HOUSTON -- Even though the Astros are in the market to add a starting pitcher prior to the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, manager A.J. Hinch says he has confidence in the group of starting pitchers he currently has. The starting staff got a boost when Scott Feldman came off the disabled list Saturday, and Hinch has several options to fill a hole in the rotation next week against the Red Sox.
"Everybody wants to talk about the additions that we might have, the guys that might join your team that you trade for or whatever," he said. "The reality is we have 25 guys that feel a part of this, and so I want to try to be very careful not to yell from the top steps that we have to add anything. I think our guys, the way we're trying to stay confident in our group, we have some options."
Rookie Lance McCullers, whose innings are being limited in the second half, will likely start Thursday against the Red Sox at Minute Maid Park for the first time since July 12. Collin McHugh will start on regular rest Wednesday, but Tuesday's starter remains up in the air.
Among the options for Hinch: right-handers Vincent Velasquez and Dan Straily and left-hander Brett Oberholtzer, all of whom are in the Minor Leagues and have started and had some success with the Astros this year. Velasquez, like McCullers, is having his innings closely monitored. Hinch said he knows who will start Tuesday, but isn't ready to reveal it just yet.
Velasquez hasn't pitched since throwing 6 1/3 innings at Cleveland on July 7 and has been thrown live batting practice and working in the bullpen at Double-A Corpus Christi. Straily threw seven innings Friday for Triple-A Fresno, so it's unlikely he would pitch Tuesday.
At some point, the Astros might add a veteran, but for now, Hinch likes his internal options.
"The reality of this time of year, whether it's through injury or sheer team building, everyone can upgrade in some capacity and some place on your team," Hinch said. "I don't want our players to look outside this team to feel like the solution has to be outside."
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.