The Astros can’t rule out making an external addition to their starting rotation mix, writes Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle. General manager James Click has a somewhat uncertain stable of starters upon whom he can rely, with his Astros losing a considerable chunk of innings via the departures of Gerrit Cole and Wade Miley. The rotation currently projects as Justin Verlander, Zack Greinke, Lance McCullers, and some combination of Jose Urquidy, Josh James, and Framber Valdez. However, given the potential limitations on McCullers’s workload and the unproven back-end options, Click may dip into the free-agent pool for insurance. That said, pickings are slim this time of year, with the likes of Marco Estrada, Clayton Richard, and Danny Salazar (to name just a few) representing the most experienced free agents. For what it’s worth, minor-leaguers Bryan Abreu and Cristian Javier have impressed Click thus far and could contribute to the rotation this year.
Here’s more from baseball’s West divisions…
- Giants prospect Heliot Ramos is expected to be out of commission for at least a few weeks after suffering an oblique strain on Friday, reports John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. The 20-year-old outfielder sustained the injury while making a throw home during the Giants’ matchup with the Rockies. Per Shea, Ramos will be re-evaluated this weekend, but is likely to be on the shelf for two weeks at minimum. Ramos is ranked by MLB Pipeline as the number 65 prospect in baseball, and the third-best in the San Francisco organization. He’s reached as high as Double-A and appeared in last year’s Arizona Fall League. He wasn’t invited to Major League camp this year, but has been brought up to participate in a couple of the Giants’ Cactus League games.
- An MRI of Athletics prospect Daulton Jefferies showed no issues with the elbow, though the right-hander does have a strain in his upper bicep, reports Martin Gallegos of MLB.com. The Oakland organization had some fear that Jefferies may have sustained an elbow injury when he exited a February 24 game prematurely. Per Gallegos, we won’t know exactly when Jefferies will be able to throw again until he visits a specialist tomorrow. Jefferies, 24, is coming off a solid 2019 season in which he made it to Double-A, throwing 64 innings of 3.66-ERA baseball at that level.