"Likely," Hinch said of a seven-man bullpen. "There’s always a chance that (changes) depending on how the schedule plays out, and there’s always a debate on how many pitchers to carry during interleague. Now interleague is pretty much year round, so I mean, in a perfect world with our roster, it’s likely to carry a seven-man ‘pen. If we feel like we need an extra pitcher or injury happens, there’s different ways to shape our roster, then we will, but likely 12."
The two open spots will likely be filled by a left-handed pitcher and a long reliever. The competition for the second lefty in the pen likely comes down to
"We’re going to stretch out a lot of our guys," Hinch said. "Some of them are because they’re competing in that fifth starter spot, some of them are bullpen guys.
White underwent Tommy John surgery in March of 2013, and admitted it took a bit longer for him to get back on track. "It was up and down," White said. "At first relieving went really well, and then you know it just kind of, it’s one of those things where people say it’s going to be up and down coming back that quick (from surgery) and it really was."
This offseason, White was able to undergo his usual routine. "I feel like I’m back to just being a regular baseball player. Here to try to win a job. It’s exciting." White, who appeared in the majors in both 2011 and 2012, is just hoping to get back.
"I think we’re ready to do that," he said. "I think the arm’s ready to do that, and it’s been a while since I’ve been in the major leagues, but it’s time to get back."
The 26-year-old posted a 6.50 ERA over 63 2/3 innings in Triple-A last year.
White was activated from the DL and optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma, after recovering from Tommy John surgery. Though he is expected to be a starting pitcher long-term, he will work out of the bullpen in the minors, giving him a quicker road to the majors.
General manager Jeff Luhnow told the Houston Chronicle Thursday he wants White to pitch as a reliever as he works his way back from Tommy John surgery, though that is not necessarily his expected long-term role.
"We really feel like his best chance of making to the big leagues this year is in the bullpen, and we also would like to protect his arm," Luhnow said. "I talked to him about it and he was perfectly fine. He said, 'Whatever you think is the fastest way.'"
White was in the Astros' rotation at the start of last season, prior to the injury. He will begin his minor-league rehab assignment in the next few days, though the exact details are not yet known.
"It was a milestone for him," general manager Jeff Luhnow told MLB.com. "We saw the velocity back up in the neighborhood of where he was before he got hurt. He still has a little more to go, but that's encouraging. All the secondary stuff was sharp today."
White is more than a year removed from surgery, and while Luhnow is excited about his progress, he doesn't have a specific timetable for his possible return.
"To me, having had the surgery a little over 12 months ago, he should be starting to understand the timetable for him returning to games in the minor leagues, and after today we now can see the end of the tunnel," he said. "I'm not going to make any promises, but he'll continue to throw in games down there, and if that continues we'll send him down on a rehab assignment."
|CBSSports.com Player Ranking|
|10/3/2012 vs Arizona|
|Last 7 Games|
|Complete Game Log|
| 5 || 6 |
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|More Pitching Stats|
|Minor League Pitching Stats|
|2012||AAA-Colorado Springs Sky||3||4||3.71||11||11||0||0||0||60.2||54||28||25||3||2||23||45|
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