April 15 was tax day in America, it was the Astros' day to do some house cleaning. Robbie Grossman was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City, and Lucas Harrell was designated for assignment. These moves appear to be correspond with getting George Springer on the 40-Man roster and the 25-Man roster in one fell swoop. The Houston Chronicle's Jose de Jesus Ortiz reported the moves -
Robbie Grossman has been sent down to make room for Springer, and Lucas Harrell will be designated for assignment, the Chronicle has learned.— Jose de Jesus Ortiz (@OrtizKicks) April 16, 2014
Robbie Grossman took control of the left-field position coming out of Spring Training - batting .360 (18-50), scoring five runs, four runs batted in, and four walks. Grossman was not apart of a platoon, unlike right field which is manned by Alex Presley and LJ Hoes. He was moved from the two-hole to eighth in the lineup during a 0-for-18 slump at the plate.
Since his slump, Grossman has batted .313 (5-16) with two home runs and five RBIs. As a result, we named him TCB Hitter of the Week with those stats. This comes as a bit of a surprise but Grossman still has options.
The Lucas Harrell experiment is over. The Astros gave Harrell a chance to work out his kinks this season as a starter when many teams would have probably given up already. He was given up 13 earned runs over 12.1 innings of work in 2014 - walking nine batters and striking out nine. Harrell had his strongest outing Tuesday night, allowing four runs over five innings against the Royals.
The Astros claimed Harrell on waivers on July 8, 2011 from the White Sox. He was named to the starting rotation at the start of the 2012 season, many thought he would be the 2013 Opening Day starter before Bud Norris was tapped. Harrell fell apart in 2013, he struggled on the mound and criticized the defensive shifts behind him. He posted a 5.86 ERA and a 4.97 xFIP* last season, both career highs at the time.
Bo Porter commented at FanFest that he thought of Lucas Harrell only as a starter. It was clear Houston wanted to give him one more shot and decided to cut bait.
The question now becomes, who will be the fifth starter for the Astros? Brad Peacock? Paul Clemens? Scott Feldman will more than likely take the final spot on the 25-man roster, when he comes off the bereavement list to pitch Thursday.
*Stats courtesy of FanGraphs