Astros ace Dallas Keuchel is starting to feel like himself again.
“I’ve been telling some of the guys that it actually feels weird to kind of feel good,” Keuchel said on Tuesday after a workout at Minute Maid Park. “It’s the first time in a long time that I feel 100 percent”
Keuchel’s 2016 campaign was as disappointing as the team’s results. Coming off a Cy Young season the year before, many expected him to get even better.
That just wasn’t the case as a shoulder injury cut it short.
“The body didn’t recover,” Keuchel said. “It was kind of like I was pushing through it all year. It almost felt like it got better before It go worse, almost like that false hope I guess so that was the toughest part.”
Keuchel started his throwing program two weeks ago. As of Tuesday’s work out, he’s throwing 3 times a week reaching a distance of 110 to 115 feet.
The goal is to throw off the mound for the first time on February 1st, giving him two months before opening the season.
“This is the same feeling I had coming into ’13, ’14 and ’15,” Keuchel said. “I have no reason to not be very confident in what my body is going to hold up for and hopefully it’s another 250, 260 maybe even 270 inning season.”
At 29 years old, Keuchel is looking for more sleep. Other than that, his training regimen hasn’t changed.
“I’m a competitor so I like to get after it in the gym and that carries over to cardio,” Keuchel said. “I think if anything has changed I think my cardio and my whole routine with running has increased so I guess that days have been longer.”
As long as health is not a concern, the lefty sees a return to prominence for the Astros in 2017.
“The outside expectation should never be more than what you expect from yourself. I think every competitor should be that way,” Keuchel said. “We were young enough that even those younger guys could take a step back and learn from what they did. I have no reason not to believe that we will be a whole lot better than we were last year.”
Astros pitchers and catchers will report to Spring Training on February 14th.