HOUSTON (CBS HOUSTON) – The newest member of the Astros pitching staff sets the tone for what this team wants to accomplish.
Manager A.J. Hinch talking before the Astros series finale with the Red Sox made it clear the move shows “our organization is all-in on trying to get the most out of this season.”
Scott Kazmir will get to impress right away. He starts tomorrow against the Royals in Kansas City.
General manager Jeff Luhnow said the track record of Kazmir made him an attractive fit for the Astros.
“He’s consistently performed against really good competition. He’s been in our divsion. We’ve faced him. We know how tough he is to go up against.”
With Kazmir entering the rotation Vince Velasquez will head to the bullpen and the Astros will keep a five-man rotation. Hinch noted it is nice to have someone with Velasquez’s arm talent in the bullpen but that the team long-term views him as a starter, not a reliever.
Hinch said with the way the season was going he hoped the team had sent enough of a message to the decision makers.
“You ask your front office to pay attention to what you’re doing on the field and how the season’s evolving.”
A hometown native is Kazmir, but Hinch noted it is nice to have the hometown boy playing with a star on his cap now.
“It’s someone we’ve seen from the other side be good against us and now he’s going to be part of our team.”
Luhnow said it was “rewarding” to no longer be a seller at the trade deadline.
“I think it’s important the players on the team, and the fans of the Astros, recognize that [Owner] Jim Crane is committed to winning, and we see an opportunity here to potentially win the division and go deep in the playoffs and we’re going to take it.”
Luhnow wasn’t ready to pack in the Astros activity. He said he wouldn’t say bullpen is a priority. He didn’t rule out another starting pitcher.
“We’re looking at all the available players out there. We’re continuing to have conversations with other teams and if we feel there’s an additional piece that fits, pitcher or hitter, we’re going to continue to pursue it.
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