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Rotation Competition Gets Crowded For Astros

What does spring training bring but a rash of stories about baseball? Today, we get a couple stories on the fact that Zach Duke, formerly of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Arizona Diamondbacks, will be in the competition for a rotation spot.

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What's not clear yet is how many rotation spots are up for grabs. We can assume at least one will be, as the fifth starter's spot will probably not go to Jordan Lyles. That leaves the possibility that J.A. Happ also fails to land a rotation spot, moving into the bullpen instead (because you're not cutting a player who's owed $2.2 million).

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Duke makes sense for a replacement for Happ, since he'd provide another left-hander in the mix. However, don't rule out Lyles making a strong push for a spot, Livan Hernandez eating up one of those two possible spots or any number of things. Aneury Rodriguez is an intriguing sleeper for a spot, but pretty much anyone could jump up and grab control of this race.

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Will Duke be one of them? Recent history suggests that may be unlikely, but that's what they make spring training games for. It'll be interesting to see how the Astros stack their spring rotation before we can learn more about how this competition is going.

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