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  • The Astros recalled pitcher Vincent Velasquez while optioning pitcher Josh Fields to Double-A Corpus Christi on Thursday, the team announced. Fields (4-1) has a 2.20 ERA in 41 innings this season. Velasquez tossed 41 2/3 innings with the Astros earlier this season before being sent to minors to fine-tune his skills for a postseason run.

  • The Astros seem to be defining the future roles for young hurlers Vincent Velasquez and Lance McCullers . Both pitchers were recently sent to Double-A Corpus Christi after spending considerable time with the Astros this season. Velasquez will continue to pitch out of the bullpen as he has been doing since moving from the rotation at the end of July (his last start came on July 21 against the Red Sox). He threw 2 2/3 shutout innings of relief on Saturday before being sent down to Double-A. "We could always stretch him back out if we need to, but we've got a few starter options," manager A.J. Hinch said, per "He brings a lot of dynamic to the bullpen, too. It's not just about the innings. It's also about what we feel he can do for us in the final stretch of the season. Coming out of the 'pen, he could be a little dynamic velocity-wise than what we have." Meanwhile, McCullers was sent down earlier this week after a horrid start on Monday. The idea was for him to go down to the minors and rest, in an effort to preserve his innings for the stretch run. He is expected to return to the Astros' rotation at some point this season. "We're really focused in on conditioning and rest and recovery [at Corpus Christi]," Hinch said. "As it starts to trend towards the time we're going to considering bring him back, we'll obviously increase pitching activity and get him ready to start again for us."

  • Astros young pitcher Vincent Velasquez is headed back to Double-A Corpus Christi. Velasquez was optioned down to the minors after pitching 2 2/3 scoreless innings of relief in Saturday's 9-2 win over the Diamondbacks. Manager A.J. Hinch said Velasquez will remain in the bullpen at Double-A, as he will look to get more innings under his belt before returning to Houston. The move was made to clear a spot on the 25-man roster for the newly-acquired right-hander Mike Fiers.

  • The addition of veteran starter Scott Kazmir has relegated Astros right-hander Vincent Velasquez to the bullpen, per the Houston Chronicle. Velasquez earned his first major league win Tuesday and was scheduled to start again this weekend against Kansas City. His long-term role has yet to be evaluated, but A.J. Hinch is certainly not complaining about his performance to date. "He can help us win here in any role, whether it's in the rotation or out of the pen," Hinch said. "I'm very proud of how he's handled this year." Velasquez has been consistent over his last four outings with three quality starts. He is 1-1 with a 4.03 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 38 innings on the year.

  • The Astros will open their three-game series at Kansas City on Friday with pitcher Scott Feldman on the mound, reports the Houston Chronicle. Feldman will be followed by Dallas Keuchel on Saturday and Vincent Velasquez on Sunday. "We are going to mix and match over the next couple of weeks," manager A.J. Hinch said. "Right now, I think everyone is going to get an extra day with the off day. We can reset it and give some of our younger pitchers another day. Right now the Kansas City series is set."

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