Found February 27, 2012 on
Fox Sports Houston:
When the Astros sent reliever Mark Melancon to the Red Sox in the trade which netted Jed Lowrie, most stories about the deal discussed how the Astros sent their closer to Boston.
When Astros pitchers and catchers reported to Kissimmee several days ago, manager Brad Mills was asked more than once what he planned to do about the closer's role. Mills has not committed to any closer.
Apparently, it's out of sight out of mind in terms of Brandon Lyon. After all, Lyon did sign a three-year, 15 million contract in the winter of 2009 to be the Astros' closer.
Lyon recorded 20 saves in 2010 but pitched in only 15 games last season before it was discovered that he needed surgery to repair his right biceps tendon as well as a tear in in his labrum.
"Anytime you're talking about having a surgeryyou never know," Lyon said. "I'm getting later in my career here. You never know how you're going to bounce back. It's finally time where I feel like all the rehab and the work are paying off."
Lyon said he feels one hundred percent ready to pitch once spring games begin.
Lyon had been feeling discomfort in the shoulder area long before last season's eventual break-down.
"Last couple of off-seasons I felt pretty bad going into the off-season," Lyon said. "I knew I needed to rest a while. It's just hard taking that time off and being able to come back and get back in the swing of things. This (off-season) felt different to me, felt a lot better. I'm just working to stay healthy this year."
If healthy, one would presume that he gets in the inside track on the closer's role in 2012.
"All that stuff is not up to me," Lyon said. "I'm here to help this team win. Whatever they do, whatever decisions they have to make that are best for the team, I'm OK with."
But with a team which lost 106 games last season and may not be much better this year, Lyon's opportunities for saves are likely limited. In addition, at age 31, it may be difficult for Lyon to deal with a rebuilding regime. But he doesn't sound bothered by the fact he will be a veteran on a team unlikely to win very often.
"It's where I'm at in my career," he said. "I signed here. I knew what I was getting into coming to Houston to play. Things change and things are different. You never know how it's going to pan out. But I'm here to do whatever I can to make this organization win games."
Lyon also hopes that since the sale of the team is now complete, the team can just focus on the task of playing.
"We started talking about the sale of the team two years ago," said Lyon. "I think we finally have resolution where we can move in some direction. There was no direction before. It seems like we're at a point where we're going in some direction."
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By Mark Mitchell
Special to FOXSportsHouston.com
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