This morning, the Houston Astros effectively decided their fifth starter by reassigning 20-year-old Jordan Lyles to minor league camp. Three players remain who could receive the assignment: veteran Nelson Figueroa and rule five picks Aneury Rodriguez and Lance Pendleton. Neither of the latter two have gotten many innings recently, and it’s increasingly likely that Figueroa will be the Astros fifth starter once the season begins, behind Brett Myers, Wandy Rodriguez, J.A. Happ, and Bud Norris. Lyles had compiled a 1.98 ERA in his 13 2/3rd spring innings, but he wasn’t dominant enough to make the Astros rush him to the majors.
Along with Lyles, the Astros also sent pitcher Casey Fein, outfielder Drew Locke, outfielder T.J. Steele, pitcher Fernando Rodriguez, and pitcher Patrick Urckfitz to minor league camp. Furthermore, they optioned 40-man roster reliever Sergio Escalona to the minors. Escalona came to the Astros via a minor trade with the Phillies for second baseman Albert Cartwright.
The Astros will tangle with the Tigers yet again later today in Grapefruit League action.