LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said the team plans to announce its 25-man roster prior to leaving Florida in a couple of days, but the moves the club made Monday certainly brought the roster composition into complete focus.
The Astros trimmed their roster to 30, optioning right-hander Josh Zeid to Triple-A Oklahoma City, reassigning outfielder Adron Chambers and catcher Rene Garcia to Minor League camp and releasing veteran infielder Cesar Izturis.
"Zeid pitched well, especially recently," Luhnow said. "We believe Zeid is going to spend many days in the big leagues this year, but this is the way we're going to configure the team out of the gate."
The moves leave the Astros 26 healthy players in camp, including three catchers (they'll only carry two).
That means infielder/outfielders Jesus Guzman and Marc Krauss have made the team, along with pitchers Anthony Bass, Kevin Chapman and Raul Valdes. The club will open the season with 13 pitchers, but the final two rotation spots have yet to be decided between Jerome Williams, Dallas Keuchel, Brad Peacock and Lucas Harrell.
Carrying eight relievers gives manager Bo Porter some flexibility early in the season considering the Astros play 13 games in a row to start the year.
"When you look at the woes in which we came out of the gates with last year, and our starters going out [three out of five games in mid-April] and not getting out of the first inning and burning through the bullpen, the last thing you want to do early in the year is tax your bullpen," Porter said. "I think that was a learning experience for myself and the organization, and that can have ripple effects throughout the course of the year. We don't have to go through that again."
Keuchel, who pitched Monday, Williams, Peacock and Harrell were being given one final start to determine who goes to the bullpen and who stays in the rotation. If the roster stays constructed the way it is now, L.J. Hoes and Krauss will platoon in right field, with Krauss seeing time at first with Guzman and Chris Carter.