Houston Astros: Is Dan Straily going back to Fresno for another arm?
By Eric Huysman
The Houston Astros called up Dan Straily to make the start against the Texas Rangers yesterday, with Lance McCullers Jr. getting sent down to the minors. I wrote about this yesterday here: Houston Astros: Lance McCullers to Triple-A, Dan Straily recalled. With McCullers only lasting 1/3 of an inning on Monday and Straily lasting only 4 2/3 innings Tuesday, the Astros bullpen is beaten up a little. However, it could have been worse if not for the efforts of Mike Fiers, Tony Sipp, and Will Harris who shouldered most of the workload.
During the middle of the game, Jose de Jesus Ortiz speculated that the Astros might be making a move to add another arm.
The Astros already have a five man rotation with Dallas Keuchel, Scott Kazmir, Collin McHugh, Fiers, and Scott Feldman. If they were to make a move, it would be to add an arm to the bullpen. While the logical option would be Vincent Velasquez, he can not return to the team until after the ten-day required stay before being recalled after being sent to the minors. McCullers is out of the discussion as well.
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Another obvious player would be Michael Feliz, but he pitched seven shutout innings in a start for Corpus Christi on Monday. He has had two stints in the with the Astros and has only made one appearance. Some names on the 40-man roster that could be promoted are Asher Wojciechowski, Brett Oberholtzer, Luis Cruz, Kevin Chapman, and Jake Buchanan. Besides Chapman, none of them is a reliever type of arm, even though some profile Cruz as a future reliever.
Who is a dark horse for the promotion? Well, Aric wrote about him the other day here: Houston Astros: Is Mark Appel ready to help? Mark Appel does throw hard, and could make an impact on the 2015 Astros team as a reliever. This is not the first time I have written about Appel to the bullpen this year, because he would be one of many future stars to start off relieving, such as Shane Reynolds and Roy Oswalt. It would be great for Appel to learn how to pitch in short stints in the big leagues this year, so he would be ready to be a productive starter for the 2016 season. No to mention the boost of confidence he could receive from a successful stint in 2015.
Then again, the Astros could keep Straily on as the long man in the bullpen, but the Astros could use some more arms soon. I’m personally rooting for Straily, but the Astros hold all the cards. Something else to keep an eye on is the health of Preston Tucker, whose arm tightened up after being hit by the pitch early in the game.
He will be likely held out of tonight’s game versus the Rangers, but if he is not getting better anytime soon, look for the Astros to make a move to bring up an outfielder. Domingo Santana has been traded away, so could Tony Kemp finally get the call? The most likely option is L.J. Hoes or Robbie Grossman because they are on the 40-man roster. This is too soon to start speculating, and we will find out more before the game tonight.
Next: Houston Astros: Positives from Loss to Rangers on Monday Night