Hoyt, Gustave vying for final roster spot

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Hinch said veteran swingman Brad Peacock, who is out of options, is likely to make the team as a long reliever — a spot Fiers probably would have held if McHugh had been healthy.

“I met with both [Hoyt and Gustave] this morning to offer them some encouragement,” Hinch said. “It’s miserable being this guy. Hoyt’s been this guy for the last couple of years; [for] Gustave [it] is the first time being this close to the team, [and] Diaz, as well. I don’t want them to put so much pressure on themselves in the last outing or two they’re going to have.

“It’s a longer-view determination. We’re paying close attention to guys getting left-handed hitters out as an additional type of left-handed pitcher — even though they’re right-handed. In their short sample size in the big leagues, Hoyt has some swing-and-miss in him, Gustave has controlled damage. Even when you look at that over the last year, it’s a really, really close race. They’re both going to pitch for us in the big leagues.”

Jandel Gustave has a 2.08 ERA this spring. (Getty)

The seven relievers who have made the club are Ken Giles, Luke Gregerson, Will Harris, lefty Tony Sipp, Michael Feliz, Chris Devenski and likely Peacock.

“Peacock’s in a really good position to make our team, and I see him making our team,” Hinch said. “He’s got length, he can protect our rotation. He’s shown some versatility. As much as it’s four guys for two spots, it’s mostly three guys for one spot if I had to handicap [the situation] today. I’m comfortable with [getting] multiple innings out of Peacock in the bullpen. With Collin most likely starting the season on the DL, we want to protect all [of] our starters.”

Devenski can throw multiple innings, and did so often in 2016. But having Peacock in a long-relief role allows Hinch to use Devenski in more high-leverage situations. Hinch said the decision on Hoyt or Gustave will not be made until after each pitches in next weekend’s exhibition games at Minute Maid Park against the Cubs.

“A lot can happen between now and Friday,” Hinch said. “I hope nothing happens. The roster can change a touch. I leave myself an out on a couple of different fronts, just because I’ve seen chaos at the end of camp before. I don’t want to see that now. I don’t think we’re going to have any problems or any unexpected changes. There’s no closer way to dangle the carrot than move them into a locker [at Minute Maid Park] that may not be theirs. That’s the brutal side of the business.”

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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