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Star of last spring, Wojciechowski a roster long shot

MLB.com @brianmctaggart

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Asher Wojciechowski was the biggest surprise story of Astros camp a year ago, securing the No. 5 spot in the starting rotation to open the season. The big right-hander appeared in only five games (three starts) with Houston (0-1, 7.16 ERA) before spending the rest of the year with Triple-A Fresno.

Wojciechowski is a reminder that anything is possible, and that's a mindset he is taking to heart this spring, considering how tough it will be to make the club. The Astros have three veteran starters -- Mike Fiers, Scott Feldman and Doug Fister -- competing for the final two spots in the rotation. Finding a spot for Wojciechowski will be difficult at the onset.

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Asher Wojciechowski was the biggest surprise story of Astros camp a year ago, securing the No. 5 spot in the starting rotation to open the season. The big right-hander appeared in only five games (three starts) with Houston (0-1, 7.16 ERA) before spending the rest of the year with Triple-A Fresno.

Wojciechowski is a reminder that anything is possible, and that's a mindset he is taking to heart this spring, considering how tough it will be to make the club. The Astros have three veteran starters -- Mike Fiers, Scott Feldman and Doug Fister -- competing for the final two spots in the rotation. Finding a spot for Wojciechowski will be difficult at the onset.

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"He is a good reminder to a lot of guys you can earn your way onto our team the better you play in the spring," manager A.J. Hinch said. "Our team is hard to crack. If we stay healthy, it's a tough team to make. Whether we carry 13 pitchers -- how many long guys do we take, where the rotation fits -- Wojo's probably in the swing man mold, but I still want him to keep a starter's mindset. You can go from a full rotation to an empty rotation pretty quickly in this game."

Wojciechowski, 27, lived and worked out at his home in Charleston, S.C., this offseason. The thoughts of getting a taste of the big leagues only made him work harder to try to get back.

"It's motivating just wanting to get back up there and help this team win, and just kind of fuel my fire and get back there and compete and try to establish myself up there," Wojciechowski said. "Those three starts I had in the big leagues last year, I learned executing pitches is huge, and I felt like I was a pitch or two away from getting out of an inning where I gave up a big inning. And [I] definitely learned a lot and made me more motivated to get back here."

With that in mind, Wojciechowski has been working on getting his arm in a better position during his delivery and using his legs more.

"I worked all offseason on that, so I'm excited to see how it translates," he said.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Houston Astros, Asher Wojciechowski