KISSIMMEE, Florida -- 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.
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, though White and Peacock were among nine rookies told Monday morning they had made an opening-day roster for the first time.