Astros set rotation for first trip to Target Field
Cosart, Bedard, Keuchel to start; Oberholtzer candidate for open spot
BALTIMORE -- We'll have to wait a couple of more days to find out who takes the open spot in the Astros' rotation created by the trade of Bud Norris to the Orioles.
Brett Oberholtzer came out of the bullpen to make his first career start in Wednesday's 11-0 win, throwing seven scoreless innings. He could get the ball again, though Lucas Harrell remains a candidate after throwing on Tuesday in Norris' place.
Astros manager Bo Porter announced his rotation for this weekend's series against the Twins -- Houston's first visit to Target Field. Jarred Cosart will go on Friday, followed by Erik Bedard on Saturday and Dallas Keuchel on Sunday.
"I wanted to make sure we made it through the last two games without having to use Keuchel [in long relief] out of the bullpen, which we didn't have to do [Wednesday] night," he said. "I think we'll be fine and we'll set the rotation and move forward."
Oberholtzer certainly has earned another shot. A starter in the Minor Leagues who has been used in long relief, he allowed three singles and didn't walk any batters against the Orioles on Wednesday.
Altuve, Barnes not in lineup for finale with O's
BALTIMORE -- Astros second baseman Jose Altuve and center fielder Brandon Barnes were held out of the starting lineup for Thursday's finale against the Orioles with nagging injuries.
Altuve aggravated the left quadriceps injury that has bothered him in the last few days and could miss a couple of games. Barnes, meanwhile, said his lower back tightened up while swinging the bat during Wednesday's 11-0 win.
Astros manager Bo Porter said both players were available on Thursday -- Altuve to hit and Barnes to run.
"If Altuve can hit, he can hit, but he probably wouldn't be able to run 100 percent," Porter said. "Hopefully, he'll get a full day of treatment and it heals, and he's much better the next day.
"With Barnes and [swinging] the bat, you don't want to take any chances. It stiffened up on him last night and you have had to pinch-hit for him to get him out of the game. I told him the same thing I told Altuve, 'You guys take it easy today, get all your treatments and if we can keep you out of the game, we'll keep you out. If you're pressed into it, you're pressed into it.'"
Barnes said he can still feel tightness in his back while swinging the bat, but said he would be available for any duty if needed.