It's the general manager's equivalent of managing all out, but even with a long-term plan in mind, the Astros aren't worried about it. Young starters Jordan Lyles and Aneury Rodriguez have been riding the shuttle between Houston and Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Since Kyle Weiland went on the disabled list 28 days ago, the Astros have claimed an extra spot on their roster by optioning starters to Triple-A right after they pitch and taking advantage of off-days.
It is likely to be 23 out of 31 before Monday when they next need to call a starter up. However, even that one won't necessitate a demotion because of the new rules permitting expanded rosters for doubleheaders.
"We have a constant tension of whether to carry an extra reliever or an extra (position player) and having this flexibility over the past month has allowed us to essentially do both at the same time by only carrying four starters for a large part of the time," general manager Jeff Luhnow said.
Under normal circumstances, a team has 21 players available for every game, with the four starters on their days off excepted. Luhnow credits assistant general manager David Gottfried with managing the complicated puzzle and said that he has no concerns about stunting the 21-year-old Lyles' development.
"Jordan has been consistently pitching, maybe one day off here or there, but he's been consistently pitching," Luhnow said. "We are not concerned about it hampering Lyles' development, I think if anything, it's given him a chance to pitch up here a few more times than he might have otherwise, and been a good test to see where he is in terms of his improvement."
As for the next time through the rotation, Lyles was scheduled to pitch Thursday on three days' rest and would have to go a second straight time on three days' rest were he to make that Monday start in Colorado.
Rodriguez is also a possibility for the Monday start.