Rotation battle whittled to four

Astros manager Brad Mills identified four candidates Tuesday morning who remain in the mix for the team’s final two spots in the starting pitching rotation: right-handers Kyle Weiland, Jordan Lyles and Livan Hernandez and left-hander Zach Duke. The team isn’t saying it, but Hernandez appears to be a lock, leaving Weiland, Lyles and Duke for the final spot.

Mills said right-handers Lucas Harrell and Henry Sosa are being looked at in bullpen roles.

“Because they haven’t been getting the [starts], I don’t know if you can put them in the mix right now over those other four guys,” Mills said. “If they were to show something and light our eyes they might throw themselves back into that mix, but we’re looking at spots in the bullpen as well. Or if they do something we feel would warrant them to get back into the mix, then we’ll put them right back into the mix.”

Mills expects nothing to be decided until end of camp.

“The way we’re going about it is allowing us to look at them almost to the end of camp,” he said. “There’s no doubt we’ve already seen quite a bit from those guys and we’re forming opinions as we move forward because we’ve been able to see quite a bit of them. We want it to go as long as possible so we can have as much information to make the best decision.”

– CF Jordan Schafer, who sprained his left wrist two days ago, feels better, Mills said. He’s still several days away from getting back to action.

– C Humberto Quintero will catch the second half of today’s game against the Cardinals, following Chris Snyder.

– RHP David Carpenter and Fernando Rodriguez will pitch in a Minor League game today.

– Infield Joe Thurston made his first start of the spring against the Cardinals at second base. He was also scheduled to start in the morning B game, also at second base.

Here is the Astros’ lineup for Tuesday’s 12:05 p.m. CT game against the Cardinals, which can be seen on FS Houston and heard on 790 AM.

CF Jason Bourgeois

SS Jed Lowrie

RF Brian Bogusevic

1B Carlos Lee

DH Jack Cust

3B Chris Johnson

LF Justin Ruggiano

C Chris Snyder

2B Joe Thurston

—-

RHP Jordan Lyles

4 Comments

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Brian, the ‘stros play in right field has really been poor this spring. It doesn’t seem like Bogusevic, Cust, or F Mart can be trusted with everyday duty. Do you think they may move Carlos to left, JD to right, and plug in CJ at first? Chris seems much closer to being an everyday player than any of the right field candidates. Or, how about Johnny Damon? He’s desperate for a job, can play some outfield, and give the astros a veteran presence who doesn’t have to play everyday to be successful. Which scenario do you think is more likely? Thanks.

Can you give us a recap of the morning B game?

Duke and Happ each threw five innings, throwing around 83 pitches. Joe Thurston tripled, and Jack Cust had a hit. There were no boxscores.

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