Pruitt will join a group of pitchers that compete for the fifth spot in Houston's rotation, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports. The Astros acquired Pruitt from the Rays last week, returning the Houston-area native and former University of Houston standout to the area where he grew up. "We're not sure of the exact role, but I think he can start and I think that puts him in a final group of pitchers competing for our final spot or two," Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said. The right-hander will compete with Josh James, Brad Peacock and Framber Valdez along with prospects Forrest Whitaker and Cristian Javier. Pruitt does not have minor-league options, so his inclusion on the Opening Day roster appears definite.
Pruitt was traded from the Rays to the Astros in exchange for Peyton Battenfield and Cal Stevenson on Thursday, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports. Pruitt put together the best big-league season of his career in 2019 with the Rays, posting a 4.40 ERA and 1.26 WHIP with a 39:12 K:BB over 47 frames. He'll join a Houston bullpen that already has a handful of impressive arms, likely putting him in line for mid-to-low-leverage work in 2020.
Pruitt (3-0) was credited with the victory in a win over the Red Sox on Monday despite allowing two earned runs on three hits and two walks over one inning. He struck out one. Pruitt was far from sharp, painting himself into a corner after retiring the first two batters in the fourth inning. The right-hander ultimately allowed five consecutive hitters to reach safely and surrendered RBI singles to Rafael Devers and J.D. Martinez, but he became the pitcher of record when the Rays popped off for six runs in the home half of the frame and then hung on the rest of the way. Pruitt has allowed a total of 10 earned runs across his last six appearances overall, though six of those came in one game back on Aug. 24.
Pruitt will work behind an opener Wednesday against the Rangers, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. The 30-year-old worked as a traditional starter in has last two outings and gave up only one run over 10.1 innings, but he'll follow opener Andrew Kittredge on Wednesday. Pruitt had a 4.43 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 37:10 K:BB through 42.2 innings this season.
Pruitt did not factor into the decision during Thursday's win, holding Toronto to one run on four hits and a walk while striking out four across five innings. Making his second start of the season, Pruitt was able to limit the Blue Jays to a single run, which came in the form of a leadoff home run by Bo Bichette. The right-hander was solid in his last start as well, firing 5.1 shutout innings with six strikeouts. Pruitt had previously served as a bulk reliever for the Rays this season. He'll carry a 4.43 ERA and 1.24 WHIP into his next outing, which projects to come Wednesday at Texas.