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Astros choose 37-year-old Nelson Figueroa over 20-year-old Jordan Lyles for fifth starter job

Mar 21, 2011, 2:44 PM EDT

Houston Astros v New York Mets Getty Images

Journeyman Nelson Figueroa will open the season as the Astros’ fifth starter after competing for the job with 20-year-old top prospect Jordan Lyles, who was sent to the minors today.

Lyles was impressive this spring and has a ton of long-term upside, but realistically the Astros are better off letting Figueroa keep the rotation spot warm for a while so he can get a little more seasoning in the minors and delay the start of his service time clock.

Lyles was fantastic at Double-A as a 19-year-old last season, posting a 3.12 ERA and 115/35 K/BB ratio in 127 innings, but struggled a bit following a late-season promotion to Triple-A and started a total of just six games there. There’s no need to rush a 20-year-old into the rotation for a non-contender and Figueroa is capable of holding his own with a 4.65 ERA in 60 career starts.

Brett Myers will start for the Astros on Opening Day, followed by Wandy Rodriguez, J.A. Happ, Bud Norris, and Figueroa.

  1. Utley's Hair - Mar 21, 2011 at 3:22 PM

    Good for Figgy. I felt bad for him when the Phightins dumped him for the second time last season—and kept Dany (left the s off for Kendrys Morales) Baez. So now, Eddie has three phormer Phils in the rotation? Until the ninja pries Happ back, that is….

  2. fatcatt - Mar 21, 2011 at 11:25 PM

    If Brett can carry over last season and Bud finds some consistency aside of beating up on the Cards its not a bad rotation. Sure its a bit optimistic. I just really wish they didnt have to open up against; yes you heard it hear first…….. Lee Halliday Oswald.

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