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American League Preview from The Sports Network



Wednesday, April 16th (All times Eastern)

Kansas City Royals (5-7) at Houston Astros (5-9), 8:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Kansas City - Jeremy Guthrie (2-0, 3.55) Houston - Dallas Keuchel (1-1, 3.75)

(SportsNetwork.com) - With just three players hitting above .240, the Houston Astros needed to do something to shake up their offense.

Enter highly-touted prospect George Springer.

The Astros are expected to recall the outfielder from the minor leagues on Wednesday prior to resuming a three-game series with the Kansas City Royals.

Houston was held to just four hits -- one a homer by Carlos Corporan -- in Tuesday's 4-2 setback to Kansas City, and the club is last in the majors with a collective .185 batting average.

Having lost six of their last eight games, the Astros have little to lose with the reported addition of Springer, the 11th overall pick of the 2011 draft and reigning Astros' Minor League Player of the Year.

Springer hit a combined .303 with 37 homers and 45 steals last season while splitting time with Double-A Corpus Christi and Triple-A Oklahoma City. He got off a hot start this season at the Triple-A level as well, batting .353 with three homers and nine RBI in 13 games.

Springer is ranked Houston's third-best prospect and 21st overall in baseball by MLB.com.

The move to bring up Springer isn't the only shake up for Houston, which designated starter Lucas Harrell for assignment after he allowed four runs on five hits and three walks over five innings of Tuesday's loss. He fell to 0-3 on the season.

"Through my first 10 hitters, I threw one first-pitch strike. That can't happen," Harrell said.

Royals starter Yordano Ventura picked up his first MLB victory, striking out a career-high seven batters while giving up two runs, one of those unearned, over seven innings.

"I'm just really proud for him because that was like his fifth time he's gone for his first win and he's had an opportunity to win ballgames two or three times and we couldn't hold it for him," Royals manager Ned Yost said.

Omar Infante hit a solo homer and drove in two runs, while Eric Hosmer hit an RBI double for a Royals club that was swept in three games by Minnesota over the weekend.

Tuesday's win was Kansas City's first in six road games this season.

The Royals were held to five runs in the three-game sweep at the hands of the Twins, but have been able to support tonight's scheduled starter, Jeremy Guthrie.

Kansas City has scored seven runs in both of Guthrie's starts this season, resulting in a pair of wins for the right-hander. He needed the support to win a 7-5 decision over the Chicago White Sox on April 4, but yielded just one run on four hits in seven innings of work in a 7-3 victory over Tampa Bay on Wednesday.

Guthrie, who turned 35 back on April 8, is 2-1 in his career versus the Astros with a 5.00 earned run average in four starts.

The Astros turn to left-hander Dallas Keuchel, who lost his first start of the season before recovering in a win at Toronto on Thursday. Keuchel yielded a run on five hits and two walks over seven innings, striking out six.

The 26-year-old has faced the Royals just once before, beating them on May 20 of last year despite surrendering four runs on nine hits and four walks in 6 2/3 frames of work.

The Royals have won four straight and seven of their last nine against the Astros, but lost two of three in Houston a season ago.

04/16 10:28:28 ET

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