Neshek happy to start spring on right foot

Astros reliever feeling good following surgery to repair Jones fracture

Neshek happy to start spring on right foot

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Foot pain became a way of life last year for Astros reliever Pat Neshek, who injured his right foot a year ago and dealt with discomfort and pain all year. He finally underwent surgery in late November for a Jones fracture and was cleared about a month ago to throw full force.

Neshek, who on Thursday shared a picture with the media of a 2-inch circular bone that was removed from his foot, wasn't sure if the lingering foot problem hindered him last year, but he's certainly glad to put it behind him as he enters what he hopes is a healthy 2016.

"Right now, I'm very happy I got it done," Neshek said. "I feel a lot better than I was pre-surgery. It's going to be fun here this week. I'm pretty certain that everything is going to go really well and I'm going to be able to do all the drills and get in the games."

• Look at the bone from Pat Neshek's foot, if you dare

Neshek went 3-6 with a 3.62 ERA in 66 appearances last year and really struggled in September, allowing 13 hits and eight runs (six earned) in 6 1/3 innings. He didn't want to make excuses about the foot.

"I had a pretty good year up until that last month," he said. "It felt the same all year, so I don't know. I'm hoping I might be able to get up a little bit more and drive off the mound with my fastball and maybe on my follow-through I can get a sharper slider. We'll see here. I'm real excited to see what a fresh me is with no aching parts of my body."

Astros manager A.J. Hinch knows how effective a healthy Neshek can be.

"He's as tough as anybody on right-handed hitters, and watching him gut through some of the pain last season and the nicks and bruises here and there, he showed why he's one of the better relievers around the league," Hinch said. "He adds to what is on paper right now a very deep bullpen."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.