HOUSTON -- With three off-days coming in an eight-day span beginning on Thursday, the Astros will move right-hander Brad Peacock to the bullpen and employ four starters for the next two weeks. Manager AJ Hinch met with Peacock on Monday and told him to be ready to pitch in relief beginning with Wednesday’s series finale against the Yankees.
Peacock, who has bounced between the rotation and the bullpen for much of his career, threw five innings and received a no-decision in Sunday’s win over the A’s in his second start of the season. His presence will help ease the burden on the Astros’ seven-man bullpen.
“I’ve noticed a difference in the first 10 games to have a 12-man pitching staff versus a 13-man pitching staff,” Hinch said. “We’ve seen Josh James pitch a lot, we’ve seen Will [Harris] and [Hector] Rondon get up virtually every game. An extra arm down in the 'pen for this stretch will be nice.”
The Astros have typically carried 13 pitchers (eight relievers, five starters), but Hinch opted for an extra position player this season, partly because outfielders Tyler White and Tony Kemp are both out of options.
Hinch won’t use Peacock in back-to-back days and doesn’t consider Peacock a “long man,” even though he’s served as one in the past. The Astros will next need a fifth starter on April 23, against the Twins, at which point Peacock should be inserted back into the rotation. Hinch will make a determination about Peacock’s availability during the April 19-21 series at Texas.
“[Peacock is] obviously very accommodating and wanting to do it and very resilient to do it, so it’s good to have,” Hinch said.
Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, Collin McHugh and Wade Miley will each start in two turns through the rotation before Peacock returns.