Astros have 36 in camp after optioning Elmore

Astros have 36 in camp after optioning Elmore

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- The Astros trimmed their roster to 36 players on Friday by optioning infielder Jake Elmore to Triple-A Oklahoma City. Elmore, claimed off waivers from Arizona in November, hit .226 (7-for-31) in 15 Grapefruit League games.

Elmore wasn't expected to make the club, and he'll play mostly second base at Oklahoma City, though he can play third base and shortstop as well.

"Like we said to Jake, we're at that point in the spring where you're starting to make the tough decisions, but you have to look at the organizational depth and what's best for each and every player," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "It's better to get down to Triple-A and get quality playing time each and every day, so if we have an unfortunate situation or injury that will affect us from a game standpoint, we have somebody that we can call upon and get them in the lineup on an everyday basis."

The Astros are now at the point in the spring where the next wave of roster cuts could have a significant impact on the shape of the Opening Day roster. A lot will hinge on the future of Rule 5 pick Nate Freiman, who must stay on the 25-man roster all season or be offered to the Padres.

If the Astros decide he is not going to make the club, they could try to work out a trade with San Diego to keep him. Houston did that with the Indians in 2005 and were able to keep Willy Taveras, who wound up finishing second in the National League Rookie of the Year voting behind Ryan Howard that season. Luke Scott also came to Houston in that deal.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.