03/26/2013 11:21 PM ET
Peacock strengthens case to be No. 4 starter
By Brian McTaggart / MLB.com
TAMPA, Fla. -- Brad Peacock or Alex White? That's the decision that awaits Astros manager Bo Porter.
One of the final things the Astros must decide before the start of the season is whether Peacock or White will occupy the club's fourth spot in the starting rotation, and Peacock strengthened his case Tuesday night by allowing one run and two hits in five innings against the Yankees.
"I went in there and wanted to throw strikes and keep the ball down and let the defense do the work, and they played great behind me today," said Peacock, who threw 71 pitches. "That's what I wanted to do."
The pitcher who doesn't make the rotation will pitch out of the bullpen.
Peacock, acquired in early February from Oakland in the Jed Lowrie trade, pitched 19 2/3 innings this spring and allowed 16 hits and seven earned runs. White, acquired in December from the Rockies, allowed 33 hits and 15 earned runs in 19 2/3 innings.
"The good news is we have until Saturday to make a decision, because that fourth starter doesn't go until [April 5 against Oakland]," Porter said. "It's something that we'll sit down and talk about and make a decision."
The rest of the rotation is set with Bud Norris, Lucas Harrell, Philip Humber and Erik Bedard, who's been appointed the fifth starter.
Peacock had good fastball command at George M. Steinbrenner Field and wished for better secondary stuff, though Porter was happy he threw a pair of sliders to left-handers. For Peacock, who had a rough 2012 at Triple-A Sacramento, it's about confidence.
"In the dugout, I visualize what's going to happen, what hitters are coming up," he said. "I just want to throw that pitch, what I see in my head. That's what I do."
Peacock and White have developed a close relationship over the past few weeks and are cut from the same cloth -- soft-spoken Southerners who just want to help the Astros win.
"I don't care where I'm at," Peacock said. "I'm real excited I made the team, and hopefully I can take advantage of the opportunity."
Porter considering options for Opening Day lineup
TAMPA, Fla. -- When asked Tuesday if he's settled on an Opening Day lineup, Astros manager Bo Porter said he's still considering different options. In recent days, Porter has been keeping left-handed hitters in the lineup against left-handed pitchers to gauge their ability to hit southpaws.
The Astros will face Rangers left-hander Matt Harrison on Sunday.
Brett Wallace, the likely starter at first base and a left-handed hitter, was in the lineup Tuesday against the Yankees' CC Sabathia. Porter started catcher Jason Castro, a left-handed hitter, against Cardinals lefty Jaime Garcia on Friday.
"We have guys we have confidence in regardless of who's on the mound," Porter said. "But at the same time, we'll look at different matchups and we'll see what's the best thing to do given those matchups."
Wallace often sat against lefties last year and wound up hitting .273 (15-for-55) against southpaws, improving his career average to .241. Castro figures to get plenty of at-bats against lefties considering he's the everyday catcher, and he's a career .148 (8-for-54) hitter against them.
"I know what some of the numbers were before I came in here, but also there were some things I wanted to see for myself and be able to make the evaluation," Porter said. "You look from year to year and guys can get better. You can be looking at numbers that tell you something, but at the end of the day, you start to watch this guy over a four-week period and you go, 'OK, I know what the numbers say, but I know what my eyes are telling me, too.'"
Shortstop Greene released by Astros
TAMPA, Fla. -- The Astros released shortstop Tyler Greene on Tuesday, three days after he was told he wasn't going to make the club. If he clears waivers on Thursday, he will become an unrestricted free agent.
Greene, 29, was acquired by the Astros in a trade with St. Louis last year and batted .246 with seven homers and 11 RBIs in 39 games. He came to camp battling for the starting shortstop position with Marwin Gonzalez, but struggled at the plate. The Astros signed Ronny Cedeno on Sunday to take Greene's place.
Greene is a career .224 hitter in 266 games at the big league level, and he spent most of that time with the Cardinals' organization. Greene was selected 30th overall in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, and he batted .167 in 18 Spring Training games with the Astros this year.
Cedeno, 30, has batted .247 in 779 games at the Major League level, and he's played for the Cubs, Mariners, Pirates and Mets. He was in camp with the Cardinals, but was let go earlier this week.
• Right-hander Bud Norris, who will start for the Astros on Opening Day, and left-hander Erik Bedard each threw in a Minor League game in Kissimmee, Fla., against the Tigers. Norris threw 38 pitches in two innings in his final tuneup prior to Sunday, and Bedard threw 45 pitches in three innings.
• Outfielder Chris Carter was forced to give up a jersey number for the second time in three days. He reported to camp wearing 13, but Ronny Cedeno wanted it when he signed on Sunday. He switched to 28, but Rick Ankiel told Carter he wants that number. Carter wanted 33, which is retired (Mike Scott), but he's planning on wearing 23 on Opening Day.