Josh Hader will close for Astros and Ryan Pressly will be in setup role, new manager Joe Espada says

Wed, Feb 14, 2024
MLB News (AP)

Josh Hader will close for Astros and Ryan Pressly will be in setup role, new manager Joe Espada says

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Newly signed Josh Hader will close for the Astros and incumbent Ryan Pressly will move into a setup role, new manager Joe Espada said as Houston started spring training workouts Wednesday.

Hader, a five-time All-Star, agreed Jan. 22 to a $95 million, five-year contract. The left-hander, who turns 30 on April 7, displaced Pressly, a 35-year-old right-hander who had 102 saves for the Astros in the last four seasons.

Espada said he met with Hader and Pressly in his office to inform them of his decision.

"It went well,'' Espada said. "Both guys want what's best for this team. I think the ultimate goal is to hold the trophy at the end of the year.''

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Hader returned to the Astros organization after spending two years in their minor league system from mid-2013 through mid-2015.

"They've both been successful. I feel more comfortable giving Hader that opportunity since he's shown his ability to do it," Espada said. "Same as Pressly. It's just Pressly won't pitch the ninth inning. ... I don't want to put words in Pressly's mouth but everything I got from him was that he's on board."

Hader said he spoke with Pressly, a two-time All-Star, around the time of his agreement.

"The goal is to build that relationship and win ballgames," he said. "A lot of things can get stirred up on the outside and paint a picture that's not it. But for him and I, we've had a great relationship so far and (we) continue to build off that.''

"Ultimately, in the game of baseball, roles are very important,'' Hader added. "We have routines. When you're able to get in that routine and knowing what you have to accomplish, you can perform better because you know what you have to do.''

Houston's bullpen also includes 26-year-old right-hander Bryan Abreu.

"The back three is solid,'' Hader said. "But even the guys that fill the spots in the front part of it are just important as the back three. I think we have guys who can fill that role just fine and put us in the spot to win games and bridge the gap to the back end.''

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