HOUSTON -- The Astros had planned to carry two left-handers in the bullpen to start the season but wound up designating Raul Valdes for assignment when they had an opportunity to grab outfielder Alex Presley off waivers last week.
Kevin Chapman, the team's lone lefty reliever, was used in the first two games of the season, and manager Bo Porter said Chapman was unavailable for Thursday's game. Chapman got a key out to strand a pair of runners in the seventh inning on Opening Day, and he pitched two-thirds of an inning on Wednesday.
"The fact we only had one lefty down there, we could not use him three consecutive days," Porter said. "He will be down today, but we felt like he gave us everything we needed in this series. The pockets in which we've been able to bring him in, we discussed prior to coming into the series."
With Chapman not an option, Porter said that it would be up to veteran right-hander Chad Qualls and perhaps Matt Albers to get lefties out. The Yankees had lefties Brett Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki in their lineup on Thursday, along with three switch-hitters.
"[We] have those guys down there, Qualls and Albers, who can sink the ball, four-seam it, cut it. They all have the ability and the arsenal that we're comfortable having them face guys, lefty or righty," Porter said.
Brian McTaggart is reporter for MLB.com 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.