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Astros Set Rotation, Altuve Will Bat Cleanup

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Houston Astros v Texas Rangers

Astros Manager Bo Porter set his pitching rotation Wednesday for the opening of the 2014 regular season.

Free agent signee Scott Feldman had previously been named as the club’s opening day starter for the April 1st game against New York. Jarred Cosart and Brett Oberholtzer will follow Feldman in games two and three versus the Yankees at Minute Maid Park.

Lucas Harrell and Dallas Keuchel earned the fourth and fifth spots in the rotation, forcing Jerome Williams and Brad Peacock into long relief roles. Harrell finished the 2013 campaign with a 6-17 record and 5.86 ERA. Keuchel went 6-10 with a 5.15 ERA.

Porter emphasized that the current rotation is always subject to change.

“You look at the number of starting pitchers that we went through last year, this is where we are at today,” he said. “That may change a week from now.”

The opening day lineup could very well feature Jose Altuve as the clean-up hitter. Porter likes the effect of putting a good base stealer in front of Chris Carter in the lineup to potentially help in the pitch sequence the power hitter could receive.

The Astros will play exhibition games against the Rangers at the Alamodome in San Antonio Friday night and Saturday afternoon while an Astros split squad will host a Mexican team, Rojos del Aguila de Veracruz, Saturday night at Minute Maid Park. The final exhibition tune up will feature another game with the Mexican club Sunday afternoon.

“I feel like they are ready to open the season and ready to get out of here (Florida) and get back to Houston and get the season started,” Porter added.

The Astros home opener is Tuesday night with a 6:10 p.m. start against the Yankees in what will mark the beginning of the farewell tour for New York shortstop Derek Jeter.

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