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Brad Peacock favored to be Astros’ No. 5 starter

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Astros manager A.J. Hinch said Brad Peacock is the “leading candidate” to open the regular season as the club’s No. 5 starter, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports.

Peacock has registered a 1.50 ERA in 12 innings of work this spring. His competition, pitching prospect Josh James, has logged just one inning this spring due to a quad injury.

Last season, Peacock pitched almost exclusively out of the bullpen, compiling a 3.46 ERA with 96 strikeouts and 20 walks across 65 innings. He was a fixture in the Astros’ rotation in the last four months of the 2017 season, so this is certainly not a new role.

James, 26, impressed in a cup of coffee last September, yielding six runs on 15 hits and seven walks with 29 strikeouts in 23 innings. MLB Pipeline rates James as the No. 4 prospect in Houston’s system. James could open the season in the bullpen and then transition into the rotation if needed.

Josh Reddick says he and his Astros teammates have received death threats

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Yesterday Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle spoke to Athletics pitcher Mike Fiers. In the course of the interview, Fiers revealed that he has received death threats for blowing the whistle on the Astros’ cheating. Rob Manfred said last week, before the interview came out, that Major League Baseball would do everything in its power to protect Fiers and his family both when the A’s play in Houston and when they play anyplace else.

Manfred’s pledge of protection is going to need to be expanded, because today the guys on whom Fiers blew the whistle are saying they’ve received death threats as well.

At least Josh Reddick is saying it:

It’s obviously disgraceful for anyone to have to endure this sort of crap. People need to get a grip.