FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Astros manager AJ Hinch set the club's 25-man roster on Saturday, informing infielder J.D. Davis and outfielder Derek Fisher they had made their first Opening Day roster. Infielder Tyler White and infielder/outfielder Tony Kemp were optioned to Triple-A Fresno.
Davis beat out White for a spot in Houston's infield that opened up with the five-game suspension that starting first baseman Yuli Gurriel will serve to start the season. Davis, who increased his versatility this spring and can play the corner-infield spots and left field, is hitting .364 with five homers and nine RBIs this spring, and Hinch couldn't ignore the power.
"Davis really performed well this spring and was arguably one of our best offensive players and earned the right to make an Opening Day roster," Hinch said. "He swung the bat extremely well, especially against left-handed pitching."
Fisher held off what Hinch called a late charge by Kemp to win a spot in the outfield. Fisher, who has an impressive combination of power and speed, is hitting .292 this spring with a .407 on-base percentage. He'll join George Springer, Josh Reddick and Jake Marisnick as the club's four outfielders, though Marwin Gonzalez and Davis can play there, too.
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"It's a dream come true, and it's something you work for your entire life," Fisher said. "To be a part of Opening Day is really special. It's my first one, and I'll definitely remember it forever."
Hinch said Fisher's at-bat got better over the past week to 10 days, when Kemp was pushing him, and he will work in the rotation in the outfield, specifically left field. The better he plays, the more he'll play, Hinch said.
"Fisher was certainly challenged by Kemp throughout the entire spring -- Fisher making a late push with his mechanics offensively and what he can bring us," Hinch said. "On the bases, we felt like he was the best option to fill out our roster."
Both White and Kemp will come with the team to Houston for exhibition games against the Brewers on Monday and Tuesday before heading to Fresno. Hinch said they deserve to be in the big leagues, but they just don't fit with the club currently.
"These are tough conversations at the end," Hinch said. "Player 26, 27 and 28, I've been there personally and know it's not a comfortable conversation. One of the best feelings is making an Opening Day roster, so you can imagine the frustration when they're the odd man out."
Let's revisit our pre-Spring Training and mid-Spring Training roster predictions, which were identical. We almost nailed it. The only one we missed was Davis over White.
Catcher (3):Max Stassi will serve as Brian McCann's primary backup, with Evan Gattis getting most of his at-bats at designated hitter.
First base (1): We originally had White over Davis to fill in while Gurriel was out, so we whiffed on this one. Davis' big numbers were too hard to ignore.
Second base (1):Jose Altuve. Check.
Third base (1):Alex Bregman. Check.
Shortstop (1):Carlos Correa. Check.
Utility (1): Gonzalez. Check.
Outfield (4): We had Fisher as the fourth outfielder all along with Springer, Reddick and Marisnick, but Kemp nearly beat him out.
Starting pitcher (5):Justin Verlander, Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers, Gerrit Cole and Charlie Morton will line up in that order to start the season as expected.
Relief pitching (8):Tony Sipp won the final bullpen spot earlier this week, as expected. Thus, no drama here. He'll join Ken Giles, Chris Devenski, Will Harris, Joe Smith, Hector Rondon, Brad Peacock and Collin McHugh in the bullpen as predicted.