MLB Rumor Central: Astros close to rounding out bullpen?

With opt-out dates looming for two veteran left-handers this weekend, the Houston Astros could soon determine who will occupy the final spot in their bullpen, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com writes.

Both Wandy Rodriguez and Neal Cotts have the option to exercise outs in their contract on Saturday, which means the team could have to make a move to keep either pitcher before then. Several other names remain in the mix as well, as Brad Peacock, Dan Straily, Michael Feliz, James Hoyt, Jandel Gustave and Kevin Chapman all appear to have a chance at making the team.

Manager A.J. Hinch is keeping his options open, but he did say that he hopes to get length out of whomever he chooses, which could be an advantage for former starters like Rodriguez, Straily and Peacock.

"The way I see it with the last spot in the 'pen, [being able to pitch] multiple innings is going to be important," Hinch said. "Obviously, quality over any sort of characteristic is always going to win out. I'm hopeful that we start to pare down [the roster] a little bit throughout the week. It looks like we're going to have our choice."

Of the group, Chapman (six scoreless outings), Hoyt (one run allowed, 13 strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings), Feliz (one run allowed in 10 innings) and Rodriguez (2.25 ERA in 12 innings) have stood out the most this spring.