Astros morning update
The competition for the starting rotation gets underway in earnest Monday when right-hander Lucas Harrell starts for the Astros against the Braves on Friday’s Grapefruit League opener in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Harrell is one of 14 starting pitchers in camp competing for only a couple of spots.
Scott Feldman has a spot locked up, and Jarred Cosart, Brad Peacock and Brett Oberholtzer are among the favorites to join him in the rotation. On Monday, manager Bo Porter said Dallas Keuchel had a strong leg up on a rotation spot because of his experience.
That means pitchers such as Jose Cisnero, Paul Clemens, Lucas Harrell, David Martinez, Collin McHugh, Alex White and Jerome Williams will have to pitch their way into the rotation, or make the club as a reliever.
Porter plans to allow all the pitchers get enough innings to show what they can do.
“The good thing is we have a lengthy schedule here as far as the Spring Training schedule, and we also have some B squad games we’ll play realizing we have a number of guys competing for spots,” he said. “It will give us enough innings to go around in order to be able to get a clear indication given the competition at those positions.”
Porter said the pitchers who start games the first time through the rotation this spring, such as Harrell, will likely have to follow another starter when their turn to throw comes up again.
“We’ll probably flip flop some guys the next time through just to give that guy an opportunity to start and the other guy will come behind,” he said. “More important, we want to make sure those guys get innings.”
– RHP Jorge De Leon (strained right quad) was scheduled to throw lightly in the bullpen Monday.
– RHP Mark Appel (appendectomy) said he plans to throw in the bullpen again Tuesday.
– OF Adron Chambers (left hamstring strain) is back at practice, but taking it slow.
– RHP Alex White (Tommy John recovery) said he wants to throw a couple of more time against hitters and get in a simulated game before pitching in games.
– RHP Jesse Crain (right calf strain) and RHP Asher Wojciechowski (lat) are both progressing slowly.