Deduno, Buchanan candidates to fill fifth rotation spot

Astros wait on projected starter Oberholtzer to complete Minor League rehab

Deduno, Buchanan candidates to fill fifth rotation spot

SAN DIEGO -- As the Astros await the completion of left-hander Brett Oberholtzer's Minor League rehab assignment, they will improvise for the fifth spot in their starting rotation, which comes up Friday against the Mariners in Houston.

Astros manager A.J. Hinch said Wednesday that long reliever Samuel Deduno would likely start Friday's game if he isn't used beforehand. If Deduno isn't available, right-hander Jake Buchanan would be summoned from Triple-A Fresno to make the start.

"Right now, we're going every five days and figuring it out," Hinch said.

Rookie Asher Wojciechowski began the year in the rotation, but he was sent down after going 0-1 with a 7.31 ERA in four games (three starts). Oberholtzer was nearly a lock to make the rotation at the beginning of spring camp, but a minor lat injury and then a blister put him on the disabled list to start the season.

Oberholtzer is scheduled to make his first rehab start at Fresno on Thursday, and he could throw about 60 pitches. Hinch said earlier this week he wanted Oberholtzer to be built up to be able to throw 90 pitches before activating him.

"He'll certainly get a look at some point when he's healthy and built up," Hinch said. "Wojo is not out of the mix. He's got to go down for 10 days, but you could see him back here. Deduno, Buchanan, whoever starts the game this weekend could be a candidate long-term. It might be something we churn through until somebody gets hot and takes it."

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.