Hinch effusive in praise for Deduno

Hinch effusive in praise for Deduno

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- The Astros continue to lavish praise on veteran right-hander Samuel Deduno, who is competing for the fifth spot in the rotation or a spot in the bullpen as a long reliever.

Deduno has only five Grapefruit League innings under his belt, allowing four hits and one run while striking out five with no walks. He's scheduled to pitch on Monday against the Nationals in Viera, Fla., following starter Mark Appel.

"Sammy's a good pitcher in a variety of roles," manager A.J. Hinch said. "I think there's an argument he would be very good in our starting rotation as a swing man. He provides a ton of value to a pitching staff, so we'll see how his spring continues to map out.

"You might see him [make a start] one of these next few outings just to watch him prepare and give him a full pregame. When he's throwing strikes, he's hard to hit, he's hard to catch. And he's very effective with his arsenal."

Deduno, 31, was claimed off waivers last August and appeared in five games, making one start. The Astros are still trying to decide if they'll be able to carry a long reliever, which would help his chances of making the club if he doesn't stick in the rotation.

Another thing that could help him is that he's out of options.

"He still has to pitch well to be here, and I think it's certainly noteworthy to the extent that that's part of his story," Hinch said.

Deduno has appeared in 74 big league games, including 42 starts, over parts of the last five seasons with the Rockies (2010), Padres (2011), Twins (2012-14) and Astros.

Brian McTaggart is reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.