Astros set 25-man roster, tab Peacock for rotation
The Astros finalized their 25-man roster, setting their pitching rotation for the start of the 2013 season on Thursday by telling right-hander Brad Peacock he would be the club’s fourth starter. Right-hander Alex White is bound for the bullpen in a long relief role.
Astros manager Bo Porter also locked in the the bullpen by telling Rule 5 pick Josh Fields, Hector Ambriz and Rhiner Cruz they had made the club. Edgar Gonzalez will start the season at Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Peacock, acquired by the Astros in last month’s trade that shipped Jed Lowrie to Oakland, had a strong spring for Houston, allowing 16 hits and seven earned runs in 19 2/3 innings in seven games (three starts). White’s numbers weren’t quite as good, but he did pitch three games of the bullpen last year for Colorado.
“He did a tremendous job,” Porter said. “I talked to him and White and told them I thought we deserved to have six starters make the rotation, and I’m a big believer in carrying a long guy for the flexibility of saving your bullpen. I told White, ‘You’re going to get your innings.’ It’s a competition that’s not just going to stop at the end of Spring Training. It will continue through the course of the season.”
With Bud Norris (Sunday), Lucas Harrell (Tuesday) and Philip Humber (Wednesday) pitching against the Rangers in the season-opening series, Peacock will start Friday against his former team, the Oakland A’s. Erik Bedard is scheduled to pitch Saturday against the A’s, with Norris throwing the homestand finale on Sunday.
Porter likes the makeup of the bullpen. Jose Veras will be the closer and he said the eighth-inning role will initially be determined by matchups. White can work in long relief, but he said Hector Ambriz and Rhiner Cruz can pitch multiple innings from the right side and Xavier Cedeno from the left side.
“I love the fact we have two lefties down there who are capable of getting out some of the better left-handed hitters in our league,” he said. “We also have a long guy, we have a good mix of guys who can pitch in the back end. I’m pretty confident in our bullpen.”
Peacock, 25, was selected by Washington as the No. 41 overall pick in 2006 and was shipped to Oakland five years later in the Gio Gonzalez trade. The Astros acquired him, outfielder Chris Carter and catcher Max Stassi from the A’s on Feb 4.
Peacock was 12-9 with a 6.01 ERA in 28 games (25 starts) at Triple-A last year following a terrific 2011 season in which he made his Major League debut with the Nationals and was 2-0 with a 0.75 ERA in three games (two starts).
“For the whole staff, he just looked like he got stronger each and every time he got the ball,” Porter said. “The outings got strong, the stuff got more crisp and the breaking ball really, really starting to get late depth. It was good to see. I have history with him and I saw him really, really good in 2010 and like I told him, ‘He looks like the guy I saw in 2010.'”
Here’s the 25-man roster:
Starting pitchers (5) — Bud Norris, Lucas Harrell, Philip Humber, Brad Peacock and Erik Bedard.
Relief pitchers (7) — Jose Veras, Josh Fields, Hector Ambriz, Xavier Cedeno, Wesley Wright, Rhiner Cruz, Alex White.
Catchers (2) — Jason Castro, Carlos Corporan.
Infielders (6) — Brett Wallace, Jose Altuve, Ronny Cedeno, Marwin Gonzalez, Matt Dominguez, Carlos Pena.
Outfielders (5) — Chris Carter, Justin Maxwell, Rick Ankiel, Brandon Barnes, Fernando Martinez.