Last year's rookie pitching phenom Lance McCullers will open the season on the 15-day disabled list with soreness in his right shoulder. This move is probably more protection than anything else, with the Astros trying to protect the young fireballer.
McCullers has had an MRI and per reports it revealed no structural damage. With McCullers firmly penciled into being the number three starter, it's best to take it slow with him and be overly cautious.
With the season looming close, the Astros do have a few options. You can just kill any talk of a trade or picking someone up off the street, there are plenty of "in house" options for the Astros to hold them over till McCullers is ready to rejoin the team.
All the talk in the offseason was the Astros had too many starting pitchers. Well now having that many guys who can start actually helps them out. Everyone can just slide up one role.
Doug Fister likely becomes your third starter, Scott Feldman becomes your fourth starter and Mike Fiers becomes your fifth starter.
That group along with Dallas Keuchel and Collin McHugh isn't as good with McCullers on the self but it's still not a bad five-man rotation.
If you want to dig a little deeper then the three names listed above, former Astros pitcher and non-roster invitee Wandy Rodriguez has really turned a lot of heads. And if you want to dig even deeper than Wandy, you could give flamethrower Michael Feliz a shot.
Even with those two options, it's pretty likely that everyone will just up a role. If that group is doing well when McCullers is ready to return the Astros can tinker with a six-man rotation. They seem to want to keep his innings down and having a six-man might help in that way.
Which every way the Astros go, there have the options to keep themselves afloat while McCullers is on the mend.