Jordan Lyles was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City, where he will pitch out of the bullpen to keep the 20-year-old rookie's innings under control. The roster spot was cleared before Sunday's 6-4 loss to the Giants in anticipation of Jordan Schafer coming off the disabled list for Monday's game.
Lyles will pitch in a limited role at Oklahoma City, and when rosters expand on Sept. 1, he will likely join the Astros' major league bullpen for a similarly limited role.
"No one wants to go down even if it's for however long, but I feel like it's best for the organization, so I'm going to go with it," Lyles said.
Lyles' next start was scheduled for Thursday in San Francisco, and general manager Ed Wade said the player to take that spot will be determined. Until then, the Astros will play with 14 position players, one more than the usual.
Lyles is up to 148 2/3 innings between Oklahoma City and Houston. The Astros want to shut him off at 165-170 after he threw 158 1/3 last year, though Lyles feels no adverse effects on his arm right now.
"I believe the outing before last I was throwing my hardest of the year," Lyles said.
"Everything feels good, nothing's out of whack."
He finished the first stint of what the Astros hope will be a long career in the major leagues 2-7 with a 5.02 ERA but allowed just two runs, both unearned, Saturday.
Lyles reflected on his first 15 starts as a big-leaguer, in which he went 2-7 with a 5.02 ERA before getting sent to the Triple-A bullpen to control his innings load.
"I definitely could have pitched better; I'm always going to say that," Lyles said. "I felt like I've made good strides, and for the most part I kept the games manageable and close enough for our team to win or be close to it."
Wade assured Lyles and the fan base that he still sees Lyles as a starter, not an arm out of the bullpen, where he hadn't pitched regularly since he was a freshman in high school.
"He's certainly handled this very well for a guy at his age to be faced with the challenges that we've put in front of him," Wade said.
Other News and Notes
--OF Jordan Schafer finished his rehab assignment with Triple-A Oklahoma City 10-for-20 and will be activated from the disabled list before Monday's game at Colorado. Schafer does not expect to be 100 percent the rest of the season after suffering a broken finger when he was still with the Braves, but the team was pleased with the rehab and his ability to shake off some soreness from a swing that was jarring on the finger Friday.
--LHP Wesley Wright returned to the majors over the weekend with an aim to continue his minor league approach that led to no walks in his final 63 batters faced in Triple-A. "I've just been trying to be aggressive, trying to attack the hitters and keep them on their heels instead of putting myself in situations where I've had to be the defensive one," Wright said. He pitched a scoreless inning around, yes, one walk in his first appearance back Sunday.
--RHP Enerio Del Rosario, on the disabled list with inflammation in his shoulder, will start throwing in Gulf Coast League games in the next few days. He has been discussed as a candidate to return in September when rosters expand. "He's a possibility, especially if he continues to be healthy," manager Brad Mills said.
--2B Jose Altuve got a rush out of his first major league home run, an inside-the-parker on Saturday in which he ran through a stop sign that he said he didn't see. Manager Brad Mills didn't have an adverse reaction to the aggressive play when asked about it Sunday. "There was one other time that I thought it needed to be addressed and it did," Mills said. "I think if we talk about (Saturday) night, it was a little bit more like piling on."