Deduno's chances of making roster increasing

Right-hander remains a candidate for fifth starter after latest moves

Deduno's chances of making roster increasing

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- As the Astros continue to whittle down their roster in advance of the season opener against the Indians in two weeks, veteran right-hander Samuel Deduno's chances of making the club appear to be on the rise.

Deduno, who is out of options, is one of three remaining candidates for the No. 5 spot in the starting pitching rotation, joining Asher Wojciechowski and veteran Roberto Hernandez, but he's the only one of those three who can pitch in the bullpen.

"We view those other guys in more of a rotation conversation," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said.

Deduno fans Moore

Deduno has made only one start this spring, but he will pitch behind Wojciechowski in Wednesday's game against the Phillies in Clearwater, Fla. The Astros claimed him off waivers last August and he appeared in five games.

"He's thrown strikes this camp," Hinch said. "There's an effectiveness to his pitches that's appealing to us. Our view is that he's tough to hit, he's tough to catch, his ball moves all over the place. He's got a power breaking ball. They're weapons that could help us out of the bullpen, but certainly strikes are part of the evaluation."

The Astros have five spots in the bullpen set with right-handers Chad Qualls, Luke Gregerson, Pat Neshek and Josh Fields and left-hander Tony Sipp. If the Astros carry another lefty -- Joe Thatcher, Darin Downs or Kevin Chapman -- that leaves one spot that could go to Deduno.

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 Deduno's chances of making the club if he doesn't stick in the rotation.

Deduno, a Puerto Rico native, has played in 74 career 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 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.