Righty White among 7 sent down by Astros
Rotation candidate optioned to Minors camp, while prospects Moran, Fontana reassigned
By Jamal Collier / MLB.com | 9:15 AM ET
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Astros manager A.J. Hinch would like to start using his regular lineup more frequently, and that was part of the reason the team made seven roster moves Friday, trimming it down to 44 players.
"The at-bats are going to dry up," Hinch said.
Right-hander Alex White, who entered camp as one of the candidates for the starting rotation, was optioned to Minor League camp, while the other six players -- infielders Matt Duffy, Nolan Fontana and Colin Moran; catcher Roberto Pena; outfielder Preston Tucker; and righty Jason Stoffel -- were reassigned.
White, 26, gave up seven runs on eight hits across three appearances (four innings). His major issue this spring was his lack of command, as he issued six walks and hit two batters.
The Astros made the decision that White was unlikely to bounce back from his uneven spring, and they wanted to get him to Minor League camp to begin preparing as a starter there.
"I think [White] knew it; he didn't have his best camp, but he showed some things," Hinch said. "He's got action on his pitches. … There's weapons to get Major League hitters out. He was just falling so far behind in the race that we decided to make a move today."
Fontana, 23, was a second-round Draft pick by Houston in 2012, and he went 1-for-9 with four strikeouts and two walks during the spring.
"[Fontana] doesn't come with as much attention as others in camp, but from a well-rounded baseball skill standpoint, he's made a good impression," Hinch said.
Moran, 22, was selected sixth overall in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft by the Marlins before being acquired by the Astros before the non-waiver Trade Deadline in July. During the spring, Houston's No. 6 prospect according to MLB.com batted 4-for-9 with a walk and pair of strikeouts.
"Baseball statistics are like a girl in a bikini. They show a lot, but not everything." ...~Toby Harrah, 1983