Astros looking for fifth starter to step up

Early options have delivered inconsistent results

Astros looking for fifth starter to step up

HOUSTON -- With starting pitchers Brad Peacock (intercostal strain) and Brett Oberholtzer (blister) on the 15-day disabled list and rookie Asher Wojciechowski trying to iron things out at Triple-A Fresno, the Astros are still looking for some stability from the fifth spot in their rotation.

Right-hander Jake Buchanan was called up from Fresno prior to Thursday's game and will be available in long relief for a couple of days, though he could start Monday's game -- the next time that spot in the rotation comes up. Samuel Deduno is in the bullpen, but he struggled in two starts this season.

"There's a couple of guys that are under consideration for Monday," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "We've got a whole series to prepare for that. Nothing we've decided on yet, but we will over the weekend. On Saturday and Sunday, I'd like to have a good idea what we'll do Monday."

Buchanan, making his first appearance on the roster this season, is stretched out. He went 3-1 with a 5.08 ERA in six games (five starts) at Fresno, including a season-long 7 2/3 innings Sunday against Tacoma.

"I feel like I threw the ball pretty well down there, and hopefully I can keep that up," Buchanan said.

Wojciechowski, Deduno, Oberholtzer and Peacock have combined for seven starts and are 0-3 with a 6.60 ERA.

"It hasn't been a great spot for us," Hinch said. "We've actually won some games out of that spot. We had a little bit of bad luck with Obie's finger, Deduno's had a couple of different opportunities and Wojo's had a couple of opportunities. In a lot of years, it's not uncommon to have multiple guys in that spot.

"Our rotation, for the most part, has been pretty good. We'd like somebody to solidify that over the next month."

Lance McCullers, one of the club's top pitching prospects, is now in Triple-A and could factor in the rotation at some point soon.

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.