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Astros cut eight players from spring training

Carlos Correa and Matt Dominguez headline the players headed to the minors on Sunday.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Houston's roster is coming into focus, as the season rapidly approaches. On Sunday, the Astros reassigned five players to the minor leagues and optioned three more.

The Astros reassigned shortstop Carlos Correa, left-hander Darin Downs, catcher Tyler Heineman, right-hander James Hoyt and infielder Gregorio Petit. Houston optioned right-hander Jake Buchanan, third baseman Matt Dominguez and catcher Max Stassi to Triple-A.

Of these, the most surprising was Dominguez. The third baseman played 157 games last season for Houston and 340 games since being acquired in a trade for first baseman Carlos Lee. Dominguez hit .215/.256/.330 last season with 16 home runs. He was beat out for the third base job by the newly-acquired Luis Valbuena, who came over from the Cubs in the Dexter Fowler deal.

Downs was technically in the running for the second left-hander spot in the bullpen, but was in the same situation as Joe Thatcher. Neither is on the 40-man roster and Downs was behind Thatcher in the pecking order.

Downs, Hoyt, Heineman and Petit will all stay with the team through the exhibition games after the Astros break camp this week. Houston will play the Corpus Christi Hooks on April 2 and will then host the Kansas City Royals for a pair of games on April 3-4 before opening the season against the Cleveland Indians on April 6.

With the moves, the Astros have 32 players in camp with two non-roster invites. Those are Thatcher and starting pitcher candidate Roberto Hernandez, who seems to have locked up a spot in the rotation.

If we assume that Brad Peacock and L.J. Hoes (who injured his wrist this weekend) will open the season on the disabled list, the Astros will still need to cut five players from the roster. Two of those five could come from the losers of the final roster battle between outfielders Alex Presley and Robbie Grossman and infielder Jonathan Villar.

The other cuts will likely come from the bullpen, as left Kevin Chapman and right-handers Will Harris and Asher Wojciechowski could round out the last cuts. If Brett Oberholtzer or Josh Fields start the season on the DL, though, either of the two righties could stick with the team, which may be why they weren't cut on Sunday.