HOUSTON -- For the second time in less than a week, the Astros made a change in their starting rotation when manager Bo Porter announced Sunday left-hander Erik Bedard would be working out of the bullpen for an indefinite period.
Bedard is 0-2 with an 8.20 ERA in six games for the Astros this year, and has a 9.98 ERA in five starts. He threw 3 1/3 innings of scoreless relief in an Opening Night win over the Rangers before making five starts, four of which the Astros lost.
"I talked to Erik about it, and he took it well," Porter said. "He understood the decision, and like I said to him, he's not a guy that I'll get up and sit back down. When he gets up, I'm going to get him up and get him in the game. I understand where he's at in his career, but I do believe that he can really help us in a multitude of roles.
"His strikeouts are up and he's a guy you can bring in if you find a pocket with some lefties that it may be the back end of a game situation, or it may be a long situation where we have a lead going into the sixth inning, kind of like we did Opening Day, and can set up the closer."
The Astros will take advantage of Monday's off-day to keep Jordan Lyles (Tuesday), Bud Norris (Wednesday) and Lucas Harrell (Thursday) on four days of rest, and Porter said he'll announce a starter for Friday's game against the Rangers later in the week.
Left-hander Dallas Keuchel or right-handers Paul Clemens or Jose Cisnero -- all of whom are in long relief roles in the bullpen -- could make the start, but Porter didn't rule out making a move. Top pitching prospect Jarred Cosart is scheduled to start Monday for Triple-A Oklahoma City, but the Astros don't seem in a rush to promote him. Left-hander Brett Oberholtzer is scheduled to throw Friday for the RedHawks.
Altuve piggybacks day off with off-day
HOUSTON -- There was something drastically different about the Astros' starting lineup on Sunday, something we hadn't seen at any point this season: Second baseman Jose Altuve wasn't in it.
Astros manager Bo Porter kept the All-Star out of the lineup for the first time this season after he had started the team's first 31 games, 30 at second base and one at designated hitter. Marwin Gonzalez started at second base against Detroit.
"I talked to Altuve before the game ended [Saturday] night and told him he was going to take the day off," Porter said. "He's played every day, played an All-Star second base. We've had a lot of long innings and he's been on his feet a lot. I saw this as an opportunity where an off-day today, off-day tomorrow would give him a chance to get his legs underneath him."
Altuve entered Sunday ranked tied for second in the Majors in hits (43) and tied for eighth in multihit games. His 130 at-bats were third only to Baltimore's Manny Machado (132) and Boston's Jacob Ellsbury (131).
"It's the manager's decision," Altuve said. "He told me yesterday, 'I'm going to give you a day off to take two days in a row and come back strong.' I'm going to be ready anyway in case I have to pinch-run, pinch-hit or whatever. I'll be ready."
Meanwhile, third baseman Matt Dominguez was out of the lineup for only the third time in 31 games. He had started 12 consecutive games prior to Sunday.
"He's played almost every day since he got hit in the elbow [last month] and had to miss a game," Porter said.
Astros get Castro and Corporan in lineup
HOUSTON -- Not wanting to take the bats of Jason Castro or Carlos Corporan out of the starting lineup, Astros manager Bo Porter had both catchers in the lineup Sunday for the third game in a row. Corporan, who went 2-for-4 on Saturday, was batting fifth as the designed hitter.
Corporan was hitting .462 (6-for-13) in his previous three games entering Sunday, with a pair of homers and five RBIs. He had raised his average to .333 from .250 in that span.
"I'm happy because I'm getting the chance to help my team win some ballgames," said Corporan, who caught the previous two games while Castro was the designated hitter. "Anything I can do, whether it's DH-ing or catching, is good. But I always say my priority on this team is my defense, to get the pitcher to throw strikes and work with them."
After getting off to an 0-for-11 start to begin the season, Castro entered Sunday having hit .293 (27-for-92) in 23 games since. He was tied for second among Major League catchers with nine multihit games.