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Kazmir to start for Astros in opener against the Royals; Velasquez to bullpen

A.J. Hinch answers question about the Astros rotation with the addition of Kazmir.

Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

The Astros acquired Houston-native Scott Kazmir for prospects on Thursday. After the excitement of the trade died down, the question then became how would Kazmir fit into the team roster.

Would the Astros got to six-man rotation or who would be the low man on the totem pole? Astros manager A.J. Hinch answered that question Thursday as reported by Houston Chronicle's Brian T. Smith. Scott Kazmir will start Friday against the Royals and rookie Vincent Velasquez will be sent to the bullpen. Said Hinch:

"We're going to play it by ear," Hinch said Thursday at Minute Maid Park. "He can help us win here in any role, whether it's in the rotation or out of the pen. I'm very proud of how he's handled his year."

Kazmir is 5-5 with a 2.38 ERA in 18 starts this season. In two starts this season against Kansas City, Kazmir is 0-1 with a 3.14 ERA in 14 1/3 innings (5 earned runs) with 11 strikeouts and two walks.

Vincent Velasquez has had a strong showing in his young career with the Astros, posing a 1-1 record with a 4.03 ERA, 38 strikeouts, 14 walks in 38 innings. Velasquez had arguably his strongest outing his last start, allowing three runs over six innings against the Red Sox on 7/21.