Fiers set for Astros debut Tuesday
Club optioning Velasquez to make room; Deduno to have hip surgery Tuesday
HOUSTON -- Though he still hadn't met Mike Fiers in person, Astros manager A.J. Hinch announced before Saturday's 9-2 win over the D-backs that Fiers -- acquired along with Carlos Gomez in Thursday's trade with the Brewers -- will start Tuesday against the Rangers in Arlington.
Fiers' fifth day of rest is Monday, but Hinch said he wants to give Fiers an extra day off so he can get acclimated to Houston, throw a bullpen session with Astros pitching coach Brent Strom and have his focus squarely on baseball.
"He's willing to do anything and he's raring to go," Hinch said of a recent phone conversation he had with Fiers. "I wanted to see physically. He hasn't done a ton for a couple days ... He's had to move himself here and get himself ready, and some of the baseball for a pitcher has taken a little bit of a back seat for 48 hours."
Fiers' flight was scheduled to land right around the time of the first pitch of Saturday's Astros game against the D-backs. Fiers will be activated Sunday, and Hinch announced after Saturday's game that Vincent Velasquez will be optioned to Double-A Corpus Christi in a corresponding roster move.
Velasquez threw 2 2/3 no-hit innings in relief of Dallas Keuchel on Saturday, striking out three and surrendering a walk. Hinch said Velasquez will go to the bullpen in Corpus Christi for some extended outings, while the decision to option him wasn't easy.
"He's one of our elite pitchers, he's got really good stuff," Hinch said. "He showed that tonight. I love the fact that he got to get into the game and we were able to use some innings for him before we sent him out. It could be a short stay, it could be a long stay, I'm not going to predict exactly what it is, but I sent down a Major League pitcher tonight."
"I don't really think a six-man rotation is up for debate," Hinch said. "If we start six different guys in a row, it doesn't mean it's a six-man rotation. We'll have a rotation for every series and I'll announce it. Whether those are consistently six names in a row ... that's why I don't call it a six-man rotation."
Deduno's surgery set for Tuesday
Righty Samuel Deduno said he will have surgery on his right hip labrum Tuesday, effectively ending his season.
Deduno -- who has been on the disabled list since May 14 -- said he tried for two months to rehabilitate the injury, but experienced pain at every step, including simulated games. Cortisone shots were no help and he's had to resort to the final option -- surgery.
Deduno said he expects his recovery to last more than six weeks, ruling him out for any playoff activity should the Astros qualify.
"For almost two months, I've been seeing the guys do a great job hitting and pitching and that made me want to be pitching, too," Deduno said. "But I can't do it."