalance any lingering effects of an offseason condensed because of their long 2017 postseason run by easing into 2018. That's not the case with Giles.
He's trying to ward off the fatigue that spoiled his performance in the postseason by working even harder in the offseason and spring.
Though still somewhat slight of stature, the 6-foot-2 righty added muscle mass between November and February. He's already seeing that pay off with increased stamina.
"I want to finish it this year," Giles said.
Featuring a 100 mph fastball, Giles had 34 saves for the Astros last season, posting a 2.30 ERA while striking out 11.9 batters per nine innings.
The regular season success soon yielded to postseason misery.
Giles allowed two runs in three innings against Boston in the AL Division Series. He surrendered three more runs, taking the loss in Game 4 of the League Championship series against the Yankees.
In the World Series, Giles only made two appearances, allowing five runs against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He entered Game 4 in the ninth with the game tied at 1 and allowed all three batters he faced to reach base. Giles took the loss and did not appear again in the series.
Leading 5-1 entering the ninth inning of Game 7, Hinch elected to send Charlie Morton, normally a starter, back to the mound for his fourth inning of relief on the night. Three outs later, Houston celebrated.
"We won as a team," Giles said. "We all got a ring, that's all that matters. We won the title and now we're the team to beat and now everybody's ready to come get us and now we're ready for them to come get us."
And Giles is ready to be that reliable ninth inning guy again.
"I'm not going to try to be someone who I'm not," Giles said. "I'm a guy that throws hard and has a good slider, and that's what I'm going to stick to. That's why I'm so successful."
Updated February 18, 2018