Jordan Lyles is probably losing his rotation spot

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Jordan Lyles threw a complete-game shutout against the Brewers in his final outing last season to finish 5-12 with a 5.09 ERA. Now, that doesn’t sound very impressive, but he was just 21 years old and that he was an Astro explains the win-loss record. He entered camp this year penciled in as Houston’s No. 3 starter behind Lucas Harrell and Bud Norris.

Unfortunately, Lyles’ position in the rotation is now very much in doubt. He gave up six runs in two-thirds of an inning in his start against the Braves on Friday, elevating his spring ERA to 25.20. In three outings, he’s given up 20 hits and 15 runs — 14 earned — over five innings.

The Astros do have rotation alternatives, so Lyles will probably be Triple-A bound barring a massive turnaround in his next two starts. Philip Humber and Erik Bedard were the favorites for the last two rotation spots entering camp, with Alex White and John Ely next in line. They also have Edgar Gonzalez and Dallas Kuechel available as fallback options.

Count on Houston looking at any out-of-options starters placed on waivers later this month. The Blue Jays’ Brett Cecil is an obvious possibility. There are also guys like the Dodgers’ Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang, the Royals’ Luke Hochevar and Bruce Chen and the Rays’ Jeff Niemann available in trade talks. Rick Porcello, too, but the Astros don’t have the closer the Tigers are looking for and probably wouldn’t want to give up prospects for him.

Yankees to activate Greg Bird tomorrow

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The Yankees have the best offense in all of baseball. Now they’re about to add a big power threat: Greg Bird will be activated tomorrow.

Bird has missed the entire year since undergoing ankle surgery to remove a spur back in March. He’s been on the mend of late, however, and recently completed a stretch of 12 rehab games in which he didn’t hit a ton, but he showed that he was healthy and that’s always been the biggest thing with him. As you’ll recall, he missed considerable time with trouble in the same ankle last season.

Bird has always shown considerable promise, and the Yankees — despite scoring runs in bunches — could use a little left-handed power and some better production at first base. Bird, hopefully, will be able to provide it.