Astros roster coming into focus
The Astros made several roster moves Sunday affecting a total of eight players in Major League camp. Five players were reassigned to minor league camp: shortstop Carlos Correa, left-handed pitcher Darin Downs, catcher Tyler Heineman, right-handed pitcher James Hoyt and infielder Gregorio Petit. Three players were optioned to minor league camp: right-handed pitcher Jake Buchanan, infielder Matt Dominguez and catcher Max Stassi. Following the moves, the Astros; roster now stands at 32 players, including 30 players on the 40-man roster and two non-roster invitees.
Here’s a breakdown (locks in bold):
Breakdown: Catchers are set.
STARTING PITCHERS (7)
Roberto Hernandez (non-roster)
Brad Peacock (likely to start season on DL)
Breakdown: Considering Peacock won’t be stretched out until mid-April, it’s Hernandez and Wojciechowski for the final rotation spot. The Astros have to make a decision by Hernandez by noon Tuesday whether to play him a $100,000 roster retention bonus. He pitched well Saturday, so he’s the favorite. But if Oberholtzer, who missed a week or so on the mound because of a lat strain and illness, can’t get stretched out in time for the start of the season, Wojciechowski could be called upon.
RELIEF PITCHERS (9)
Joe Thatcher (non-roster)
Breakdown: Deduno was told he’s made the club, leaving one spot in the seven-man bullpen. Harris is the only right-hander in the group, so it will come down to whether the Astros want to carry a second lefty with Sipp. Thatcher has had a terrific spring and is the favorite, though Chapman has also pitched very well. Keep in mind Fields is nursing a sore groin and might not be ready for Opening Day, which would open up another spot.
Breakdown: Grossman has had a better spring than Presley and appears to be the favorite. Presley is out of options, however, which complicates things. Hoes is a long shot who is now nursing a sore hand.
Breakdown: Villar has a leg up on the final spot on the infield, and the fact he’s looked good in center field only bolsters his chances. Singleton has struggled recently and is facing an uphill battle of making the club.
DESIGNATED HITTER (1)