Circumstances made the decision for them.
The Astros put left-hander Wandy Rodriguez on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to May 23, on Friday. Needing somebody to start on May 31 against the Cubs and again on June 5 against the Padres, the Astros turned to Lyles.
He's 20, and he's been head-and-shoulders the best pitcher on the Class AAA Oklahoma City staff. After a couple rocky outings early, Lyles has settled in with a 3-3 record and 3.30 ERA in 10 starts.
"Since I was a little kid, I've always wanted to play in the major leagues," Lyles said. "Pitching in the major leagues at 20 is pretty special."
How long Lyles stays is an open-ended question. The Astros haven't deemed it time to make Lyles a fixture in the rotation and are expecting Rodriguez to rejoin the rotation for a June 7 game against the Cardinals. Astros general manager Ed Wade said that "in a perfect world," it will turn out to be a two-start taste of the majors for Lyles.
"I feel like I'm on a pretty good roll," said Lyles, who has allowed three runs in 20.2 innings over his past three starts. "I've been attacking the zone with the fastball, and my curveball has made some strides this year."
Lyles was the Astros' supplemental first-round pick (38th overall) in 2008. He competed in spring training for the final rotation spot that went to Nelson Figueroa, who since has landed in Oklahoma City.
"It wasn't about 'Is Jordan ready or not,?' " said Wade, whose team fell to Arizona 4-2 Sunday. "We won't know whether he's ready or not until he comes up here and gets a chance. Even if he comes up here and struggles in two starts, we still won't know whether he's ready or not."
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