Injuries have Astros evaluating rotation depth

Feldman sidelined after knee surgery; Oberholtzer close to returning

Injuries have Astros evaluating rotation depth

HOUSTON -- The Astros figure to be in the market for starting pitching as the summer progresses and they await veteran right-hander Scott Feldman to return from knee surgery. They've already used nine different starting pitchers due to injuries to Feldman, Brad Peacock (lat strain) and Brett Oberholtzer (blister), who returns to the rotation Monday.

Rookie Asher Wojciechowski struggled in the rotation to start the year but could return at some point, and veteran Roberto Hernandez has been hit or miss. Rookie Lance McCullers Jr. has shown some reasons for promise in three starts. But if the Astros are going to contend, they could use some improved depth behind Dallas Keuchel and Collin McHugh.

"We're going to look at it," general manager Jeff Luhnow said, when asked about possible trades. "We're going to look at all available options, but McCullers has been pitching well. We've got other guys in Triple-A between Wojo and [Dan] Straily and potentially [Vincent] Velasquez and [Mark] Appel [at Double-A], and we've got other guys internally that may be options as well.

"We're going to evaluate our own guys and look at external options and make the best decisions we can to help us continue to have a good season and hopefully get to the postseason and continue to do well there."

Hinch admitted the Astros' starting pitching depth is being tested, but said he's comfortable with the options they have for now. Houston ranked eighth in the American League among starting pitchers with a 4.25 ERA entering Saturday's action.

"There are guys we can turn to if we feel like they're the best option, but the five we have here now can all get the job done on any given day, headlined by Keuchel," Hinch said. "That's a good start."

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