Mar 25, 2013 10:32 PM by AP
The Houston Astros are one cut away from finalizing their first American League roster.
Brandon Barnes and Fernando Martinez won the backup outfield spots Monday as the Astros reduced the roster to 26 players. They will cut one more pitcher before they open the major league season Sunday night against the Texas Rangers.
"We still have a couple more decisions to make with the last two spots in the rotation and finalizing the bullpen," manager Bo Porter said. "We're going to let that just play itself out."
The Astros optioned pitcher Chia-Jen Lo to AAA Oklahoma City and informed pitchers Kevin Chapman and Jose Valdez, catcher Rene Garcia, infielders Brandon Laird and Jose Martinez and outfielder Trevor Crowe that they will not be on the roster for the start of the regular season.
Erik Bedard, Alex White and Brad Peacock are still competing for final two spots in the rotation behind Bud Norris, Lucas Harrell and Philip Humber.
However, White and Peacock were among nine rookies told Monday morning they had made an opening-day roster for the first time. The others are third baseman Matt Dominguez, outfielders Justin Maxwell, Chris Carter, Martinez and Barnes, catcher Carlos Corporan and pitcher Xavier Cedeno. Dominguez, Maxwell and Carter are expected to be in the starting lineup for the season opener.
Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said the Astros would like to make the final pitcher cut before they leave Florida on Thursday night.