The Astros have announced two moves unrelated to the Astros' 40-man roster. The team has optioned right-handed pitcher Lucas Harrell to Triple-A Oklahoma City and loaned Japhet Amador back to the Mexican League.
Harrell has had a quite a falling out since Spring Training 2013 when he was thought to be the frontrunner for the Astros' Opening Day start. Harrell was arguably the Astros best starting pitcher in 2012, posting a 11-11 record with a 3.76 ERA, .289 BABIP, and 3.89 xFIP*. Since he posted an ERA of 5.98 in 22 starts in 2013, and a 9.49 ERA in his three starts in 2014.
Harrell was designated for assignment last tuesday, as part the moves that brought up George Springer. The right-hander has cleared waived and was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City - leaving for a turn of Harrell to the Astros roster.
It's appears the Japhet Amador experiment is over, he is returning to the Diablos Rojos del México. This have been a foreseen conclusion when he didn't show up on time to Astros Spring Training due to his wife's illness. The timetable for the Astros to call him was pushed back as a result to May 3. It hasn't help that Jonathan Singleton has been killing it, and looks to be the first option for a call up.
The Astros acquired Amador and Leo Heras from the Diablos Rojos on August 18, 2013. In 71 at-bats with Triple-A Oklahoma City, Amador had zero home runs and was batting .267 (19-71). At Amador's size his one main draw was his power (he had 36 home runs in the Mexican League in 2013) and he wasn't showing that against Triple-A pitching.
The Houston Chronicle's Evan Drellich spoke with Amador's agent, Oscar Suarez, he noted that -
Suarez said the possibility remains that Amador can play late in the year, perhaps in the Arizona Fall League. Amador is not under a contractual obligation to the Astros for future seasons, Suarez said.
*Stats Courtesy of FanGraphs