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Astros demote closer Giles to Triple-A

MLB.com

HOUSTON -- A day after his ninth-inning implosion, the Astros optioned reliever Ken Giles to Triple-A Fresno, and the club recalled left-hander Cionel Perez from Double-A Corpus Christi on Wednesday to take Giles' spot.

After allowing three straight singles without recording an out, Giles was removed during Tuesday's 6-5, 11-inning win in the ninth by Astros manager AJ Hinch for reliever Hector Rondon, who's handled the club's closing duties for the past month. Giles was clearly upset with Hinch as he walked off the mound and into the Astros' dugout, punctuating another rough relief appearance allowing three straight singles without recording an out.

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HOUSTON -- A day after his ninth-inning implosion, the Astros optioned reliever Ken Giles to Triple-A Fresno, and the club recalled left-hander Cionel Perez from Double-A Corpus Christi on Wednesday to take Giles' spot.

After allowing three straight singles without recording an out, Giles was removed during Tuesday's 6-5, 11-inning win in the ninth by Astros manager AJ Hinch for reliever Hector Rondon, who's handled the club's closing duties for the past month. Giles was clearly upset with Hinch as he walked off the mound and into the Astros' dugout, punctuating another rough relief appearance allowing three straight singles without recording an out.

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"What I'll say about Ken is we need to get his pitching right," Hinch said on Wednesday. "He's had an up-and-down season. He's had signs of things that are good. He's had some bad games. He's had some meltdowns. We need to get him right. He's not right. We've got to get him right, mentally and physically."

When asked specifically about the verbal exchange, Hinch said: "We deal with a lot of different things behind the scenes, internally, as a team. Let's keep it to baseball.

"I think it's important for him to get himself right to where he's direrecting all of his attention toward the hitter and all of his attention toward his job. He pitches with a lot of emotion. When things are going well, we love it. When things aren't going well, we have our concerns just because of the volatility with the end-of-the-game-type stuff. When he's good, he's really good."

In his third season with the Astros, Giles has surrendered 36 hits and 17 earned runs over 30 2/3 innings with 31 strikeouts in 2018. Giles, who earned a career-high 34 saves in '17, carries a 4.99 ERA with 12 saves in 34 games this season, but he has only one save in nine appearances since June 17.

The Fresno Grizzlies, Houston's Triple-A affiliate, will return from its All-Star break Thursday in Tacoma, Wash. While the Astros enter MLB's All-Star break Monday, Giles will be able to pitch with Fresno during the off week, said Astros general manager and president of baseball operations Jeff Luhnow.

"Ken Giles was optioned so that he has opportunity to go work on some things that he needs to work on," Luhnow said. "He has not had the success up here this year that he's had in the past or that he's capable of having. We need to keep the Astros first and foremost as our priority, winning games here. We're engaged in a tight division race with the Mariners. The A's are a good team. The Angels are a dangerous team. He needs to pitch. Right now, he won't get as much as an opportunity [here]."

Luhnow echoed Hinch's response about the demotion revolving around Giles' emotional exit from Tuesday's game, saying the option of the 27-year-old reliever was "a baseball decision." Giles was acquired from the Phillies in 2015 for Mark Appel, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 MLB Draft, and four other players.

"As AJ said, this was a baseball decision," Luhnow said. "I don't know what [Giles] said. Things that are said between players or between players and staff, that's a clubhouse issue. That's dealt with separately. This is a baseball decision. He's had success in certain situations, and he hasn't been successful in other situations the way he really should be [having]. We have a plan for what he needs to work on.

"He needs innings. And it's best that he gets those innings in Triple-A rather than here at this point."

Perez, now the second lefty in Houston's bullpen, has 83 strikeouts in 68 1/3 innings with Corpus Christi in 2018. Now in his second stint with the club, he made his Major League debut for the Astros in Wednesday's 8-3 loss to the Astros, allowing one run in 1 2/3 innings, with two K's.

At 22 years and 81 days old, Perez became the youngest Cuban-born pitcher to make his debut since Jose Fernandez debuted at 20 years and 250 days old for the Marlins on April 7, 2013.

• Shortstop Carlos Correa was scheduled to swing a bat Wednesday for the first time since hitting the 10-day disabled list on June 26. If all things go well, Correa said, a rehab assignment is possible this weekend.

Christian Boutwell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston.

Houston Astros, Ken Giles