Results tagged ‘ roster moves ’

Owens to replace Peacock and make ML debut

Left-hander Rudy Owens will make his Major League debut on Friday night when he starts for the Astros against the Mariners at Safeco Field. He was called up from Triple-A Oklahoma City to take the place of Brad Peacock, who has been scratched with right forearm soreness.

Owens has appeared in 10 games at Oklahoma City and was 2-3 with a 6.05 ERA, making seven starts. He last pitched May 17 at Nashville, allowing eight earned runs in three innings. This will be the Major League debut for Owens, who missed most of last season after undergoing foot surgery.

To make room for Owens on the roster, the Astros have optioned right-hander Josh Zeid to Oklahoma City.

Astros manager Bo Porter said the move to scratch Peacock is precautionary. Peacock played catch prior to Thursday’s game with assistant athletic trainer Rex Jones keeping an eye on him.

Peacock, 26, began the season in the Astros bullpen before making his last six turns in the rotation. In his last start, he picked up his first win of the season, tossing 6 2/3 innings and allowing two runs en route to an 8-2 win over the White Sox. He is considered day-to-day with his injury.

“Obviously, it’s not a DL situation,” Porter said. “We we didn’t want to risk it or push it when we can push him back and bring somebody in to make this start, and hopefully he’ll take his turn five days from now.”

Owens, 26, will be the third Astros rookie to make his Major League debut as starter in the last three seasons, joining right-handed pitcher Jarred Cosart (July 12, 2013 at Tampa Bay) and left-handed pitcher Dallas Keuchel (June 16, 2012 at Texas). Owens was acquired by Houston from Pittsburgh along with left-handed pitcher Colton Cain and outfielder Robbie Grossman in exchange for left-handed pitcher Wandy Rodriguez on July 24, 2012.

Zeid, 27, has made seven appearances for the Astros this season across two Major League stints. In his appearances, he’s posted no record and a 3.86 ERA with eight strikeouts in 7.0 innings pitched.

Astros make first cuts of spring

The Astros made their first cuts of camp Sunday morning, reassigning right-handers Jake Buchanan, Bobby Doran, Jason Stoffel and Nick Tropeano, infielders Jonathan Meyer and Ronald Torreyes and outfielders Leo Heras and Preston Tucker to Minor League camp. They also optioned right-hander Paul Clemens to Minor League camp.

Most of the players who were sent out didn’t have a realistic shot to make the Major League club and were in camp to be around big league players and get familiar with the staff.

That can’t be said for Clemens, who went 4-7 with a 5.40 ERA in 35 games (five starts) for the Astros last year and was in the mix for a spot on the pitching staff. He had pitched in only two games this spring, allowing six hits and three runs in three innings, but the Astros want him to get stretched out and work on fastball command.

“Paul has had mixed reviews at the big leagues,” general manager Jeff Luhnow said. “There’s been times when he’s been very good and times when he’s been inconsistent. We just need him to go get steady innings down in the Minor Leagues, and we’re having trouble right now finding innings for everybody. We still see Paul as a starting pitcher. We want to stretch him out, and the best way for us to do that right now is at the Minor League level.”

With starting pitchers going longer in games and with so many position players in camp, the Astros were still having trouble spreading around the at-bats, which is why they made the moves. Minor League camp has begun in earnest, and games begin on Friday.

“Like I said to all those guys we talked to today, there comes a point in spring from a starting pitching standpoint and from a pitching standpoint, the innings start to get scarce and these guys are a part of our plans down the road and you want to give them an opportunity to get themselves ready for their season,” manager Bo Porter said. “From a position-player standpoint, the position players are going to start to play deeper into games, which is going to minimize the number of at-bats we have to go around and we need those guys to get regular playing time.”

The moves leave the Astros with 56 players in camp.

Astros cut 10 players from Major League camp

The Astros trimmed their Spring Training roster by 10 players on Sunday morning, optioning outfielders Robbie Grossman, Jimmy Paredes, shortstop Jonathan Villar and pitchers Paul Clemens and Dallas Keuchel to Minor League camp and reassigning outfielder Che-Hsuan Lin, catcher Carlos Perez and pitchers C.J. Fick, Josh Zeid and Sergio Escalona to Minor League camp.

The moves leave the Astros with 39 players in camp two weeks shy of the March 31 season-opener against the Texas Rangers (that includes pitchers Jose Veras and Xavier Cedeno, who are competing in the World Baseball Classic).

“We open up two weeks from today, and even though it’s a long Spring Training, it feels as though it’s gone very quickly,” Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do here. We’ve got to get down to 25. Pitchers are going longer in games, we’ve got innings to dole out, we want to see our position players go a little deeper and have a few more at-bats as well.

“A lot of these guys we’re sending out today have a bright future in our organization, and they know they’ll be back. They need to go down and get regular work and go to their respective Minor League locations and show us what they can do. We know the 25 we start with are not the 25 we’re going to have all year.

“They’ve done, by in large, a good job and especially when you have a new staff at the big league level, it’s a clean slate for everybody. Everybody gets to know each other, and I think it’s been very good for a lot of these players to really take advantage of clean slate to go out and impress. When the time comes, our staff is not going to hesitate to want them back up here.”

Wallace to Triple-A, Gonzalez makes club

Brett Wallace, who began last season as the Astros’ Opening Day first baseman and was competing for a backup infield spot this spring, was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City in a series of roster moves announced by the club

Wallace was hitting .271 with one homer and seven RBIs in 48 spring at-bats entering Sunday’s Grapefruit League finale against the Tigers. He played both first and third base this spring in an effort to increase his versatility, but will start the year in the Minor Leagues.

The Astros also announced shortstop Marwin Gonzalez had made the Opening Day roster, along with outfielders J.D. Martinez and Brian Bogusevic, second baseman Jose Altuve and catcher Jason Castro. Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said the five players — all of whom are on an Opening Day roster for the first time — were notified prior to Sunday’s game by manager Brad Mills.

The only surprise in the group is Gonzalez, a Rule 5 pick who hasn’t had a good spring at the plate but has played terrific defense, including a pair of nice plays Sunday.

The moves leave the Astros with 31 players in camp ahead of Wednesday’s deadline to set the 25-man roster. Considering left-hander Sergio Escalona is still on the roster and is facing Tommy John surgery on Wednesday, the Astros have five remaining cuts to make.

As a Rule 5 pick, the Astros must keep Gonzalez on the 25-man roster all season or risk losing him.

Wallace, acquired by the Astros at the Trade Deadline in 2010, got off to a terrific start at the plate last April, but slowly watched his average decline. He was sent to the Minor Leagues at the end of July and return to the big league club when rosters expanded in September, but Carlos Lee was entrenched as the starter at first and rookie Jimmy Paredes had taken over at third.

Wallace will remain with the team through this week’s exhibition games and play third base in Oklahoma City.

 

Mills says cuts will come down to wire

As the Astros prepare to leave Florida in less than two days, the injury to Clint Barmes, who’s expected to miss four to six weeks with a broken left hand, has forced manager Brad Mills to prolong some pending roster decisions.

Mills had hoped to have most of his decisions made by the time the team left Florida on Tuesday, but he said Sunday morning that’s not going to happen.

“It’s going to go all the way up to Thursday probably, now with Barmie’s hand and so forth,” he said. “That kind of connects with the other decisions we need to make. Not necessarily with the pitching, but the position players.”

The Astros have 34 healthy players in camp, a number that doesn’t include infielder Tommy Manzella. He was optioned to the Minor Leagues last week, but brought back to Major League camp Saturday and thrown back into the mix to start at shortstop. He was the Opening Day starter last year.

Manzella, Matt Downs, Anderson Hernandez (non-roster), Oswaldo Navarro (non-roster) and Angel Sanchez are battling for three spots — two backup infield jobs and the starting shortstop position. Sanchez is dealing with back problems and is out of options, which complicates matters.

The decision on who makes the club on the infield will have a domino effect on the final outfield spot, where Jason Bourgeois and J.B. Shuck are the last two men standing. If the switch-hitting Hernandez makes the team, that would give the Astros a left-handed bat off the bench. Bourgeois is right-handed and Shuck is left-handed, so Shuck might have a better chance to crack the roster if Hernandez doesn’t make it.

Of course, general manager Ed Wade said the team doesn’t necessarily have to go with a left-handed bat off the bench.

Stay tuned.

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