Brett Oberholtzer Struggles in Rehab Start


The Houston Astros are down a member of their rotation, likely until Brett Oberholtzer is set to return from injury. In the interim, Sam Deduno will be making a start on Friday against the Seattle Mariners, and Oberholtzer will likely be making another rehab start in four day’s time. Using the long man in the bullpen, Deduno, as a spot starter could put added pressure on the bullpen, but with how the Astros have been rolling along lately, this is likely one of those “we’ll cross that bridge if we get to it” scenarios.

The southpaw Oberholtzer, long perceived as a shoo-in for a rotation spot, had some hiccups in his first rehab start with the Fresno Grizzlies on Friday night. I’ll just let his final line do the talking there: 2 2/3 IP with seven runs allowed on seven hits and a walk. The 25-year old lefty threw in two strikeouts for good measure. Mariners’ third base prospect Carlos Rivero, the ninth batter of the first inning, hit a three-run shot off of Oberholtzer which topped off a terrible first. All seven runs allowed were in the inning, and while Obie allowed just a double and a wild pitch in the second, and struck out the first two batters in the third, he was pulled due to his pitch count.

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Oberholtzer was scheduled to throw 60 pitches across four innings, but with the rough start, the innings mark was not met, and the pitch limit is likely what got him the hook after striking out the first two batters of the third. The timeline for his return to Houston is still in the next couple of weeks, barring a setback, or presumably more outings like the one on Thursday evening in Tacoma.

Call it butterflies, or call it trying to figure out what you have in your first game back, but outside of the first inning, Brett Oberholtzer appeared to have a decent outing. Obviously this is not what many were hoping for, but he wasn’t going to be added to the rotation right away no matter the outcome, as he needs to build up his pitch count before being added to the Astros’ rotation.

While the final was rather lopsided, with Tacoma drubbing the Grizzlies 13-3, Preston Tucker added another home run and two rbi with his two-run shot in the top of the third. The 24-year old Tucker has been blazing hot to start the PCL season, already collecting nine homers and 29 rbi, both of which lead the PCL, to go along with his .329 batting average after Thursday’s game.

With the loss, the Fresno Grizzlies (11-9) drop to a half game back of the Sacramento River Cats (Giants) as we head into the weekend. Tacoma is at the bottom of the division with an 8-13 record, so hopefully the Grizzlies bounce back on the road (which has been their kyrptonite) and reclaim first place! While Quad City and Corpus Christi sit atop their respective divisions, both Fresno and Lancaster are within a game of the top spot. Add in the big league team, and there is plenty to be excited about no matter where you turn in Astros country.

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