Astros call on Keuchel to debut on Sunday

Astros call on Keuchel to debut on Sunday

Astros call on Keuchel to debut on Sunday
ARLINGTON -- Dallas Keuchel was sleeping soundly in his hotel room in Round Rock, Texas, where the Astros' Triple-A affiliate, Oklahoma City, was playing, when RedHawks manager Tony DeFrancesco knocked on his door at 7:30 a.m. Saturday.

DeFrancesco told Keuchel to pack his bags and hit the road for Arlington.

The Astros announced Saturday that Keuchel, a left-hander drafted in the seventh round in 2009 out of Arkansas, will make his Major League by starting Sunday's series finale against the Rangers. Keuchel will start in place of Bud Norris, who's out with a sprained right knee and could be headed for the disabled list.

"That was a nice wake-up call," Keuchel said.

Keuchel, a 24-year-old who throws in the low 90s, went 5-4 with a 4.26 ERA in 13 starts for Oklahoma City. His stats were skewed by two terrible back-to-back outings May 19 at Reno and May 24 at Colorado Springs when he gave up 19 earned runs in 7 2/3 innings.

"Aside from the two starts on the West Coast, I think it's been pretty good," he said. "I'm commanding the ball right now and doing all the things I want to do, so I'm pretty pleased."

The Astros haven't officially activated Keuchel. They will have to make a corresponding roster move prior to Sunday's game, which could be putting Norris on the DL. Norris has lost his last three starts, but injured his hip flexor May 31 at Colorado before spraining his knee Tuesday in San Francisco.

"After talking with him and the trainers, it seems like it goes back to that hip flexor and the knee was kind of a problem because of the hip flexor," Astros manager Brad Mills said. "As he goes through this thing, he was still tentative. You can't be that way. It's hard to do anything being tentative. The last thing we need is for him to change his mechanics because of the way he felt. We're going to make sure it's all taken care of."