Brandon Lyon to miss start of spring training

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Lyon Signs.JPGAstros GM Ed Wade revealed to the media Tuesday that relief pitcher Brandon Lyon
had a small cyst in his right shoulder drained two weeks ago and won’t be back to full strength by the time pitchers and catchers report to spring training.

The Astros detected the cyst in the initial MRI they gave Lyon before he inked a three-year, $15 million contract in early December.  It seemed like a minor issue at the time, but the problem grew and Lyon finally told the club of his increasing discomfort last month.

“The follow-up MRI showed it had grown to the size of 1 1/2 grapes,”
Wade told MLB.com on Tuesday. “They aspirated the fluid out of it and Brandon went home and
began his regular throwing program.”

The ‘Stros are hoping Lyon will be ready by Opening Day.  He had a 2.86 ERA, a 1.11 WHIP and a 57/31 K/BB ratio in 78 2/3 innings last year for the Tigers and is expected to begin the 2010 season as the Astros’ closer.

Astros extend winning streak to 11 games

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The Astros rallied late to keep their winning streak alive, extending it to 11 games with a 7-4 victory over the Royals on Sunday afternoon. The club is now 48-25, leading the Mariners by a full game in the AL West.

The Royals took a 4-2 lead after three innings, but Brian McCann knocked in a run with a single in the top of the fourth to cut the deficit to one run. Carlos Correa hit a game-tying solo home run in the eighth. The Astros kept their foot on the gas, scoring two more runs on RBI singles from Evan Gattis and Marwin Gonzalez in the top of the eighth and another in the top of the ninth on Correa’s sacrifice fly.

Starter Lance McCullers allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks with nine strikeouts over six innings. Tony Sipp worked a scoreless seventh. Ken Giles did the same in the eighth. Hector Rondon finished off the win in the ninth, working around a one-out walk with a game-ending double play.

After winning all 10 games on their road trip against the Rangers, Athletics, and Royals, the Astros will head home for a nine-game homestand against the Rays, Royals, and Blue Jays. Each club is below .500.