Astros' Cosart Anxious To Make The Jump





HOUSTON—No matter how small the opening may be, Astros righthander Jarred Cosart plans to squeeze through the hole.

Cosart, 22, is aiming for a spot on Houston's Opening Day roster. The promotion is possible but unlikely, as Cosart appears to be bound for Triple-A Oklahoma City after participating in major league spring training camp in Kissimmee, Fla.

But the Astros' only lock in the bullpen is would-be closer Jose Veras, and even he will enter camp surrounded by questions.

The 6-foot-3, 180-pound Cosart was a combined 6-7, 3.30 in 21 games (20 starts) for Oklahoma City and Double-A Corpus Christi last season. He throws with a powerful arm that produces a moving sinker, mid-90s fastball, power curve and straight change.

A member of the club's 40-man roster, Cosart is exactly the type of young arm Houston will need to have any hope of moving forward in the highly competitive American League West. Whether Cosart remains a starter or closer has yet to be determined. But if the former Phillies prospect, acquired in the Hunter Pence deal in 2011, has his way, he'll gauge his future with the Astros instead of Oklahoma City.

"To be in the major leagues and to contribute at a young age is everyone's goal," said Cosart, the Phillies' 38th-round pick in 2008 who signed for a $550,000 bonus. "Whatever they want me to do: If I've got to fill up water and run down to the bullpen between innings, I don't care. I'll start, relieve, close—whatever they need me to do."

Cosart's eagerness and confidence have already made an impression on first-year Houston manager Bo Porter. Cosart recently participated in the Astros' annual CAREavan, teaming with big leaguers such as Carlos Pena and Jose Altuve. Porter wants fiery, fearless athletes on his rebuilding team. Those attributes define Cosart.

"Making the team, playing for (Porter), staying on the team: If you play hard and give 100 percent, obviously, the results will come," Cosart said. "That's how he's going to build his team."

Space Shots

• The Astros' teardown continued when they traded shortstop Jed Lowrie and righthander Fernando Rodriguez to the Athletics for first baseman Chris Carter, righty Brad Peacock and catcher Max Stassi. Carter is out of major league options.

• Veteran righthander Edgar Gonzalez, who made six starts for Houston last season, helped Mexico's Yaquis de Ciudad Obregon win the Caribbean Series.