Astros move Erik Bedard to the bullpen

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Veteran left-hander Erik Bedard will not be taking another turn in the Astros’ starting rotation.

According to beat writer Brian McTaggart of MLB.com, the Astros have demoted Bedard to the bullpen and will name a new starting pitcher later this week. Bedard had allowed 24 hits, 12 walks and 17 earned runs in 18 2/3 innings of work this season for an 8.20 ERA and 1.93 WHIP. He didn’t make it beyond the fourth inning in any of his five starts.

The 34-year-old southpaw signed a minor league contract with Houston in late January. If he can’t get himself right in the bullpen, the next step will probably have to be an outright release.

Mets sign Matt Purke to minors deal

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The Mets signed left-hander Matt Purke to a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Purke will also receive an invitation to spring training, where he could presumably beef up the club’s left-handed relief options alongside Jerry Blevins and Josh Smoker.

Purke has not appeared in the majors since 2016, when he was used in a dozen relief appearances by the White Sox. The 27-year-old racked up a 5.50 ERA, 6.0 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 in his first 18 innings with the team, and was demoted to Triple-A Charlotte in June to finish out the season. He spent the entire 2017 season in Triple-A as well, showing more promise with a 3.84 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 11.0 SO/9 in 48 appearances.

While Purke may not amount to much more than a depth piece in New York’s ‘pen, the veteran lefty figures to be part of the Mets’ new bullpen-first strategy next year. Reports from MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo indicate that the club will be focusing on improving their relief options in order to ease the workload of their starting pitchers, and will likely add a few more arms before the offseason comes to a close.