HOUSTON (CBS Houston) – Instead of starting 35 games in 2012, the Astros are hoping Brett Myers can save 35 games. In an unexpected move this morning, Astros skipper Brad Mills named Myers his closer for the upcoming season.

Myers last closed with Philadelphia in 2007, notching 21 saves in helping the Phillies to the playoffs. He returned to the rotation the following season and has gone 21-22 in two seasons since joining the Astros.

Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow approached Brad Mills with the idea earlier this spring. Mills spent some time thinking about it before deciding to move last year’s Opening Day starter to the back of his bullpen.

The Astros closer job has been open ever since the team traded Mark Melancon, last year’s closer, to the Red Sox in the offseason. Jed Lowrie, who was acquired in return for Melancon, will be the Astros starting shortstop heading into this season.

Livan Hernandez seems most likely to benefit from Myers move to the bullpen. Hernandez, who was signed to a minor league contract in January, will help eat up innings in the rotation while the Astros younger pitching prospects develop in the minor leagues.

As for the rest of the rotation, Wandy Rodriguez and Bud Norris are assured starting jobs. J.A. Happ and Jordan Lyles are the odds-on favorites to win the final two spots. The club will look at other candidates including Henry Sosa, Kyle Weiland, Zach Duke and Lucas Harrell over the next month.

The Astros open their Grapefruit League schedule Saturday in Kissimmee against the Washington Nationals. Hernandez will start the spring opener.

Comments (2)
  1. Akansha says:

    Interesting thoughts here.Bull Pen tphciers all have a bit of a weird streak in them, so I completely agree that they probably like routine and knowing when they may be pitching on any given night.Myers was supposed to be a sixth and seventh inning guy upon his return, but Charlie has already used him in the eighth, displacing Madson. If he was to move Myers into the closing role, he would then have to decide whether he wants Madson to be his set-up man, or Lidge. Once he makes that decision, he will have to decide if he wants a true set-up man, or continue to stick with his set-up man by committee where he uses a combination of Madson/Eyre, Madson/Taschner, etc. to get the job done.Another key element here will be when and if Clay Condrey and J.C. Romero come off the disabled list. If they come off in time for the play-offs, then one or two guys currently in the pen may need to be dropped to fill out the twenty-five man play-off roster. As of now, I see that roster looking like this, in no particular order:1.Ruiz2.Bako3.Howard4.Utley5.Feliz6.Rollins7.Cairo8.Bruntlet9.Ibanez10.Francisco11.Victorino12.Werth13.Stairs14.Lidge15.Madson16.Myers17.Walker18.Moyer19.Park20.Hammels21.Lee22.Happ23.Blanton24.Martinez25.EyreDepending on who the Phils draw, I could see one out of Park/Moyer and one out of Cairo/Bruntlett being left off the roster in favor of another late inning arm, I.E. Condrey or Romero.Ultimately, it’s Myers time to shine.Sorry for the length!-Greg

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