Tropeano to make MLB debut as sixth starter

Triple-A All-Star will get chance with Astros expanding rotation

Tropeano to make MLB debut as sixth starter

OAKLAND -- Right-hander Nick Tropeano, who was called up to the big leagues on Tuesday, will be plugged into the pitching rotation beginning Wednesday in Seattle and will make three starts as the Astros will go with a six-man rotation in the final 2 1/2 weeks of the regular season.

Tropeano, 24, is making his debut on a Major League roster after going 9-5 with a 3.03 ERA in 23 games (20 starts) at Triple-A Oklahoma City this season. An All-Star in the Pacific Coast League, he had 120 strikeouts in 124 2/3 innings and a .202 opponents batting average.

"It's a great experience," general manager Jeff Luhnow said. "He pitched a full year, so he doesn't need a lot of innings. We need to be careful not to overuse him. We do want to see how he performs against big league hitting. It's an exciting opportunity for him, and it gives our guys a little bit of a breather."

Astros interim manager Tom Lawless served as interim manager at Oklahoma City during the first month of the season and saw firsthand what Tropeano can do.

"He takes the ball and he competes," Lawless said. "He battles, he doesn't give in, he throws strikes. He just got better as the year went on. He got more confidence in himself and put himself on the map. Good for him. He's a great kid and you just hope that he gets his feet wet up here and see how it is up here. Hitters are hitters, pitchers are pitchers. You do the same thing now no matter where you're at."

Tropeano should come to Major League camp next spring competing for a spot in the rotation.

Brian McTaggart is a 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.