Hinch juggling pitchers to get everyone work

Manager getting creative to give bullen hopefuls game action

Hinch juggling pitchers to get everyone work

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- With 20 healthy pitchers in camp and two weeks remaining before the deadline to have the 25-man roster set, Astros manager A.J. Hinch has been getting creative to make sure everyone gets their work in.

Hinch is giving those pitchers who are still on the bubble to make the club the chance to work in Grapefruit League games, while those with spots sewn up are pitching on the back fields.

"It's a tough balance of the guys who are competing that aren't on the team that you want to see against other competition in the stadium versus guys that you're very comfortable with," Hinch said. "They all need the reps, but there are only so many we can give in the regular games."

Left-hander Tony Sipp and right-handers Chad Qualls and Pat Neshek each threw on the back fields on Sunday, while lefty relievers Darin Downs and Kevin Chapman, both of whom are battling for spots, were scheduled to throw in the big league game.

Sipp was pitching in a Minor League game for the second day in a row as Hinch tries to get his relievers into games on consecutive days for the first time this spring. Qualls will throw in back-to-back games Friday and Saturday, and Josh Fields on Tuesday and Wednesday.

"We're trying to fine-tune and make sure these guys have all the preparation they need," Hinch said.

Brian McTaggart is a 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.