HOUSTON -- Baseball is already full of rules, written and unwritten, so it's no surprise there's a new enforcement of the transfer rule that began with Friday night's games.
The latest rule states there is no requirement that the fielder successfully remove the ball from his glove in order for it be ruled a catch. If the fielder drops the ball while attempting to remove it to make a throw, the umpires should rule that the ball had been caught, provided that the fielder had secured it in his glove before attempting the transfer. The umpires will continue to use their judgment as to whether the fielder had complete control over the ball before the transfer.
Astros second baseman Jose Altuve said he's excited to have some wiggle room in regards to what is and isn't a catch, especially when he's trying to turn a double play.
"That was a tough rule [to call]," he said. "When you do a play like that, you're moving as quick as you can. When you drop the ball, you're always worried the out might not stay.
"Anything that gives us a better chance to get an out or speed things up, that makes me more comfortable."
Manager Bo Porter said he told his middle infielders not to worry about it, to avoid overthinking that could derail or slow their efforts to turn two.
Though the rule may largely be applied on double plays up the middle, it will apply to any catch on the diamond.
"Just make sure you control the ball, and there's nothing to worry about, new rule or not," Porter said. "It's something we've talked about with the players, making sure they understand. But it's not like this rule is in place for the Houston Astros and not the other 29 teams."
Feldman expected to rejoin rotation next weekend
HOUSTON -- Despite two off-days and a slew of moving parts, Astros manager Bo Porter said he expects the rotation to remain the same for the next week.
Coming off his impressive Astros debut in Seattle on Tuesday, Collin McHugh will get the ball Sunday, followed by Jarred Cosart and Brett Oberholtzer against the Nationals on Tuesday and Wednesday.
That opens the door for Scott Feldman, who is on the 15-day disabled list, to return against the Mariners next weekend.
Feldman, who's missed the last eight days with right biceps tendinitis, started throwing Thursday and participated in long-toss drills from the stretch Saturday.
If all goes well during his rest-filled rehab, he'd be available on May 3, 17 days after his last outing, a 5-1 loss to Kansas City.
"Our thought process when he went on the DL was to make sure he came back 100 percent, so we won't force him back into a start if he's not there yet," Porter said. "The hope is that he can be ready for then and his progress indicates he will be."
That would likely leave McHugh and Brad Peacock, who hasn't lasted longer than five innings in his two starts, jockeying for the final spot in the rotation after Lucas Harrell's recent dismissal.
Chris Abshire is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.