On Wednesday, Astros manager Bo Porter told the media that Houston had much of its rotation set. Bud Norris was named the Opening Day starter and will take on the Rangers on March 31 at Minute Maid Park. He'll be followed in the rotation by Lucas Harrell and Phillip Humber.
Bud Norris opening-day starter.— Brian T. Smith (@ChronAstros) March 20, 2013
Also noted by Porter is that Jordan Lyles, he of the spring struggles and fastball command work, will begin the season in Triple-A, along with John Ely, a right-hander acquired from the Dodgers this winter.
RHP Jordan Lyles and RHP John Ely have been optioned to minor league camp. 37 players remain in big league camp.— Houston Astros (@astros) March 20, 2013
The final two rotation spots will be left to a competition between Erik Bedard, Alex White and Brad Peacock. I'd assume the loser of that group will stay on in a long relief role that Porter said he'd like to utilize. Houston won't need a fifth starter the first time through the rotation, with off-days on the first Monday and Thursday of the season.
Houston's roster now stands at 37 players, meaning that the Astros still need to cut 12 more players in the next 11 days.
Also, Porter announced that Jose Altuve will be the team's leadoff hitter after trying out both Marwin Gonzalez and Tyler Greene in that spot in an effort to move Altuve into the two-hole.
Porter says Altuve is his leadoff hitter— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) March 20, 2013
What do you think? Surprised about Jordan Lyles' demotion? Do you think it'll take him time to get called back up? What about Norris being tabbed the Opening Day starter? Would you have rather seen Harrell in that spot?