The Astros have called up left-hander Dallas Keuchel to start today’s game against the Texas Rangers. Keuchel, drafted by the Astros in the seventh round in 2009, is 5-4 with a 4.26 ERA and a 1.257 WHIP in 13 starts for AAA Oklahoma City this season. Keuchel was also a part of the 2011 Arizona Fall League Champion Salt River Rafters, going 3-2 in six starts and one relief appearance. Originally from Tulsa Oklahoma, Keuchel is 24 years old and pitched at the University of Arkansas before being drafted by the Astros. It was exactly three years ago today that Keuchel recorded the final out in the 12th inning to eliminate the University of Virginia from the College World Series. Arkansas was then ousted by the eventual champion LSU Tigers.
Keuchel won’t light up the radar gun, his fastball tops out at around 90 m.p.h. but has a good sinking action. The curveball may be his best pitch, taking on the appearance of a fastball before fooling hitters with a late breaking action. Keuchel doesn’t get a lot of strikeouts but gets plenty of ground balls with those two pitches. He also features a plus changeup and a slider rounds out the repertoire.
Keuchel got the news of his call-up yesterday morning from RedHawks manager Tony DeFrancesco and is excited to be living out his big league dream. Keuchel will be officially activated before today’s game and the Astros will need to make a corresponding roster move. Bud Norris could be placed on the disabled list with a nagging hip flexor that led to his recent knee sprain.
In other roster moves the Astros activated Carlos Lee from the D.L. and optioned Brett Wallace to Oklahoma City. Wallace filled in nicely for El Caballo but needs to continue playing on an every day basis. Lee will be the designated hitter today and back in his familiar cleanup spot in the Astros lineup.