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Astros send 4 to minor camp; release C.J. Riefenhauser

The Astros didn’t have room for the lefty.

Houston Astros v Washington Nationals Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

The Astros have assigned outfielder Alejandro Garcia, outfielder Jon Kemmer, right-handed pitcher Jordan Jankowski, and right-handed pitcher to Tyson Perez to minor league camp on Saturday. The team also announced it has granted the unconditional release left-handed pitcher C.J. Riefenhauser.

There haven't been any surprises with the Astros major league roster coming out of spring training. There hasn't been a player out of anywhere, Tyler White-like story, in 2017. Saturday’s moves are right in line with the lack of surprises.

Gracia, 25, batted .291 (102x351) with three home runs and 35 RBIs in 2016 with Triple-A Fresno/Double-A Corpus Christi and Single-A Lancaster. He batted .321 (9x28) ith a double and four RBIs in 20 spring training games.

Kemmer, 26, batted .265 (108x407) with 18 home runs and 69 RBIs in 2016 with Triple-A Fresno. Kemmer, in his second stint in Astros major league spring training camp, batted .308 (8x21) with one home run and five RBIs.

Jankowski, 27, was 2-3 with a 3.77 ERA in 51 games last season with Triple-A Fresno. In his third stint in major league camp, he was 0-0 with a 4.91 ERA in nine games (7 1/3 IP).

Perez, 27, spent much of 2016 rehabbing an injury after being placed on the 60-day DL in April. He pitched just four innings last season. He was 0-0 with a 9.00 ERA in eight games (7.0 IP) with the Astros during spring training.

Riefenhauser, 27, was a non-roster invitee for Astros after spending all of 2016 in the Cubs minor league system. Riefenhauser was 0-0 with a 2.35 ERA in eight games out of the bullpen in spring training. He struck out five and walked seven while picking up a save in 7 2/3 innings.

The move to jettison another left-handed bullpen arms signals the Astros are willing to roll with Tony Sipp as the team’s lefty specialist.