The Astros are transitioning Fernando Abad back to the starting rotation at Triple-A Oklahoma City. Abad has been used as a starter earlier in his Minor League career, and the left-hander flourished as a starter in the Dominican Winter League.
Abad performed so well in the Dominican prior to the 2011 season that he came to spring camp competing for a spot in the Astros' rotation. He wound up pitching in relief and struggled in that role, going 1-4 with a 7.32 ERA. He's split time between the Astros and Triple-A this year.
In his return to the rotation Wednesday, Abad allowed five hits and three earned runs in 3 2/3 innings.
"We're trying to look at what might be best," said Astros director of player development Fred Nelson. "He's pitched well in the Dominican Republic as a starter, and we've vacillated back and forth between what is best for him, and I think we're going to take a look and see what he can do in a starting role and see if he can filter in to be a guy that might end up starting for us."
Abad has taken the rotation spot once occupied by Jarred Cosart, whose recurring blister problems have forced him to rehab in Kissimmee, Fla. Nelson said Cosart could be in a position to get a few starts at the Gulf Coast League if his finger keeps doing well, and he could return to the RedHawks' rotation before season's end.