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Astros Lose Starter; Call On Top Prospect

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The Houston Astros have announced that starter Wandy Rodriguez will be heading to the 15 day disabled list.  An MRI was conducted this morning and found fluid buildup in Rodriguez’s elbow.

It seems the poor will get poorer as Houston, who currently sports the league’s 2nd worst record, loses their most consistent starter.

Rodriguez has maintained a 3.41 ERA on the year.  7 of the lefty’s last 9 starts have been quality, while he’s averaged 7+ innings over his last 7 appearances.

The 32 year old has been a constant on an Astros team that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2005.  In his 7 seasons with the club, Rodriguez has tallied a 4.14 ERA.  That mark has improved of late, as he’s been able to produce earned run averages of 3.54, 3.02 and 3.60 over his last three seasons.

One of the few pleasures that a fan of a losing club can enjoy during a regular season is the debut of top prospects.  In the case of Houston fans, they will be able to enjoy their 2010 Minor League Pitcher of the Year Jordan Lyles.

Lyles, who entered 2011 42nd on Baseball America’s list of prospects, will make his major league debut Tuesday against the Cubs.

The 20 year old struggled with his first taste of AAA in 2010, but appears to have figured out the Pacific Coast League this year.  In 59 innings the starter is 3-3 with a 3.20 ERA.

While most see his ceiling as a mid rotation guy, possibly reaching 2 status, few question his increased level of maturity for a 20 year old.  His strong performance this spring impressed the Astros, as he was in consideration for Houston’s final rotation spot.