Houston likely to stick with five-man rotation

Houston likely to stick with five-man rotation

HOUSTON -- It's likely the Astros will use a five-man starting pitching rotation after the All-Star break.

Astros manager Brad Mills said he anticipates sticking with a five-man rotation to start the second half, which means the current rotation of Lucas Harrell, Bud Norris, J.A. Happ, Wandy Rodriguez and Jordan Lyles will open the second half.

"We talked about it a little bit [Friday] and we will continue to talk about it, but right now the feeling is, probably, we'll go with a five-man rotation," Mills said.

The Astros employed a four-man rotation the first few weeks of the season and occasionally brought up a fifth starter when there was no off-day allowing them to stay on four starters. Lyles joined the rotation in May and the Astros briefly went with a six-man rotation when Norris came back from the disabled list and rookie Dallas Keuchel was coming off a complete game. Keuchel was sent to Triple-A after his most recent start.

Having a five-man rotation allows Mills to carry an extra relief pitcher.

"I'm not taking away from anything anybody's done, but at the same time, we might go to a six-man later to kind of reduce some innings on some guys," he said.

Harrell, a rookie, is second on the team with 102 2/3 innings pitched. His career high innings pitched is 161 2/3 with Triple-A Charlotte (137 2/3) and the White Sox (24) in 2010.