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Porter to employ closer-by-committee approach

Porter to employ closer-by-committee approach

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BALTIMORE -- With closer Jose Veras having been dealt to the Tigers in exchange for a prospect and a player to be named later, the Astros are going with a closer-by-committee approach for now.

The Astros are carrying seven relievers -- not including Lucas Harrell, who made a spot start on Tuesday in place of Bud Norris -- and five of those seven are rookies. Right-handers Chia-Jen Lo and Josh Zeid were called up from the Minor Leagues on Monday and added to the mix.

"I spoke to all of those guys and let them know they all should be ready from the sixth inning on and will be used in different situations based on the understanding of where we were in the ballgame and prior usage, as well," manager Bo Porter said.

None of the relievers in the bullpen have experience closing in the Major Leagues, though Lo was closing games at Double-A Corpus Christi and Zeid at Triple-A Oklahoma City when they were recalled.

Porter said he plans to throw them into the fire.

"I told them to be ready for any situation," he said. "It's a great opportunity for all those guys, and that was stressed to them again today. We lost our closer. At the same time, we have some guys who have been here and we are well aware of the bullpen roles of which we've had of late. It's an opportunity for the new guys that are coming and the guys that have been here to basically grab the bull by the horn and take the opportunity that's down in our bullpen right now."

Zeid, called up on Monday, went two-thirds of an inning, walked one and gave up no hits or runs in his Major League debut in Tuesday's 4-3 loss to the Astros. After the game, he was presented with the game ball and lineup card.

He faced two out of three All-Stars in Adam Jones and Chris Davis. On his first pitch, a 95-mph fastball, he retired Nick Markakis before walking Jones and retiring Davis.

"It was really cool," he said. "It's been a really good year for me so far and I've been fortunate enough to be put in the position to pitch in games against Major League Baseball players. It doesn't matter who you're facing, one through nine, you know you're facing the best 25 guys in that organization, whether it's two All-Stars in a row or two All-Stars out of three batters. You've got to give it your all. It was exciting and a little bit nerve-wracking today to do it in my first game."

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.

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