KANSAS CITY -- The Astros are carrying only seven relievers after left-hander Reymin Guduan was placed on the paternity list prior to Friday's game against the Royals and infielder Tyler White was recalled from Triple-A Fresno.
Astros manager AJ Hinch prefers to carry eight relief pitchers, but with the bullpen well-rested and White swinging a hot bat in Fresno, Hinch decided to replace a pitcher with a position player. This will be White's first taste of the big leagues this season.
"Our pitching is pretty well rested," Hinch said. "We feel good about where we're at, knock on wood. We'll see if that continues for the weekend. And Tyler White has swung the bat very well and [the Royals] have a couple of matchup lefties in their 'pen. I can see him coming off the bench and getting an important at-bat or two, and we wanted to take a look at the roster with one less pitcher while [reliever] Joe Smith mends."
Guduan, whose appearance on Wednesday in Oakland was his only big league outing of the season, left the team following Thursday's series finale against the A's to travel to Orlando, Fla., for the birth of his first child. He can miss as many as three games while on the paternity list.
White hit .338 with a .444 on-base percentage, 13 homers and 45 RBIs in 62 games this year at Fresno, where he played mostly second base and third base as well as first base, shortstop and left field. He will likely be limited to first base and pinch-hitting with Houston.
White said feels he's taken a couple of steps forward at the plate in Triple-A.
"It's more of a mental approach type of thing," he said. "You try to work on seeing certain pitches a little bit better, being able to handle offspeed a little bit better than in the past and that's helped as far as walking more and not striking out quit as much. I think that's been huge this year. That's why my average has been higher down there is I took more walks and fouled off some pitches I probably swing and miss in the past."
White appeared in 22 games for the Astros last year, hitting .279 with three homers and 10 RBIs. He was on the team's postseason roster for the American League Division Series against the Red Sox, but he didn't appear in a game.
Smith nearing throwing program
Smith was placed on the disabled list a week ago with right elbow soreness and he was later diagnosed with inflammation following a visit with team doctors. Smith rejoined the club in Kansas City and is waiting for the inflammation to disappear before he begins a throwing program, which could happen in the next few days.
"Until he starts throwing and we get some feedback on how he feels, we won't have a definite timetable," Hinch said. "The good news is he feels better."
The veteran side-armer has a 5.49 ERA in 23 outings with the Astros with 20 strikeouts and seven walks in 19 2/3 innings. In his final 12 outings before going on the DL, Smith had allowed two earned runs and struck out 10 batters in 10 1/3 innings (1.74 ERA).
"It's just kind of one of those things with how it feels is going be with how fast we can push it," Smith said. "I think we're both in agreement we would rather get it out and not push it too much, and with as well as the team is playing right now, it seems to make more sense to make sure everything is out and come back and be back for the rest of the year as opposed to rushing and having something lingering."
Odds and ends
The Astros aren't quite done handing out World Series championship rings. Prior to the June 25 game against the Blue Jays at Minute Maid Park, the team will present rings to Harris County Judge Ed Emmett and Blue Jays outfielder Teoscar Hernandez, who played in one game for the Astros last year without an at-bat. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner will get a ring during a pregame ceremony on June 27.