Hoyt was recalled from Triple-A Fresno on Thursday.
Jandel Gustave was placed on the DL with right forearm tightness, so the Astros dipped into their impressive bullpen depth, and summoned Hoyt. It is a rare luxury to be able to call-up a reliever with a career 30.8 percent strikeout rate in the majors, but that is what Hoyt brings to the table. He posted an 8:2 K:BB in five scoreless innings at Triple-A prior to the promotion, and should work in low-leverage settings.
Hoyt was optioned to Triple-A Fresno on Thursday, Mark Berman of Fox 26 in Houston reports.
Jandel Gustave ultimately won the final spot in the Astros bullpen Thursday with Hoyt being optioned back to the minors. Hoyt held his own in his battle with Gustave for the spot, however, as he notched a 2.89 ERA over 9.1 innings this spring. Given his past experience in the majors, Hoyt should be one of the Astros' top options should they need to make a bullpen change during the season.
The Astros' decision to keep starter Brad Peacock as a long-relief option leaves one final spot in the bullpen. Hoyt pitched an inning Sunday, allowing a hit and striking out one batter. He showed some success against left-handers in 2016 and has some value for a team that counts Tony Sipp as its lone lefty out of the pen.
Hoyt is focusing on a split-finger fastball this spring, a pitch he got away from in 2016, Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle reports.
Hoyt had a couple of stints with Houston last season, throwing mostly a fastball-slider mix, but major-league hitters tagged him for five home runs in 22 innings. Hence, the reintroduction of the split-finger as a third weapon. The left-hander's pitched two perfect innings during spring training thus far. Tony Sipp is projected to be the only left-hander in the bullpen, but his struggles -- last season and during this year's spring training -- opens the door for Hoyt to break camp with the Astros.
Hoyt (back) returned to action and pitched one inning Thursday against the Cardinals.
Hoyt had recently been dealing with soreness in his lat and arm and had pitched in just one spring game heading into Thursday. His appearance was brief but efficient, as he retired all three batters he faced. Although Houston will likely want to increase Hoyt's usage in the coming weeks to make sure he's in full health, he shouldn't be facing any limitations at the start of the 2017 season.
|4/23/2017 vs Tampa Bay|
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