Thursday, April 9, 2015

Former top picks Bauer, Wojciechowski to square off

Asher Wojciechowski won a job in the Astros' rotation with a spectacular showing during the spring, becoming the only rookie to make Houston's Opening Day roster. His Major League debut will conclude this season-opening three-game set with the Indians, who will hand the ball to right-hander Trevor Bauer. Both Wojciechowski (Blue Jays, 2010) and Bauer (D-backs, 2011) are former first-round Draft picks, but they were each included in blockbuster trades on their respective roads to the big leagues.
• In 21 innings this spring, the 26-year-old Wojciechowski posted a 1.29 ERA, allowing 17 hits and six runs (three earned) in six games (three starts). He struck out 16 and walked five. Hank Conger, who caught Wojciechowski during the spring, will get the start (his first with the Astros) behind the plate.
• A goal of Bauer's over the offseason was to work on his command. It showed during Spring Training, when the right-hander had 26 strikeouts and only one walk in 27 2/3 innings. Keep an eye on Bauer's sinker and splitter, which were two pitches he worked extensively on over the offseason.
• Indians All-Star left fielder Michael Brantley was a late scratch from Wednesday's lineup due to back stiffness, which was an issue that flared up a couple times during the spring. Brantley is considered day to day, but there is a chance he sits again on Thursday to rest before the trip back home.

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