Fields out of Astros' closer mix for now

Fields out of Astros' closer mix for now

HOUSTON -- Astros manager Bo Porter said Friday that struggling reliever Josh Fields, who's 0-3 in his last three outings, wouldn't pitch in "high-leverage" innings until he gets comfortable on the mound. Fields had been sharing the closing duties with Chad Qualls and Matt Albers.

"I think we'll try to find some different spots in which we feel like he can gain his confidence back and get back to really attacking the strike zone," Porter said. "Whenever players go through ups and downs, from a managerial standpoint, you try to make decisions on the player and try to put him in position to gain that confidence back."

Porter has yet to settle on one closer, and he maintained that stance Friday, saying, "We don't have a closer."

But with Fields out of the picture for now and Albers on the disabled list, Porter said Qualls and Anthony Bass are likely to handle any closing duties in the near future.

Another pitcher on the roster who could close at some point is hard-throwing right-hander Jose Ciserno, who was recalled from Triple-A a week ago. He spent more than three months in the Majors last year, going 2-2 with a 4.12 ERA in 28 games, including a 10-game stretch when he didn't allow a run in 19 1/3 innings.

"He has the capability, he has the stuff," Porter said. "He has plus velocity. For about a two-week stretch last year, he was probably our best reliever. He hit a bump in the road when he couldn't command it, and we had to send him back to the Minor Leagues to work on his mechanics, work on his command.

"He's come back and he's been good the few times we've given him the ball. We're going to continue to give him opportunities. He does have the stuff where he can pitch in high-leverage situation in late in games."

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.