Final two outfield spots down to three players

Final two outfield spots down to three players

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- The Astros' outfield situation was cleared up significantly with Sunday's roster move that sent J.D. Martinez to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

With the club heading toward a starting lineup of Chris Carter in left, Justin Maxwell in center and Rick Ankiel in right, the final two roster spots in the outfield are going to come down to Fernando Martinez, Brandon Barnes and Trevor Crowe, a non-roster player.

"I don't think we have too many more decisions to make," manager Bo Porter said. "The last decision or so will come down to the next couple of days here, and we'll be almost set and ready to go."

Martinez is a left-handed bat with tremendous power, but he doesn't run very well. Barnes, who hits right-handed, can play all three outfield spots and is a plus defender who can run. Crowe's a versatile switch-hitter who has some speed.

"All those guys have done a tremendous job this spring and they've made this decision a tough one as you come down the stretch," Porter said.

The manager wants offense early and defense late, which what makes Barnes so valuable. Regardless of who makes the roster, expect there to plenty of mixing and matching in the outfield.

"We'll continue to give everybody some playing time and see what happens," general manager Jeff Luhnow said. "I can't imagine we'd run the same three guys out there every day to start the season. We'll give everybody an opportunity to play."

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