KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Astros catcher Jason Castro had faced sidearm-throwing right-hander Pat Neshek before, but trying to catch him proved to be a challenge in its own right.
Neshek, whose sidearm delivery is the product of a quick, jerky motion, threw for the first time Sunday as a member of the Astros. Castro said it took him a few pitches to feel comfortable catching the veteran right-hander.
"Catching gives you a little bit different perspective," Castro said. "He's pretty unique. You don't see too many guys who throw from that arm slot that he throws that have that kind of velocity. You pick it up a little bit late and it really gets on you quick, so that's definitely a guy you want to have on your team.
"It's nice to kind of get these introductory bullpens out of the way early, especially with guys you haven't really seen before. Especially a guy like that who's got a little bit of funk to him. He should be good for us. If he's tough to catch, he's definitely going to be tough to hit."
Neshek's "funk" allowed him to have a career season last year in which he made 71 appearances for St. Louis and ranked second among relievers in the National League with a 0.79 WHIP and seventh with a 1.87 ERA en route to making the All-Star Game in his hometown of Minneapolis.
"He's still pumping some pretty good velocity from down there," Castro said. "It definitely rides on you pretty quick. You've just got to be ready for it and just anticipate it. With a guy like that, that's probably the biggest thing, and it helps he can locate pretty well. That makes it a little easier as well."