The Astros made five more cuts in spring training, all of whom were moved to minor league spring camp.
Lefthander Rudy Owens, righthanders Jose Cisnero, Collin McHugh and Chi-Jen Lo and catcher Tyler Heineman were optioned to minor-league camp on Sunday morning.
Heineman completed a High A minor league season last year, and was not expected to make the big league team at this stage of his minor league career. The other four cuts had an outside shot at making the major league roster, suggesting that the spring camp is moving into a more serious phase of thinning the roster.Owens attempted to rebound from a stress fracture in his foot last season, and he came into camp off an impressive winter league stint. But he allowed 4 runs in 4.1 innings. McHugh, who had brief ML experience with the Rockies and Mets, was picked up off waivers, and faced an uphill task at winning a ML spot. Lo and Cisneros each pitched in the closer role for the Astros at some point last season. Neither pitched poorly in the spring, and the fact that they were cut this early demonstrates that bullpen openings are scarce after the Astros signed several free agent relievers over the winter. It wouldn't be surprising if both Lo and Cisneros see time in the ML bullpen before the season is over. Any surprises for you?