Devenski, not Feldman, to start Saturday

April 27th, 2016

SEATTLE -- The Astros will make their first rotation shakeup of the season when rookie right-hander Chris Devenski makes his first career Major League start Saturday in Oakland against the A's. He's starting in place of veteran Scott Feldman, but the move isn't necessarily permanent.

Astros manager A.J. Hinch said Devenski has earned a longer look based on his performance so far out of the bullpen. Devenski has appeared in six games in relief and allowed 11 hits, one run (0.66 ERA) and one walk while striking out 12 batters in 13 2/3 innings. He needed only 41 pitches to throw 3 1/3 innings in relief Sunday.

"He's been a strike-thrower, he's pitched with conviction," Hinch said. "His performance has been exceptional and he's been a starter in the past. I let Feldman know that he's not going to pitch in Oakland. That doesn't mean that he's necessarily out of the rotation. It just means he's not pitching this weekend. We want to take a look at Devenski against Oakland."

Feldman, who's 0-2 with a 4.58 ERA in four starts, will be available in the bullpen beginning Friday. Hinch said he told Feldman prior to Tuesday's game he wouldn't pitch in Oakland. Feldman was primarily a reliever earlier in his career, but he hasn't pitched in relief since 2012 with Texas.

"It's never a good conversation to have when you're taking a start away from a guy who's been as consistent as Feldman's been throughout his career," Hinch said. "As I told him, we haven't seen the last of Scott Feldman starting, and he may even start next week. For the purposes of planning for this weekend, I had to let him know when to throw his 'pen and how to be ready for Friday in case we need him."

Devenski, 25, features a fastball, curveball and slider, but his changeup is his most effective pitch, and he throws it a lot. He spent all of the regular season in 2014 at Double-A Corpus Christi and went 7-4 with a 3.01 ERA before making four appearances in the playoffs for Triple-A Fresno, including seven scoreless innings in the Triple-A Championship Game, striking out nine.

"Obviously his breaking ball is going to come into play when you see hitters more often," Hinch said. "But he's been so efficient with his pitches and has gotten such funny swings and misses, it begs for us to take a look at him to kick start a game and see what it looks like from the first inning on. He pitches with intensity. He pitches with a ton of confidence, and I'm looking forward to seeing him in a different role for the time being. It could be very temporary. As we know, in this game you never know."