General manager James Click told Sports Talk 790 that the Houston Astros are hopeful to have Michael Brantley back in the lineup on Wednesday night. The left-hander hit the injured list over two weeks with knee soreness, as he surpassed his possible activation date by a week.
The Astros are currently rostering five outfielders, which includes Yordan Alvarez. Now, the ball club could return to their abundance of outfield depth with Brantley back on the active roster on Wednesday.
Michael Brantley is likely to return to the Astros’ lineup on Wednesday, but who gets optioned in response?
Kendall Graveman was transferred to the paternity list on Tuesday, as Josh James was called up in response. The right-hander didn’t pitch in Tuesday night’s contest but has seen this scenario before, where he is called up and then optioned soon after.
James hasn’t been used in high-leverage this season and is likely on the roster as a fresh arm. The right-hander could be done with his major-league time for 2021, as rosters return to normal concluding September and a postseason seat is out of reach.
Last Friday was Brandon Bielak’s most recent outing, as the right-handed worked three innings on 54 pitches. By now, the right-hander should have enough rest to come in long relief out of the bullpen this series.
The right-hander’s turn in the rotation was picked up with Jake Odorizzi returning, but with the season nearing an end, Bielak should be an option to pick up a start in the final series against the Oakland A’s.
Peter Solomon is in the same boat as Bielak, while the right-hander’s last outing came on Sept. 24. The right-hander threw 48 pitches over three innings, as he could be an option in long relief against Tampa Bay as well.
Solomon is in a perfect spot to pick up a start once the Astros clinch the AL West and also home-field advantage for the ALDS. The right-hander has proven durability in a relief role, while a spot start would behoove the Astros’ evaluations about Solomon’s future.
Optioning James makes the most sense with a bullpen sitting at 10 arms, but even optioning Jose Siri to close out the season could be an option. The right-hander makes a case to be on the postseason roster, but with the outfield jam packed right now, he could finish out the season in Triple-A.