Following in the Marlins’ footsteps, the Astros have decided to go to a six-man rotation for the remainder of the season.
Houston made the change in order to get rookie Dallas Keuchel regular starts down the stretch alongside Jordan Lyles, Fernando Abad, Lucas Harrell, Bud Norris, and Edgar Gonzalez.
Interim manager Tony DeFrancesco told Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle that the six-man rotation is a way to limit the workloads of young pitchers and also gives the Astros a chance to evaluate more starters for a potential role in 2013 and beyond.
Houston starters rank second-worst in the NL with a 4.70 ERA, ahead of only Colorado, and that mark includes some good pitching from Wandy Rodriguez before he was traded.
We learned on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu won one of the final two spots in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Brandon McCarthy has won the other, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports. Alex Wood was McCarthy’s competitor for the spot.
McCarthy, 33, posted a 4.85 ERA across four appearances spanning 13 innings this spring, yielding seven earned runs on 14 hits and a walk with seven strikeouts. Wood, a southpaw, gave up five earned runs in six innings against the Reds on Tuesday, which might have factored into the decision.
Last season, McCarthy made nine starts and one relief appearance, posting a 4.95 ERA with a 44/26 K/BB ratio in 40 innings. In the event McCarthy falters, the club has Wood as well as Julio Urias and the injured Scott Kazmir as potential replacements.
The Yankees have re-signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Niese was released on Sunday, but he’ll stick around and provide rotation depth for the Yankees.
Niese had knee surgery last August and got a late start to spring training as a result. In six spring appearances lasting an inning each, the lefty gave up three earned runs on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts.
Niese, a veteran of nine seasons, put up an aggregate 5.50 ERA with an 88/47 K/BB ratio in 121 innings last season between the Pirates and Mets.