Holdzkom, whom the Astros obtained in the Rule 5 Draft at the Winter Meetings in December, now has some decisions to make. Because previously in his career he has been on a 40-man roster and was outrighted, he has the right to accept an assignment to the Minor Leagues or reject the assignment and become a free agent.
This means that if the Cubs decide they want Holdzkom back in their organization, the right-hander can say yes or no. If he says yes, he'll go back into the Cubs' Minor League system and the Cubs will pay the Astros $25,000 for him, half of what the Astros paid when they drafted him in December.
If Holdzkom says no, he's a free agent. The only way the Astros can retain him is if the Cubs say no to the Astros' offer to give him back.
If the Astros do retain Holdzkom, he'll have to accept the Minor League assignment. He has been taken off the 40-man, leaving the Astros roster at 39 players.
Sifting through the confusing side of the baseball rules, what it boils down to is this: the Astros don't have enough innings to give him a real shot to make the club, and Holdzkom wasn't going to break camp with the team at the end of Spring Training.
After 10 spring games, Holdzkom pitched only two innings. He allowed five runs over two outings.
"We just didn't feel at this stage, with the number of pitchers we have in camp, that he was going to have a legitimate chance to make our club," Purpura said.
Holdzkom has to wait one full day before making a decision. He has 72 hours to inform the Astros of his intentions.
If the Astros were to retain him, they've mapped out several areas where they would like to see Holdzkom improve.
"We told him that we like his arm," Purpura said. "We told him that we'd like him to work on some of the small pieces of the game -- fielding, covering bases, all the pieces of the game that help you win.
"Those were areas we felt he was deficient on. Everybody comes with a different set of skills to your club. We felt for him to really help us, those were things he was going to really have to work hard on."
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.