Lyles moved to bullpen, sent to OKC
In an effort to limit the number of innings thrown by rookie starter Jordan Lyles, the Astros on Sunday said they would option him to Triple-A Oklahoma City and pitch him out of the bullpen for the rest of the year.
Astros general manager Ed Wade said the plan is for Lyles to be called up when rosters expand on Sept. 1 and continue to have him perform in a relief role the remainder of the season. The team hasn’t said who will take Lyles’ spot in the rotation.
“No one ever wants to go down, even if it’s for however long,” Lyles said. “If they feel it’s the best for the organization, I’m going to go with it.”
Wade, manager Brad Mills and pitching coach Doug Brocail have talked at length about the best way to limit the 20-year-old right-hander to no more than 170 innings. The move to send Lyles was done in an anticipation of outfielder Jordan Schafer being activated from the disabled list Monday.
Lyles picked up his second Major League win by beating the Giants on Saturday, allowing two unearned runs in five innings. He’s thrown a combined 148 2/3 innings this year between Oklahoma City (59 innings) and the Major Leagues (89 2/3).
“We told him this is not a demotion,” Wade said. “This is a plan we put together to handle what we feel are his best interests and our best interests. We still see him as a starter. I told him this is a conversation we usually have at the end of the year with a guy, but he’s done a good job. He certainly handled himself very, very well for a guy at his age and handled every challenge we put in front of him.”
Schafer, acquired from the Braves on July 31 in the trade for Michael Bourn, has yet to appear in a game for Houston. He’s been on the disabled list since July 20 with a left middle finger joint injury and was scheduled to play his final Triple-A rehab game on Sunday. He was 5-for-5 with two stolen bases for the RedHawks on Saturday.