Jorge De Leon (Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)
After today’s game against the Nationals, the Houston Astros sent two more pitchers to minor league camp.
With Opening Day getting closer, starting pitchers need to get their innings in. That was evident today as Scott Feldman and Brad Peacock pitched four innings each. One of the pitchers optioned, Jorge De Leon, was used in relief today to bail out Feldman once he reached his pitch limit.
As the starting pitcher’s stamina increases, their pitch counts do as well. Especially with competition still ongoing for just about all the rotation spots, at least on some level. innings are at a premium. There are also relievers competing for bullpen roles, so the innings just weren’t going to be there for De Leon and Rhiner Cruz.
Both still will likely have some role with the Astros, but there is simply not enough room for them in big league camp. Especially in De Leon’s case, he had a 1.80 spring ERA, this move was not entirely based on performance.
"“They told me I’ve done a good job,” said De Leon, who gave up one walk and two hits while letting the runner he inherited score during a scoreless inning of relief Sunday. “They told me my stuff – my slider, changeup, split – improved. They told me to keep working and if they need me, they’re going to call me.”"
One player the Astros are still undecided on is Japhet Amador. So far this spring he has just 11 at bats with a .273 average and five strikeouts. While he has proved that he can hit, there is still some adjusting he must do, and Jeff Luhnow will likely ask for more time to evaluate him. Unless something changes quickly, I would think Amador is going to be sent back to his Mexican League team.