Moran, Kemp to start today

Moran, Kemp to start today

CHICAGO -- Tony Kemp and Colin Moran, who until a day or so ago were teammates at Triple-A Fresno, sat next to each other in the dugout at U.S. Cellular Field for a few minutes prior to batting practice on Tuesday and soaked in their first taste of the big leagues.

A day after the Astros called up outfielder Kemp from Fresno, Moran, a third baseman, joined him when outfielder Carlos Gomez was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a bruised left rib cage. They weren't in the lineup on Tuesday, but manager A.J. Hinch said they will start Wednesday's game.

"I said last week it's starting to become time to look at internal options we have in the Minor Leagues," Hinch said. "Those two guys are both playing well in Triple-A. They're both different; they're both going to play different roles here. We're looking to jump-start an offense for a little bit more consistency."

Moran, the No. 6 overall pick in the 2013 Draft by the Marlins, was traded to the Astros a year later in the Jarred Cosart deal. He was hitting .288 with a .331 on-base percentage with three homers and 22 RBIs at Fresno.

Moran will play third base against right-handers, with Luis Valbuena manning first. Against left-handers, Tyler White will play first and Valbuena will play third. Marwin Gonzalez will continue play everywhere, which is his value. Moran will also see time as the designated hitter.

"He has definitely been successful in college and the Minor Leagues this year in Triple-A, and we expect that success to continue," general manager Jeff Luhnow said.

On Monday the Astros announced that they were calling up Kemp to replace outfielder Preston Tucker, who was optioned to Triple-A on Sunday. Kemp, the club's No. 14 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com, was hitting .298/.410/.405 in 34 games at Fresno. He also had four stolen bases, four triples and 21 walks while striking out 22 times.

"I just keep it simple," Kemp said. "I come to the ballpark every day with a positive mind-set and make sure that whatever you're doing, you're trying to help the team win, whether it be a quality at-bat, a bunt, moving a guy over to third with less than two outs -- whatever you can do to help your team win."

Kemp will essentially serve in the same role previously held by Tucker, which means he'll play a couple of times a week and can also pinch-run. He initially won't play as regularly as Moran.

"One of the things I've noticed about our team that we've struggled with is having our bench push our everyday players," Hinch said. "I'm hopeful the additions of Tony Kemp and Moran will push Valbuena and White and [Evan Gattis] and Marwin -- guys that have gotten to play quite a bit. Having more options is good."

To make room on the roster for Moran, Minor League pitcher Asher Wojciechowski was designated for assignment. Wojciechowski has pitched at Fresno all season, going 2-2 with a 5.33 ERA in five starts. He appeared in five games for the Astros last season, making three starts.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.